As mentioned previously on Inter-Mountain Sports, BYU point guard, Jimmer Fredette is a once in a generation player. If BYU is ever going to make a deep run in the tournament, this has got to be the year. Just challenging for the MWC title and winning a first round NCAA tournament game could end up being a bit of a disappointment with the way this season is shaping up.
The Cougars, ranked #16 in the country, are 10-0 and rolling. On Saturday, they absolutely demolished
, a team that is supposed to challenge for the PAC-10 crown. Fredette is lighting people up like he’s playing a video game. What’s even better is that he is getting others involved as well. In the previous two seasons Fredette tended to over handle the ball and force too many shots. This season his offensive production seems to flow more naturally in the course of the game. This has helped the remainder of the team Of course the one blaring weakness for the Cougars is the lack of a true big man. However, the combination of Noah Hartsock 6′ 8″ and Brandon Davies at 6′ 9″ seems to be enough for the time being.
The Cougars started out last year in similar fashion – winning a bunch of games against mostly inferior opponents and then dropping a few games in conference. Most expect them to do something similar this year. Last year’s BYU team was 29-5 and the Cougars will probably be right in that neighborhood again. BYU will battle some very good teams in conference: #11 ranked
, #22 ranked UNLV and last year’s MWC regular season champ,
. BYU’s remaining non-conference schedule is as follows: UCLA,
and Fresno Pacific.
Improving on last year’s record will be a tall order. That being said, this year has a different feel. It seems as if Fredette might single handedly will his team to greatness. If he continues his current pace, he is sure to be a first team All American. And if things fall into place for BYU, perhaps they only end up losing 2 or 3 games. And with a little luck,
, UCLA, SDSU, UNLV etc. all have strong years and help boost BYU’s RPI.
This could result in a very nice NCAA tournament seed, which of course is the key to tournament success. Something as high as a 3 or 4 seed gets you a second round match-up against a 5 or 6 seed which becomes a very winnable game. Unlike last year, when the Cougars, went in as a 7 seed and drew #2 seed Kansas State in their second round match-up.
Obviously, there is still a lot of basketball to be played. If you’ve not tuned in to watch the Cougars though, you’re missing out. Fredette really is an amazing talent and worth the price of admission. We’ll see how far he can take his team this year.
Coverage of the home-town hero, Jimmer Fredette in Glens Falls
, New York