"I wasn't sure how good the team was going to be this year, as we're young and we lost a lot of contributing seniors last year, but I was impressed," said Rose. "They looked very good."
Rose talked about the environment in Vegas and the amount of BYU fans that made it to the Louisville and North Carolina games.
"Well, tickets cost 57 dollars a pop or something, so it was very pricey," said Rose. "There were some BYU fans there, but I think it drove away a lot of fans that wanted to come. They could've packed that place if the tickets were priced correctly. I had friends calling me asking me if I was going. I told them yes, but once they heard the price, it was too expensive for them. I still have enough connections to get me two tickets though [laughter]."
Rose has numerous connections to BYU, with his uncle Dave Rose being the head coach and many of his former teammates still playing on the team, so he was able to get a couple tickets.
"The environment was a fun one to play in, especially the [North Carolina] game that was televised on national TV [on ESPN]," said Rose. "I wanted BYU to come out and have a good showing on national television, and they certainly accomplished that. I watched the game later on TV and Dick Vitale couldn't stop ranting about Trent [Plaisted]. Trent looks much improved; he's going to his right well and he looks poised and confident. The outcome could have been different if down the stretch we could've had a couple better possessions. We were 1-for-14 at the end of the game and did not score for like three-straight minutes."
Rose said he was impressed with the way that the players came out with confidence and how well some of the guys off the bench played.
"Chris Collinsworth plays like he's a senior," said Rose. "He is not a big scorer but he boards exceptionally well and plays with a lot of confidence. I think he's going to help us out a lot this season."
Beating the sixth-ranked team is a huge accomplishment, and could very well be the biggest win for BYU in the last 40 years since they beat No. 2 St. Josephs. BYU also has had some tremendous wins in recent years that some Cougar fans might have forgotten.
"I think [beating] Oklahoma State my freshmen year in the Delta Center was just as big of a win as this Louisville game was," said Rose. "Louisville was ranked No. 6 early on, but Oklahoma State went to the Final Four that year and ended up being one of the top four teams in the country. I don't even remember if they were ranked when we played them in Salt Lake, but that was a huge win for us. Don't get me wrong, this win against Louisville is great for the program and for the team, but that Oklahoma State game sometimes goes unnoticed. It will be interesting to see where Louisville ends the season ranked. They could fall out of the top 25 or they could be a top-15 team all year. One thing is for sure, I think North Carolina is going to be a top-10 team all year long and we battled with them and almost pulled off a huge upset."
So what is the difference between the No. 21 Cougars of today and the Cougars from last year?
"I think the team is better defensively this year than we were last year," said Rose. "Ben [Murdock] is a better guard than Austin [Ainge] was, and [Jonathan] Tavernari is an underrated defender. He might be better defensively than Keena [Young] was. He doesn't have great hops, but he gets his hands on a lot of balls. They also are playing with a lot of confidence right now. I think our bench was a little deeper than theirs is right now, but their starters are playing with a lot of confidence right now and [are] playing well. They have guys that can contribute off the bench as well. I think they're a great team and are going to go a couple rounds into the tournament, if not more."