PROVO — After spending a long night watching game film of his team's upcoming NCAA Tournament opponent, Wofford coach Mike Young entered a verdict on BYU.
"We have a tall order out there in the Mile High City," he told reporters during a teleconference Monday. "I'm more impressed with them the more I watch them."
Fourteenth-seeded Wofford (21-12) faces the No. 3 Cougars (30-4) Thursday (5:15 p.m. MT, CBS) at the Pepsi Center in Denver in a Southeast Region contest.
"It blows my mind. This team has won 30 games. That's unconscionable to me," Young said about BYU. "(Coach) Dave Rose is fabulous. What they do offensively can really turn you inside out."
Immediately following Sunday's selection show, Wofford players cheered when they found out they would be playing BYU.
"I think our style of play matches up well with them," said senior forward Noah Dahlman. "A more athletic Big East team — I don't think that matchup would have gone as well."
Young explained that his team knows the challenge it's up against this week.
"They could have flashed the (Los Angeles) Lakers up and our guys would have said, 'Great matchup,'" he said. "They're excited, as well they should be. But they know they've got a lot of work to do between now and Thursday."
While Young heaped lavish praise on BYU guard Jimmer Fredette, the nation's leading scorer, he also said the Cougars' supporting cast is strong.
"We hear so much about Fredette, and deservedly so. He's a terrific talent and a great basketball player. We are every bit as impressed with their team," Young said, singling out guard Jackson Emery and forward Charles Abouo.
Asked about the green light Rose gives to Fredette to shoot the ball, Young said, "He's got a different shade of green. Fredette has earned that light. Dave Rose has complete trust and confidence in Jimmer and justifiably so because he's done it night in, night out. I had to excuse myself from the film room to walk down the hall (Sunday night) watching the replay of the New Mexico game, where the guy scored 52 points. If there's such a thing as a quiet 52, it was a quiet 52. He scores like he breathes. It's amazing. All of the accolades and everything that's come his way, he's deserved every bit of it. I love watching him play. He doesn't say a word. He just whips you and moves along about his business. He's a good one."
Wofford senior guard Jamar Diggs will draw the defensive assignment against Fredette, though Young emphasized that the task will be a team effort.
"Jamar Diggs can't guard him by himself. Rundles can't guard him by himself," Young said. "It comes back to your team, playing as a unit. Those post guys hedging on that ball screen, and showing on down screens, are every bit as important as Jamar Diggs and whomever might find themselves matched with Fredette."
Diggs defended the nation's fourth leading scorer, College of Charleston's Andrew Goudelock, in the Southern Conference Tournament championship game. Wofford won the game, and Goudelock finished with 25 points.
Young described Diggs as a "tenacious" defender. "He's as quick as a cat and has great hands. He's as competitive as any human being I've ever been around. Fredette, stating the obvious, is a special, special player. I will look forward to Jamar guarding him and our team guarding him. Fredette may very well get the best of him. But I tell you what — my guy's going to fight. He's going to go into that game as if he were shot out of a cannon. He'll be so excited. It will be, I hope, a good matchup."
Can Wofford simulate Fredette's style of play in practice?
"That's impossible," Young said. "We'll watch a lot of tape and our guys will do a lot of film study on their own and try to pick up characteristics on how he scores. It's not like I'm going to go down to practice today and make this guy Fredette and he's going go off in practice for 40 (points). I can't do it. It's hard."27 comments on this story
The Cougars have seen almost every imaginable defensive scheme in an attempt to slow down Fredette. Rose is confident that Fredette will still find ways to score and find his open teammates, no matter what.
"Jimmer's become very efficient at reading defenses," Rose said. "He's been very patient in his ability to attack. We'll see how they want to play him. We'll prepare just like we've prepared all year long."
Cougars and Terriers on the air No. 14 Wofford (21-12) vs. No. 3 BYU (30-4)
Thursday, 5:15 p.m. MT Pepsi Center
NCAA Tournament Second Round
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