Coach Dave Rose hopes to improve his personal and coaching record in New Mexico
The days following Brigham Young's monumental win over No. 4 San Diego State can be described fairly easily.
Later today the Cougar bandwagon rolls into Albuquerque to take on the Lobos in The Pit. Unfortunately for BYU, the rest of that title lately has been "of Despair."
Last year, following a hard-fought win over San Diego State and getting their 20th win of the year, the Cougars visited the Pit and left with, well... despair. The Lobos eventually went on to win 14 Mountain West Conference games and secure the Conference Championship.
New Mexico head coach Steve Alford seemed to be the only guy in the world who had Fredette's number. Jimmer only averaged 11.3 ppg against New Mexico last year.
But that was then.
Today, one year and two days later, Jimmer Fredette has morphed into something entirely different. Last year, he was simply Jimmer Fredette, stand-out guard from BYU. Now, he is The Jimmer, he is a verb (to Jimmer), an adjective, a sickness "jimmerfever."
He is a machine that is fueled by enormous pressure and the disdain of opposing fans. Last year, he was that white kid who dropped 49 on Arizona. Today, he is according to Kevin Durant, "the best scorer in the world."
The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior, and if the recent past has any bearing on the outcome of Saturday's contest at New Mexico, I would look for no such letdown from Fredette. As for the BYU's supporting cast of Emery, Hartsock, Collinsworth and Davies, they scored a combined 28 points against SDSU with about half that coming from Davies alone.
I wouldn't count on that happening twice in a row. Coach Dave Rose made an interesting remark earlier this season before BYU's close game against Utah State he said, "You know when a team shoots below their average one game, that makes their next opponent's coach nervous. It's their average for a reason."
For that reason, I wouldn't expect another flat offensive performance from BYU's other starting four. Emery is too good from distance, Hartsock provides a versatile threat, able to drive and hit from beyond the arc and Davies is developing into one of the best post players in the conference.
However, you can't overlook the boys in Cherry. The Pit is one of the most intimidating places in the country to play, ranked No. 9 or not. Dairese Gary, Drew Gordon, Phillip McDonald and Kendall Williams all average at least 11 points per game.
The Lobos, as a team, are no slouches on the glass either, grabbing 37 rebounds a game. They are second in the conference only to BYU.
I predict a hard-fought game, but given Fredette's recent road performances and the fact that New Mexico isn't quite the brute force they have been in the past, I say BYU takes it and tucks win number 21 under their belts and having made a strong case to move higher in the rankings.
That is if they can escape déjà vu and The Pit of Despair.