The BYU basketball team has a perfect 4-0 record this season, but it may be too early to tell how good it really is. The Cougars have demonstrated performances worthy of boasting, but no opponent has the résumé of their Wednesday night opponent — No. 21 Iowa State.
What does Iowa State have to boast about?
How about taking down No. 7 Michigan with a 77-70 victory in front of a sold-out Hilton Coliseum?
The Cyclones will travel to the Marriott Center with a big win to propel them in their first road game of the season and a 3-0 record.
Last year, the Cougars fell 83-62 to the Cyclones. If the Cougars pull off a win against Iowa State it will be their first of the series.
Signs of trouble already exist for the Cougars. Tyler Haws, their leading scorer, has sat out two of BYU’s first four games because of an abdominal injury. Nothing is certain yet, but Haws is expected to compete against Iowa State.
“I hate sitting out and being on the sidelines; it’s not fun,” Haws said. “I think I’m going to play. I’m feeling good at practice today, so I’ll be ready to go.”
If Haws doesn’t play, the Cougars will need to look better than they did against Colorado Mesa last Saturday in order to contend with the Cyclones. In the game against the Mavericks, BYU shot 1-21 from the three-point line. Players and coaches attributed their struggles against Colorado-Mesa to a lack of energy.
“I think we need to play better than we did Saturday,” Rose said. “The other three games I feel like we played pretty well, and if we play similar to that I think it will be a pretty good game.”
According to Rose, the Cyclones have their best player back. Forward Melvin Ejim hyperextended his left knee in October and just played his first game of the season against Michigan, where he dropped 22 points and fought for nine rebounds.
“I’m really excited for games like this,” said guard Kyle Collinsworth. “We know if we don’t play well we aren’t going to win.”
Wednesday’s game will be the first home non-conference matchup against a top 25 team since Dec. 17, 2011, when BYU lost to No. 6 Baylor.
“The challenge will not be getting excited to play,” Rose said. “These guys will all be ready to play, and there will be a lot of energy and excitement in the building.”
The game will be held in the Marriott Center at 7:30 p.m., and televised live on ESPNU and broadcast live on the Cougar IMG Sports Network on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM.