Game 31 - Cougars No. 1 Seed in MWC Tournament

(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

BYU GAME #30 FAST FACTS

BYU (24-6, 12-4) - #1 Seed vs.

Colorado State (9-21, 4-12) - #8 Seed / Air Force (9-20, 0-16) - #9 Seed

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thomas & Mack Center (18,500)

Las Vegas

12 p.m. PT

Series

BYU leads Colorado State, 86-46 and Air Force, 49-12

TV

The Mtn. HD/CBS CS HD (Tim Neverett, play-by-play; Blaine Fowler, game analysis)

Radio

KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (11 a.m. PT pregame show — Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)

Web

Live audio and live stats links are available on the basketball schedule page at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/

No. 1 Seed BYU to Play in MWC Quarterfinals on Thursday at Noon PT

After locking up a share of the 2009 MWC regular season title and the No. 1 seed, BYU men’s basketball (24-6, 12-4 MWC) will open play at the 2009 Conoco Mountain West Conference Men’s Basketball Championship on Thursday at noon PT. The Cougars will await the winner of the first round game between No. 8 seed Colorado State and No. 9 Air Force. BYU swept both teams during the season going down to the wire in the season finale against Air Force, winning 54-49 to secure the team’s third-straight MWC title — the first conference title three-peat for Cougar men’s basketball since 1932-34. After starting 3-3 in MWC play BYU finished with a 9-1 record, overcoming a two-game deficit in the standings in the final three games. Thursday’s game will be televised live on The Mtn. HD and CBS CS HD while the radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City and on the Internet at KSL.com beginning with the pregame show at 11 a.m. PT.

Up Next

If BYU wins, the Cougars will advance to the MWC semifinals and play the winner of Thursday’s second quarterfinal

between fourth-seeded San Diego State and fifth-seeded UNLV. Friday’s semifinal will begin at 6 p.m. PT and will

be televised nationally on CBS College Sports in HD.

Cougar Quick Hits

— BYU won its league-high fifth MWC regular season title with its 54-49 home win over Air Force on Saturday. The Cougars share the 2009 title with New Mexico and Utah. BYU also shared the title in 2001 and 2003 and took the title outright in 2007 and 2008.

— With a 9-1 finish to the 2008-09 regular season BYU has now finished at least 9-1 in four years under Dave Rose, including 10-1 in 2005-06, 10-1 in 2006-07 and 13-1 in 2007-08.

— At 24-6 overall and 12-4 MWC play BYU is now 51-13 (.797) in conference play under Coach Dave Rose. His .797 winning percentage is best all-time in the MWC. Rose is now 96-32 (.750) overall in four seasons, giving him the best winning percentage for a BYU coach through four seasons. Rose has led BYU to four-straight 20-win seasons including 20-9 and a trip to the NIT in his first season. In his second campaign he guided the Cougars to the outright MWC title, a top-25 ranking, a trip to the NCAA Tournament and a 25-9 overall record. Last season he led BYU to a 27-8 overall record, a second-straight outright league title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Rose was named MWC coach of the year in 2006 and 2007.

Lee Cummard and Jimmer Fredette were named first-team all-MWC while Jonathan Tavernari received third-team recognition. Jackson Emery was named to the All-Defensive Team. Cummard is a repeat first-team honoree and Tavernari is a repeat third-team honoree.

Media Interviews

All interviews with BYU players or coaches must be scheduled through a BYU Athletic Communications contact. Postgame interviews will take place as noted below. Other interview requests, such as live television shots after a game, should be arranged in advance through a BYU Athletic Communications contact.

Wednesday Media Availability

BYU will be conducting interviews with The Mtn./CBS College Sports on Wednesday at the Thomas & Mack Center at 5 p.m. Other interviews can also be conducted beginning at 5 p.m. outside The Mtn. locker room in the main tunnel opposite Cox Arena.

Practice Sessions

Per MWC Tournament policy, all practices will be closed to the public and media (including print or electronic media that may be traveling with the team). The producer, director and on-air talent from The Mtn., CBS College Sports, VERSUS and the MWC radio network will be allowed to watch the closed practice sessions.

Postgame Interviews

LIVE RIGHTSHOLDERS: If requested, the winning coach, losing coach and winning student-athletes shall grant postgame interviews, not to exceed three minutes, to The Mtn., CBS College Sports, VERSUS and the MWC radio network provided the network is still providing live coverage from the facility. The media coordinator will be responsible for terminating the three-minute interview period, not the television or radio network. If television or radio does not terminate the interview on time, they will not be granted live postgame interviews for the remainder of the tournament. Coaches and student-athletes who are not being interviewed by The Mtn., CBS College Sports, VERSUS or the MWC radio network may conduct interviews with the institution’s radio network. These interviews may not exceed two minutes. The Mtn., CBS College Sports, VERSUS will have the first choice of individuals to interview, then the MWC radio network, then the institution’s network. Additionally, the head coach has the option of conducting an interview with the institution’s radio network—at the network’s courtside seating location—during a two-minute period after the conclusion of the initial three-minute period. The networks cannot inordinately delay the coaches’ and student-athletes’ return to the locker room. If the networks are not prepared to conduct live interviews immediately, it will be necessary for the interviews to be taped.

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE: A minimum of two BYU players will attend the postgame press conference with BYU coach Dave Rose. The winning team’s coach and players will be scheduled in the interview room first, then the losing team. After the championship game, the losing team will be scheduled first.

OPEN LOCKER ROOM: On game days, locker rooms will be open to the media for a minimum of 30 minutes after the cooling-off period ends, provided media representatives are present the entire time. Student-athletes who do not play in the game may depart earlier. All interviews at the facility must occur in the media interview room or locker room area. Regardless of any regular-season radio or television contracts, Coach Rose is first obligated to the entire media staffing the tournament and will report to the interview room for the postgame press conference as scheduled.

COOLING-OFF PERIOD: A “cooling-off period” has been established per NCAA rules for a coach to be with the student-athletes in the locker room after the game. The period begins when the coach enters the locker room immediately after the game or interview with The Mtn., CBS College Sports, VERSUS, the MWC radio network and/or the institution’s radio network. The period will be 10 minutes for the winning team before the locker room is open to media; 15 minutes for the losing team. A coach may shorten the cooling-off period, but may not extend it. If coaches or student-athletes conduct live postgame interviews, the waiting period could be extended from 15 up to 25 minutes for the losing team. In this instance, the losing team would have the option of opening the locker room sooner, keeping in mind that the press conference would take precedence and once the coach and student-athletes are requested to depart to the press conference, any current locker room interviews would be interrupted. Except for The Mtn., CBS College Sports, VERSUS, MWC radio network and institutional radio personnel as noted above, no interviews may take place during the cooling-off period.

PHONE INTERVIEWS: Neither coaches nor student-athletes may conduct interviews via telephone until 30 minutes after the cooling-off period ends, or until after their postgame obligations to all media have been met, whichever comes later.

Media Services

Statistics, notes and quotes will be made available in the media work room after each game. Wireless internet will be provided free of charge to all accredited media. Updated cumulative statistics and a full notes update will be provided the day of the game for each game BYU advances in the MWC Tournament.

BYU in the Tournament

The Cougars have an 11-8 Mountain West Conference Tournament record. BYU advanced to the finals in the first two years of the MWC Tournament, winning the title over UNM in 2001 after losing to host UNLV in 2000. BYU then went five years without a finals appearance until losing to host UNLV in the 2007 Championship game. The Cougars fell again to UNLV in the title game in 2008. BYU has won its quarterfinal game in six of the nine MWC Tournaments. BYU has a 4-2 semifinals record and 1-3 finals record in MWC Tournament play. During the six years the MWC Tournament has been played in Las Vegas (2000-03, 2007-present), BYU has posted an 10-5 tournament record, with four finals appearances and one title (2001). BYU had a 1-3 tournament record during the three years the championship was conducted in Denver (2004-06). Overall, BYU has a 23-21 record in conference tournament games, which includes a 12-13 record in WAC Tournament games. BYU has played every MWC team in the MWC Tournament.

MWC Title Goes Through BYU

In eight of the nine years of the Mountain West Tournament, BYU or the team that has knocked the Cougars out of the tournament won the title, including a championship-game loss last season to host UNLV. The 2006 tournament was the first time that trend did not continue as San Diego State won the title after BYU was knocked out by Utah in the quarterfinals. After losing in the title game to host UNLV at the inaugural MWC Tournament in 2000, BYU won the title in 2001. The next four years the Cougars were knocked out by the eventual champion. BYU was defeated by San Diego State in the 2002 quarterfinals before back-to-back semifinal losses to 2003-champion Colorado State and 2004-champion Utah. In 2005, New Mexico went on to win the title after defeating BYU in the quarterfinals.

