The Tigers are coming off of a 20-win season and return 10 letter winners from last year's squad including four starters.
"We have some great senior leadership," Williams said. "Covington has been in the system for four year while Thornton and Cyphers have provided expereince in key moments."
The trio of upperclassmen combined to average 28.6 points per game last year, and each got off to a hot start in Monday night's 86-56 victory in the exhibition against Trevecca.
Thornton led the team in scoring against the Trojans, dropping 18 points on 8-11 shooting. The six-foot-eight post player also was 1-2 from behind the arc and tallied two rebounds and two steals.
Cyphers, meanwhile, had an off night shooting the ball from downtown in the exhibition- only connecting on two of his seven three-point attempts. The guard from Wichita, Kan. was still able to finish the game strong, bucketing 11 points and dishing out a pair of assists.
While Thornton and Cyphers were TSU's leaders in points, Covington was contributing in a variety of ways for the Tigers. Covington, who started at small forward against Trevecca, led the team in rebounds with 11 and chipped in 10 points. Covington also had a pair of blocks and a steal that led to an easy TSU bucket.
The Tigers will face a more serious threat on Friday night when the team travels to Provo, Utah for a game against BYU.
"BYU is a very talented and well-coached team," Williams said. "They are a very good three-point shooting team and they play extremely well at home, so we are going to have to go in there and execute offensively and defensively."
The Cougars finished 26-9 last year and won both of their exhibition games against Southeastern Oklahoma State and Findlay this season by a combined 75 points.
In BYU's recent 90-61 victory over Findlay, Tyler Haws was just one of four Cougars in double-figures, finishing with 19 points.
Brigham Young dominated Findlay on the boards as well as the scoreboard, out-rebounding the Oilers 50-24.
TSU is looking to win its first opener in six tries this Friday. The last win in the season's first game came in 2007 with a 90-80 win over Cumberland.
The Tigers' contest at BYU is also the first of a string of six-straight away games that spans until Nov. 21 with a game against Monmouth.