Hoffman Estates, Ill. -- Chart BYU head coach Dave Rose enough in seven years, and the concept he brings up most may be confidence.
It means everything to him, and how he responds to his teams.
This early in this particular season, the Cougars are about to find out whether they've been gaining false confidence, or the real kind.
The 3-1 Cougars, dominant since losing the season-opener two weeks ago at Utah State, will face Nevada on Friday in the first game of the Chicago Invitational.
Win there, and it likely means a Saturday evening showdown with Wisconsin on the Badgers' "home turf" in suburban Chicago. They're hovering the top 10 of the national rankings and have a potential national player of the year candidate in Jordan Taylor.
BYU has won its last two games by a combined 71 points, which might look like top-25 material, except for the names of the opposition (Longwood, Prairie View A&M).
Last year was mostly an exception, considering the Cougars' experience, but Rose usually uses the preseason to gauge his rotation as well as finding specialists. Some of his best teams have had a "spark" off the bench with a quick scorer.
He hinted during the preseason that he would consider his best practice-level scorer, Stephen Rogers, in that sixth-man role. It's only been the last two games that the junior guard-forward has been put there.
And he's put up career bests in scoring each night for a combined 35 points. Again, remember the competition level.
But Rogers appears to have found some comfort level, as he's made 13-of-18 shots from the field, 6-for-10 from long range.
Meanwhile, that Rogers shift has moved Brock Zylstra over to a more comfortable wing position but also put a walk-on -- former local high school standout Craig Cusick -- in charge of the role Jimmer Fredette dominated last year.
In some ways, it appears BYU is trying to bide time until transfer Matt Carlino becomes eligible in two weeks to become the primary ballhandler.
Comparatively speaking, BYU may be able to easily get through its Chicago Invitational opener. Nevada defeated Prairie View A&M and Longwood by just a combined 15 points, including surviving a 3-pont shot in the buzzer from Longwood to win by a basket.
Noah Hartsock has been most productive BYU player so far, not really unexpected, as the senior forward has been in double figures scoring in all four games.
He's brought some more confident company with him to the 11,000-seat Sears Centre Arena. Since making 7-of-27 shots from long distance the first two games, including a win against BYU-Hawaii, the Cougars have drained 27-of-48.
Nevada (3-2) has already lost to Missouri State and UNLV, the latter now coached by former BYU assistant coach Dave Rice.
BYU (3-1) vs. Nevada (3-2)
4 p.m. MST, Sears Centre Arena (11,000)
Radio: KSL 1160 AM (102.7 FM)
Tip-ins: The winner of this game will face the winner of Wisconsin-Bradley on Saturday at 6 p.m. (Utah time); the losers meet at 3:30 p.m. in the Chicago Invitational Challenge ...BYU last met Nevada in 2009, winning a wild 110-104 affair in Las Vegas (Orleans Arena) a couple of hours before the Cougars' football team participated in the Las Vegas Bowl. ...Junior guard Stephen Rogers is coming off back-to-back career games at home against Longwood and Prairie View A&M (17 and 18 points, respectively). ...Nevada is led by 6-5 junior guard Malik Story, who averages 15.2 points and has hit more than half (16 for 27) of his 3-point tries.