PROVO — For the first time this season the BYU Cougars are ranked in both major college basketball polls.
The Cougars, after three wins last week in the South Padre Island Invitational, moved up from No. 23 to No. 21 in the Associated Press Top 25, and cracked the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll for the first time on Monday at No. 25.
"Obviously people are respecting us a little bit and seeing that we're a good team," BYU senior guard Jimmer Fredette said. "And I think that we belong there. Now it's just up to us to make sure that we stay there."
Last season the Cougars didn't land in either poll until the second week of January. They learned last year that rankings come with more pressure to win.
"When you have a number by your name the other team, I think, focuses a little bit harder and prepares a little bit better. So that's the challenge," Cougars coach Dave Rose said.
Also making moves in the polls are Mountain West Conference foes San Diego State and UNLV. The Aztecs (6-0) are ranked No. 17 in the AP poll and No. 19 in the ESPN/USA Today poll. The Rebels (6-0) debuted in both polls at No. 24 in the AP poll, but are two spots ahead of BYU at No. 23 in the coaches' poll.
"The league is strong. The league is really strong," Rose said.
The Cougars travel to Creighton (4-2) on Wednesday for the second game of the Mountain West Conference/Missouri Valley Conference Challenge. On Saturday they host Hawaii (5-0) at EnergySolutions Arena.
KUDOS FOR FREDETTE: Cougars senior All-American guard Jimmer Fredette was named Mountain West Conference co-player of the week on Monday, sharing the award with UNLV's Chace Stanback. It's the sixth time in Fredette's career that he's received the honor.
Fredette scored 16 points, with six assists and one steal in an 86-36 rout of Mississippi Valley State. He followed that with a season-high 32 points and a career-high five steals, along with four assists, three rebounds and one blocked shot in a 77-75 double-overtime win against South Florida. In Saturday's 74-70 win over Saint Mary's, Fredette scored 24 points, with four assists, three rebounds and three steals. He hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 11 seconds on the clock.16 comments on this story
"It's good to be recognized and hopefully there will be more to come and I'll keep playing well," Fredette said.
INJURY UPDATE: It's looking like the Cougars won't have the services again of sophomore forward Chris Collinsworth until next week. Collinsworth, with a sprained left ankle/bone bruise, missed both games at last weekend's South Padre Island Invitational. He will not play on Wednesday and is doubtful for Saturday. He's currently wearing a protective boot on his left foot.
Senior guard Jackson Emery, shin splints, only participated in part of Monday's practice. Trainers believe the soreness might be related to the high-ankle sprain he suffered a few weeks back.