If BYU's in trouble — at least as far as NCAA Tournament hopes are concerned — the Cougars weren't projecting that image Wednesday afternoon.
There are times (quite noticeable by media) that head coach Dave Rose can get incredibly quiet when the Cougars suffer a disappointing result, or even in days after one.
But he was of good volume, downright jokey at times when talking about tonight's game against Pacific. Not that he thinks a win is a sure thing, but he continues to express confidence in this 13-9 group moving forward.
When asked about how it's happened several times, where a player has lit up BYU for a career night then faded in the very next game (see: Loyola Marymount's Evan Payne, Portland's duo of sharpshooter Bobby Sharp and big man Thomas van der Mars, among others) Rose acknowledged his team has seen some hot hands this year but otherwise deflected the question graciously.
"I think you do (pay attention to other box scores)," Rose said, a smile crossing his face even after a fairly obnoxious question (disclosure: yeah, it was Franchuk...) about past losses.
"Because you asked the question. A couple of guys have had great nights against us. Hopefully the next time through, we can do a better job."
First things first: Pacific started the season strong, winning at Utah State, but has faded like the Cougars into an also-ran at this point.
Somehow, BYU still keeps showing up near entry in various NCAA Tournament bracket projections. Really? A fourth-place West Coast Conference team?
BYU holds out hope that it can get hot down the stretch, which includes six of the nine West Coast Conference games at the Marriott Center.
Not that it will be easy. Saint Mary's is reaching its stride and visits Saturday. First-place Gonzaga still has to come through town.
But BYU has been down this road before. BYU lost a pair of WCC road games (Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine) and then came home and won three in a row.
"I don't think motivation is the issue," Rose said. "These guys love to play, love to compete. I love the vibe and the spirit they have in practice. Urgency might be an issue..."
Rose said that because this is his first team in nine BYU seasons that doesn't have a senior.
If urgency isn't at the top of BYU's list right now — juniors like Tyler Haws, or whomever else — then the Cougars are simply in dire straits.
BYU will need Haws as an even bigger threat down the stretch. Guard Matt Carlino said fans should be getting ready to see a healthier, hungrier freshman center, Eric Mika.
"We win more here," Carlino said of why it's so important to be at home.
BYU has played eight of the last 11 on the road, losing six times. It has dropped BYU to fourth place in the WCC, when second seemed to be the lowest point the Cougars could reach in November and December — considering how the league roster projections appeared.
Now, the Cougars find themselves having to do a whole lot in a relatively small space of time.
"The goals don't change and the (floor) is the same size," Carlino said. "I don't know. We just win more here. We need to, in the second half of league, put it all together."