In the heat of this hot BYU basketball season, there has been a running joke.

One basically at my expense.

I'm not sure what this says about me, but I'm pretty sure what it says about BYU basketball coach Dave Rose.

He is having some fun. And not just on my behalf.

You see, in October I happened to shatter the screen of my new cell phone. Dropped it on the pavement. The phone still works, in case you wondered its fate. But it looks so ridiculous, a few people have stared at it and thought the spider cracks were fake -- that they could run down to the mall and get a gag gift screen-protector that looked just like it.

Nope. I'm just clumsy. And I can't be given anything nice (phones, sunglasses, etc).

How this gets back to BYU's basketball coach: I use the device (brilliant!) to digitally record interviews.

So it's in Rose's presence a lot of times. I even leave it on the table where he sits to do interviews after home games, so that I can pick up clean noise that is easier to transcribe later.

He ribbed me before taking questions on Wednesday, after the TCU game.

He joshed me again Saturday night, on his way out of Moby Arena, after the hard-fought 94-85 win at Colorado State.

Yes, the man is having a blast this year.

Good players, good unity. Just one loss obviously helps in this 19-1 campaign.

He has two outstanding veteran guards who can play well together. There isn't really the depth of past years -- the bench isn't getting a ton of minutes these days -- but good players for various "spurt" roles.

And it's a group that seems to really get along, focuses on winning and appreciates everything about playing in an environment like raucous Moby Arena on Saturday night.

 

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I was able to plug in a couple of quick post-CSU questions to players about the next game, the potential epic Wednesday at home against San Diego State.

The Aztecs, who didn't play over the weekend, bring a 20-0 record to Provo and currently are ranked 6th. That could shift Monday when the two major polls are released. 

Same goes for the status of No. 9 BYU.

Both Jimmer Fredette and Kyle Collinsworth looked forward to the "fun" of the game in a few nights, which starts at the unusually late tip time of 8:15 p.m.

It will be high on the list of most important games for both schools, and arguably for the state of Utah.

Both teams are playing for the lead in the Mountain West Conference standings. Plus, of course, there is some NCAA Tournament seeding to consider. 

The magnitude of this game can't be understated.

The teams will still meet in late February at SDSU, a game that like this one is also already sold out.

It's not hard to appreciate seasons like this one. And it appears the Cougars most definitely are relishing it.

Now, if only I can meet Rose's Feb. 1 deadline to get that phone fixed.