Jimmer-Mania Hits New Orleans NCAA Regional: BYU vs. Florida Preview

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jimmer fredette

He started out as an unknown his freshman and sophomore year. People began to recognize his name after a clutch performance in the NCAA first round last season and now he’s the hottest topic in college basketball.

Jimmer Fredette, the 6’2″ shooting guard for Brigham Young University, has wowed the crowds all year long with his 30-foot three pointers and night in, night out he makes plays that leave opposing players shaking their heads in disbelief.

Now, he leads BYU into the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1981 where they will meet the Florida Gators, a team they defeated last year in a classic first round double overtime contest.

By Zach Wadley

Jimmer Fredette

The Cougars have relied on James Taft Fredette more and more since the dismissal of forward, Brandon Davies, but he has responded with some of his best games (hope nobody missed that 52-point outburst in the MWC Tournament). However, rarely does one man carry a team all the way to the Final Four and Jimmer will need to find help against a loaded Gators squad.

If defending Fredette is a problem, and let’s face it, it has been for every single team this year, then Florida is in deep trouble.

Here’s why: point guard Kenny Boynton sprained his ankle in the second round victory over UCLA but hopes to be 100% come Thursday. He better be if he is going to try and stop college basketball’s leading scorer and Florida coach, Billy Donovan, will no doubt throw several different looks at Fredette.

However, the game plan for Florida is really this simple: try to contain Jimmer but keep everyone else below their average. BYU has lost four games this season and in every loss, but one, Fredette has scored at least 30 points. Holding him below 25 is going to be very hard, but what Florida needs to focus on is stopping BYU’s role players, most notably, Jackson Emery and Noah Hartsock. In almost every loss both players were below their average in points and Fredette, despite his efforts, could not shoulder the burden alone. If Florida is to move on to the Elite 8 that is how they will most likely have to attack the Cougars on the defensive end.

Offensively, the Gators have a serious advantage in the post with Alex Tyus and Vernon Macklin. Hartsock will have to be amazing on the defensive end to stop those two and, as stated before, must chip in on offense. After a strong finish to the regular season, Chandler Parsons has cooled off and only scored 17 points in Florida’s two tournament games. An all-around effort from him will also give the Gators an edge over BYU. They are more athletic than their Mountain West counterpart and have the advantage of playing much closer to home but, then again, they don’t have the kid named Jimmer.

What Fredette has done in this tournament so far is something special and if a man calls himself a college basketball fan then he should make time in his schedule to watch the BYU-Florida game at 7:27 ET on Thursday night. ESPN College Basketball Final even created an on-screen graphic called “Jimmer Range” for highlights of a player making a long three-pointer. There have been few players who have come through the NCAA Tournament and performed so magnificently that they carry their mid-major team to new heights.

In 2009 Stephen Curry did the unthinkable when he led Davidson to the Elite 8 after upsets over 7th-seeded Gonzaga, 2nd-seeded Georgetown and 3rd-seeded Wisconsin. Last year Gordon Hayward took Butler where no mid-major had been since Utah in 1998, the national championship game. Both of those players went on to be lottery picks the year after. A similar fate may await Fredette should he impress in the Big Easy.

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Comments

  1. Does BYU have enough firepower beyond Jimmer, to beat Florida?

  2. paulmbanks says

    depends on if their role players bring it tonight. I still think Florida is the most over-seeded team in the tourney, so I’d be more worried about the Butler-Wisconsin winner than UF

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