The Happy Valley Rivalry Begins
Wolverines excited for opportunity to play on big stage
On Monday, the Utah Valley University Athletic Department announced that the Men’s Basketball team had agreed to a four game series with BYU beginning on November 13, 2015.
“We’re just excited,” UVU Head Coach Mark Pope said. “One of the keys to growing a program is playing the best teams out there and BYU is one of the best teams in the country.”
It marks just the second time since Utah Valley moved to Division I that UVU and BYU will meet. The last time they met was on November 29, 2003 at the Marriott Center where BYU won 84-65.
Unfortunately for UVU, three out of the four games will be played in Provo. The Wolverines will travel to the Marriott Center on November 13 for the first game and then will travel to Provo again in 2016. BYU will visit the UCCU Center on the campus of UVU in 2017 and then the finale of the series will be played again at the Marriott Center in 2018.
“That is just part of getting the deal done,” Pope said.
For some players such as UVU’s Marcel Davis and BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth, it is an opportunity to play against guys they have grown up with or played with on various all-star teams.
“I think this game will be even more fun for our players just because they know each other so well,” Pope said. “It’s fun to play against your friends and to compete against the guys you love. So we are really excited for the opportunity.”
Pope also believes that this series will be good for the community, the players, and the fans.
“I also think it’s fun for this valley too,” Pope said. “Just because of the proximity of the two schools.”
Being on the opposing bench will be a different setting for Pope when he returns to the Marriott Center, as he was an assistant at BYU the previous four years. He is excited for the chance to coach against BYU Head Coach Dave Rose, who is currently ranked tenth in the nation in winning percentage among active coaches.
“Coach Rose is the tenth winningest in coach college basketball and I haven’t ever actually coached a college game,” Pope said. “But it’s the same for me as it is for my team and it’s going to be awesome.”
The game will be played on Friday the thirteeth and Pope believes that can be a good day.
“Friday the thirteenth baby,” Pope said. “Anything can happen on Friday the thirteenth.”
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