Nine MWC Tournaments, Six Different Champions

San Diego State became the first team in the MWC to win the Tournament title twice with its victories in 2002 and 2006. UNLV became the second with victories in 2000 and 2007, both over BYU. The Rebels won a third in 2008. New Mexico’s win in 2005 marked the sixth Tournament winner in the first six years of the event. The only teams not to win an MWC title are Wyoming, Air Force and TCU, who made its MWC debut in 2005.

BYU Seeds at the MWC Tournament

BYU has been the No. 1 seed at the MWC Tournament in each of the past three seasons after winning back-to-back outright MWC titles and a share of the title in 2009. The Cougars are 4-2 as the top seed (finals appearance in 2007 and 2008). BYU has been the second seed three times (5-2 combined record in 2001, 2003 and 2004, including 2001 title). The 2006 Tournament was the first time that the Cougars have been the No. 3 seed in the MWC Tournament (first-round loss to Utah). The Cougars have also been the fourth seed once (suffering a first-round exit with loss to eventual-champion San Diego State in 2002), the sixth seed once (advanced to the finals in 2000) and the No. 7 seed once (2005 first-round loss to eventual-champion New Mexico).

Fruits of the Seeds

In the first nine years of the MWC Tournament, the teams with the No. 2 seed boasts the best mark at 16-5 while the No. 1 seed has gone 14-7. The No. 6 seeds have a combined 9-8 record while their first-round opponent No. 3 seeds have a 6-8 record. No. 4 teams have gone 9-9. Fifth-seeded teams are 4-7. The No. 7 team won for the first time in 2006 and now has a 2-9 record. The No. 8 seed has a 2-1 record in first round games and a 3-8 record overall. The No. 9 seed is 1-2 in the first round game and 1-3 overall.

The 2006 tournament marked the first time the No. 7 seed advanced past the quarterfinals and the first time neither the No. 2 nor No. 3 seed advanced to the semifinals. The Tournament title has been won by the second seed four times (BYU in 2001, New Mexico in 2005 and UNLV in 2007 and 2008); the top seed twice (UNLV in 2000 and San Diego State in 2006); the third seed once (Utah in 2004); the fifth seed once (San Diego State in 2002); and the sixth seed once (Colorado State in 2004).

BYU Tournament Titles

BYU won the MWC Tournament title in 2001 over New Mexico. BYU won WAC Tournament titles in 1991 and 1992. The Cougars’ Kevin Nixon hit a dramatic three-quarter-court shot at the buzzer to defeat UTEP, 73-71, in Fort Collins, Colo., for the 1992 title. BYU won its first WAC Tournament title in 1991 with an overtime win over Utah. The Cougars also won the postseason conference playoff series in the Rocky Mountain Conference in 1924 (defeated Colorado College, 2-1) and 1933 (defeated Wyoming, 2-1).

At the Thomas & Mack Center

UNLV and BYU are the only teams with winning MWC Tournament records at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV has reached the championship game every year it has been eligible at the Thomas and Mack. Below are the win totals and records for the nine MWC teams in the five previous tournaments held at the Thomas and Mack Center (note: UNLV was ineligible for tournament play in 2001, and TCU has only played two tournament in Las Vegas) :

UNLV: 13 wins (13-2)

BYU: 10 (10-5)

CSU: 5 (5-5)

Wyoming: 4 (4-6)

Utah: 4 (4-6)

SDSU: 4 (4-5)

UNM: 2 (2-6)

TCU: 1 (1-2)

AFA: 0 (0-6)

MWC Teams in the NCAA

In the previous nine years of the MWC, eight of the nine conference members have advanced to the NCAA Tournament at least once. TCU is the lone team not to advance, but the Horned Frogs have only been MWC members for four seasons. New Mexico became the last of the other MWC teams to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament by winning the 2005 MWC Tournament. 2008 MWC Tournament Champion UNLV received the league’s automatic bid last season while BYU was selected as an at-large team.

BYU and MWC in Postseason

BYU has earned an invite to a postseason tournament in eight of the previous nine years of the MWC, leading all MWC teams. BYU is tied with Utah in NCAA appearances since the formation of the MWC (BYU has made five NCAA and three NIT while Utah has made five NCAA, one NIT and one CBI). UNLV has received seven invites (three NCAA, four NIT). New Mexico has received five (one NCAA, four NIT) along with San Diego State (two NCAA, three NIT) and Air Force (two NCAA and two NIT). Wyoming has three (one NCAA, two NIT) while Colorado State has been to one NCAA Tournament.

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