> What’s happening: UH and BYU play volleyball matches tonight and tomorrow night in Provo.
> What’s at stake: Because UC Irvine has zero chance of losing to UC San Diego, the volleyball Warriors need to beat BYU in both matches to win the regular-season title. (Irvine owns the tie-breaker advantage over UH.)
> Why is it important to win title: The MPSF’s regular-season winner earns the No. 1 seed in the league’s playoffs. After the quarterfinals, the highest remaining seed hosts both the semifinals and title match. The MPSF tournament winner earns the league’s automatic berth in the six-team NCAA championship tournament. Even without winning the league playoff, the MPSF’s regular-season champion traditionally earns an at-large berth. There is value to 22 matches in the nation’s best conference.
> What’s up: Well, Provo is up — 4,549 feet above sea level. In the thin air, hands will dry, noses will bleed, volleyballs will float. That might be a problem for a float-server like UH middle Davis Holt, who has been very good at keeping serves in play. But Holt, who is UH’s sixth server in the rotation, gets subbed out at least once. Thin air or not, serving specialists Scott Hartley and Ryan Leung should have no problem blasting serves. On the attack, it should be interesting if Kupono Fey’s cross-court shots will bite. Middle Taylor Averill, who has the country’s best cut-back swing, will not be affected.
> Streaks: The Warriors have won 16 in a row. The Cougars have won two in a row after losing all six of their matches in March, including two at home to UC Irvine.
> Blue talk: Smith Fieldhouse is a tough venue for visiting teams because the fans are close and rowdy, and security often is distracted. Then again, 4,000 BYU hecklers can’t match Stretch, A-Joe and JM.
> How to watch: It’s televised on BYUtv and computerized on byutvsports.com.
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> With slotbacks Quinton Pedroza (foot) and Dylan Collie (sore leg) unavailable on Thursday, running back Pereese Joas moved to slotback. Joas draws comparisons to Donnie King, last year’s under-used slotback. Joas averaged 9.6 yards per touch last year. Trouble was, he only had seven touches. But he’s a tough guy who overcame adversity, such as homelessness, to earn a spot on the roster.
Here’s Joas’ story: SA story on Joas
> With right guard Dejon Allen out this week because of a medical procedure, the Warriors are down to seven healthy offensive linemen. Ben Clarke is technically not healthy. But in non-contact drills, when UH needs a center, Clarke volunteers. Clark is UH’s best offensive linemen, and he’ll play either left tackle or center this year, depending on UH’s needs.
> It always seems like Jahlani Tavai, a rush end, is making plays.
> The Warriors’ deepest position appears to be safety. Trayvon Henderson, Marrell Jackson, Daniel Lewis and Dany Mulanga are having terrific springs. Henderson has emerged as a playmaker.
> The Warriors do not have a true punter in spring camp. But kicker Aaron Novoa has been working on his punt-drop technique during warmups.
> Right wideout Keelan Ewaliko:
> Nose tackle Penitito Faalologo:
> Linebacker Pumba Williams: