NCAA Tournament Preview Southeast Region - First Round (14) Wofford vs. (3) BYU

Thursday, March 17 - 7:15 PM ET

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The talk of the college basketball season is about to take center stage on the biggest all venues. BYU guard and Player of the Year frontrunner Jimmer Fredette enters an event known to give gifted individual players a special platform in which to demonstrate their talents. As one who has always risen to the challenges placed before him, the nation will not need an introduction to Fredette. Simply a final curtain call. The nation’s leading scorer bring his third-seeded BYU Cougars into the Tournament looking to make some noise. The Cougars, who up until three weeks ago, looked assured of a number-one seed, were kindly awarded a three-seed despite losing starter Brandon Davies for the season as a result of a violation of the school’s honor code policy and dropping two games in blowout fashion down the stretch. Head coach Dave Rose understands that the time is now to prove your merit, survive, and advance in March.

It has been a storybook season for Fredette and the Cougars. With scoring outbursts of 30, 32, 33 (two times), 34 (two times), 38, 42, 43, 47, and 52 (just a week ago) Jimmer Fredette’s individual heroics have placed him at the forefront of college basketball all season long. Fredette simply knows how to score the basketball against any and all defenders and schemes. Last season Fredette exploded for 37 points to lead the Cougars to a first round win over Florida last season and is primed and ready to begin again.

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Don’t sleep on the Wofford Terriers, this might be a dog who is more bite than bark. The back-to-back champion of the Southern Conference, who lost a tough first round battle with Wisconsin last season, are back with a vengeance in 2011. The Terriers play fundamental and schematically sound offensive basketball. Led by Noah Dahlman, the Terriers are an efficient offensive ball club and can beat you in the half court. Wofford is also blessed with a terrific defender in Jamar Diggs. The Senior will get the assignment of guarding and containing Jimmer. If past performances inside the Southern Conference are any indication, Diggs may just be up for the challenge.

The biggest question to the Post-Davies BYU is just what kind of capability does it have? In the games after the suspension, the Cougars have struggled from the field and have been susceptible to inside presence. Luckily for the Cougars, Wofford does not match up well with BYU in terms of size. The key for BYU’s success, outside of Fredette fireworks, has been and will continue to be Jackson Emery. The Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year can change games with his ability to affect a game defensively. If the Senior guard can also shoot a high percentage from the outside, BYU becomes nigh unbeatable. Wofford presents BYU with a tremendous barometer. The Terriers are tough and know what it will take to score a tournament victory. Now the real question is, what BYU squad will show up?

By Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer




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