MILWAUKEE — Those Jesuits really know how to come through for BYU in the clutch.
The Cougars needed a place to stash a variety of sports, including basketball, after the school opted to turn football independent and leave the Mountain West Conference.
In stepped the West Coast Conference, a group of Jesuit and Catholic schools that made BYU its ninth member in the 2011-12 school year.
And Marquette — a Jesuit school itself — gave Dave Rose's team a place to practice Tuesday afternoon after the team arrived in downtown Milwaukee.
Marquette's campus is right on the fringe of the bustle of the city.
"Thanks to Marquette University for allowing the Cougars to practice in Milwaukee on their beautiful campus," BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe posted on his Twitter account along with a picture of the Cougars running some sprints at the Al McGuire Center, a practice facility that is a short drive from the game site Bradley Center.
McGuire was the legendary coach who also happened to groom former BYU nemesis Rick Majerus. Marquette is coached now by Buzz Williams, who is a self-professed fan and friend of Rose. Williams' team defeated the Cougars two years ago in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Louisville, Ky.
Marquette didn't qualify or get invited by at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament, ending an eight-year streak. The Golden Eagles also didn't get invited to the NIT, and chose not to participate in any lower-level postseason action.
BYU will hold a regular, private practice Wednesday. but also do a typical 40-minute session at the game site, Bradley Center. All of the NCAA-mandated sessions are open to the public.
BYU will workout from 12:45-1:25 p.m., after American and before Wisconsin. Oregon's session is from 2:15-2:55.
Tough ticket: It doesn't appear that Wisconsin fans are saving their cash for the later rounds.
According to ticket broker TixIQ, the early session Thursday in Milwaukee is averaging a price of $203.
BYU and Oregon play the game right after Wisconsin — 80 miles from its Madison campus — plays American to start the NCAA Tournament for all four teams.
Arizona State will play Texas and Michigan faces Wofford in the evening session at Bradley Center.
Nothing different: UO coach Dana Altman told local reporters he's not viewing BYU any different without Kyle Collinsworth. The sophomore point guard, who was the team's best producers of both assists and rebounds, tore his ACL last Tuesday in the West Coast Conference championship game.
“It doesn’t matter,” said Altman, who led the Ducks to the Sweet 16 last year. “When a guy goes out for one game everybody’s excited about picking it up. Now when you start thinking about three, four, five games with one guy out … but whoever’s backing him up is really excited about the opportunity. I think for one game I think it’s way overplayed when someone’s out. "For that one game everybody picks it up a little bit. In past experience it doesn’t make that much difference.”
Commissioner update: The WCC will be losing its commissioner during the summer. Jamie Zaninovich has opted to become the No. 2 person in charge of the Pac-12 Conference.
"Jamie Zaninovich has been a good friend and associate as we've worked together in the WCC," Holmoe told the Daily Herald via e-mail. "BYU is in the WCC because of Jamie's efforts. I have enjoyed working with him and think he can accomplish anything he wants in athletics. He will be missed in the WCC, but I know he will be a great asset for the Pac-12."
It was the former Stanford-employee connections of Holmoe (football) and Zaninovich (basketball) that forged a friendship which was valuable in BYU landing in the WCC.