PROVO — It was almost a year ago that BYU hosted what was considered the biggest basketball game in Mountain West Conference history at that time.
Last February, the No. 13 Cougars fell to No. 10 New Mexico, 83-81, at the Marriott Center.
This time, on Wednesday night, No. 4 San Diego State visits No. 9 BYU. It's the first time the Cougars, as a top 10 team, have played another top 10 team at the Marriott Center.
Since the Marriott Center opened in 1971, BYU has played in only four home games in which both it and its opponent have been ranked in the top 20, including last year's BYU-UNM tilt.
In 1980-81, No. 18 BYU defeated No. 9 Utah, 95-76. In 1981-82, the No. 15 Cougars lost to No. 18 UNLV, 66-63. In 1987-88, No. 8 BYU topped No. 18 Wyoming, 78-69.
Of course, there have been other memorable visits by ranked teams.
In 2007, BYU pulled an upset over No. 13 Air Force, 61-52. In 2009, the Cougars fell to No. 6 Wake Forest, 94-87.
And there have been games at the Marriott Center between highly ranked opponents that did not include BYU.
In 1972, 1977, 1979 and 1982, the Marriott Center hosted the NCAA Tournament. In '79, No. 6 DePaul knocked off No. 6 UCLA, 95-91, sending DePaul to the Final Four — which was played at the University of Utah.
"In that game, UCLA was behind at halftime, but came out of its locker room early to warm up while the BYU folk dancers were still performing and the UCLA band struck up its fight song, drowning out the folk dancers' music," recalled longtime BYU sports information staffer Ralph Zobell. "When DePaul emerged from the locker, it was greeted with a rousing ovation from the BYU crowd."
AZTECS RISE: On Monday, SDSU moved up two spots to No. 4 in the Associated Press poll while the Cougars remained at No. 9, sharing that spot with Syracuse. The Orangemen dropped from No. 3 after losing twice over the weekend.
In the coaches poll, SDSU is also No. 4 with BYU holding down the No. 9 spot by itself. Syracuse in No. 10 in that poll.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK AGAIN: Not surprisingly, BYU senior guard Jimmer Fredette was named Mountain West Conference player of the week for the sixth time this season and the 13th time in his career.
Fredette averaged 31.5 points, 4.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 steal last week while helping the ninth-ranked Cougars to wins over TCU and Colorado State. Against the Rams, he poured in 42 points and had four assists and four rebounds. For the week, Fredette was 17-of-40 (.425) from the field, including 6-of-14 (.429) from 3-point range, and 23-of-25 (.920) from the free throw line.
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