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BYU basketball: Cougar freshman Luke Worthington thrilled to be going home for first NCAA tournament game

Published: Monday, March 17 2014 11:43 p.m. MDT

BYU's Luke Worthington reacts to winning a men's basketball game against Saint Mary's at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. BYU won 84-71. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) BYU's Luke Worthington reacts to winning a men's basketball game against Saint Mary's at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. BYU won 84-71. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

PROVO — As the BYU basketball team was gathered at coach Dave Rose’s house watching Selection Sunday festivities, guard Matt Carlino was sitting next to freshman Luke Worthington.

Before the Milwaukee bracket flashed on the screen, Worthington, who hails from the Milwaukee suburb of Mequon, Wis., made a prediction.

“He said, ‘We’re going here,’” Carlino recalled.

As it turned out, Worthington was right.

“Then when we (found out that) we’re going there, everyone was going nuts,” Carlino said.

The Cougars face Oregon Thursday in second-round NCAA tournament action at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

Freshman Eric Mika said Worthington is happy about playing his first NCAA tournament game at home.

Brigham Young Cougars forward Luke Worthington (41) rebounds during NCAA action in Provo  Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brigham Young Cougars forward Luke Worthington (41) rebounds during NCAA action in Provo Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

“He’s excited. He’s texted all of his buddies and is trying to steal everybody’s tickets so he can get them all tickets,” Mika joked. “He’s really pumped. It couldn’t have worked out better for him. I’m excited for him, but I’ll be using my tickets.”

Since Worthington enrolled at BYU, his family has moved to Florida.

Meanwhile, the Cougars’ director of basketball operations, Cody Fueger, is also a Milwaukee native.

“They’re both really happy,” Rose said of Worthington and Fueger. “Cody was just saying that he’s really excited to be going home. We asked Luke if he had sold his place yet. Maybe we could stay there. … All of our guys are excited, and so is the staff. You never want to act too excited because you’ve got to play the game, and the game’s going to be a real challenge. But the feel of everybody is, 'We’re up for it. Let’s go do it.'”

BYU's Luke Worthington reacts to winning a men's basketball game against Saint Mary's at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. BYU won 84-71. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) BYU's Luke Worthington reacts to winning a men's basketball game against Saint Mary's at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. BYU won 84-71. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

The Cougars are scheduled to travel to Milwaukee Tuesday.

COLLINSWORTH UPDATE: While BYU heads to the NCAA tournament, guard Kyle Collinsworth, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week, will undergo surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee.

“We’ll really miss him. He’s been so positive in his approach,” Rose said. “He feels really confident in his situation as far as being able to get the injury repaired and getting into a routine that will prepare him for next year. From a guy who’s been through an injury (I missed a whole year between my junior and senior year), those are tough times mentally. Our team will support him. But we’ll miss his presence. He’s got great leadership skills and our team has relied on him.”

ANOTHER TOURNAMENT TRIP: BYU guard Tyler Haws hasn’t played in the NCAA tournament since 2010, when he was a freshman.

The Cougars knocked off Florida in overtime in the opening round, marking BYU's first NCAA tournament win since 1993. Not long after that, Haws left on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Philippines.

What does Haws remember about that NCAA tournament experience?

“Just an exciting atmosphere. I remember we beat Florida in Kansas City,” he said. “It was a fun atmosphere and our guys played really well. I’m looking forward to it again.”

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