This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Provo • After Wednesday's 110-63 exhibition win over BYU-Hawaii, BYU basketball coach Dave Rose delivered a warning regarding the Cougars this year.
They will entertain and excite one minute, then cause coaches and fans to wonder why they make so many mistakes the next time down the floor.
"It is a young group," Rose said. "We are going to see a lot of stuff. We are going to see things that will excite you, and we are going to see things that make you go, 'whoa, that probably wasn't the right play.' But we will watch them grow together. I am excited to get started."
That happens Monday night, against a team that is just the opposite of the Cougars. BYU hosts experience-laden Princeton at 8 p.m. at the Marriott Center as part of the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon.
"Now we got a real challenge for our preparation for Princeton," Rose said. "This is a really good team coming in here. I am excited to get out there and play them. One advantage they have is they have been together as a group for quite awhile."
Indeed, the Tigers might have more returning experience than any team in Division I college basketball, "the most experienced team I think I've ever coached," said coach Mitch Henderson.
Princeton has seven seniors, including six who have played a lot in their careers. The Tigers went 22-7 last year and played in the NIT after just missing an NCAA Tournament berth when they lost to Harvard late in the season.
Senior forward Hans Brase rejoins the team after missing all of last season with an injury. Brase averaged 11.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in 2014-15. Fellow forwards Steven Cook (11.7) and Spencer Weisz (10.8) scored in double figures last year, and guard Amir Bell (9.1 ppg.) makes them go as well.
"Sometimes you get these groups in [the Marriott Center] and you can break them and get them rattled and out of what they do," Rose said of the Tigers. "It is really hard to get this group out of what they do. They are really patient, really disciplined and they are together."
Getting his guys to play together with eight newcomers will be Rose's biggest task this season. Sophomore guard Nick Emery and senior forward Kyle Davis played together last year, but they will have to learn quickly to assimilate Houston transfer L.J. Rose, Elon transfer Elijah Bryant and returned missionaries Eric Mika and TJ Haws into the main rotation.
The Cougars weren't able to practice on Sunday, per school rules, but Rose and his staff immediately went about preparing for the Tigers minutes after they rolled over the Seasiders last week.
"We look forward to a big crowd, big game, big opening night on Monday," Rose said.
It is the start of a three-game week for the Cougars, who will host Coppin State on Thursday and Coastal Carolina on Saturday as part of the MGM Grand Main Event before traveling to Las Vegas for the tournament proper the following week.
email@example.com Twitter: @drewjay
Princeton at BYU
P At the Marriott Center, Provo
Tipoff • Monday, 8 p.m.
TV • ESPN2
Radio • 1160 AM, 102.7 FM, Sirius XM 143
Records • BYU 0-0, Princeton 0-0
Series history • BYU leads, 4-0
Last meeting • BYU 65, Princeton 59 (Dec. 14, 1991)
About the Tigers • Coach Mitch Henderson, a former Princeton player, is 96-53 in his sixth season at the helm. … They went 22-7 last year, 12-2 in Ivy League play, and advanced to the NIT. … They were voted first in the Ivy League preseason poll by the league's media, earning 12 of 17 first-place votes.
About the Cougars • Entering his 12th season, coach Dave Rose is second all-time in BYU basketball wins with 283. … Elon transfer Elijah Bryant saw his first action in Wednesday's exhibition win over BYU-Hawaii after coming back from knee surgery but is expected to be in the starting lineup. … The other starters are listed as freshman TJ Haws, sophomores Nick Emery and Eric Mika, and senior Kyle Davis.