Haws, Miles expected to start

One of the question marks heading into BYU’s opening round game on Thursday against Florida has been which five players will start – questions that arose because of the eye injury suffered by Tyler Haws last week and because of Brandon Davies starting at center in BYU’s last game. The word I’m getting from today’s media time at the Ford Center is that coach Dave Rose wants this entire experience here in Oklahoma to be as close as the Cougars’ normal routine as possible. Therefore, he’s likely going to go with the same five guys who have started the majority of BYU’s games this season – Chris Miles at center, Noah Hartsock at forward, and guards Jimmer Fredette, Jackson Emery and Haws.
Yes, that means Haws is feeling fine. His left eye is still red, but you can actually see his eye now. In shoot-around he didn’t look rusty at all. Davies says he is not expecting to start, but the kid is anxious to play and will likely see more minutes than Miles, providing he can stay out of foul trouble.
This morning the Cougars practiced for a little more than an hour at a nearby community college gym, then headed over the Ford Center for their 30 minutes of media time and then 40 minutes of time on the Ford Center floor. Mostly, the Cougars used the time on shooting drills. They looked very casual and relaxed. A few dozen BYU fans attended the practice and were very vocal. Honestly, I think the Cougars loved the support, even though it was slightly distracting at times with all of the cat calling.
The team has left the arena now and returned to the team hotel, which just happens to be adjacent to the Ford Center. I’m expecting they’ll get some down time, have a team meal, and gather for some meetings and game planning. It wouldn’t surprise me to see some players enjoying some downtown sightseeing tonight along the river walk in the Bricktown District. I ran into a few of them last night. Myself, I think I’ll enjoy a meal at the famous Mickey Mantle’s tonight. Thursday’s going to be a busy day.

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