Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Jimmer Fredette

BYU opens NCAA Tournament play Thursday (5:15 p.m. MT). It's no coincidence that the Cougars have been given the prime-time, nationally televised slot on CBS. Star guard Jimmer Fredette has been shown on promos for March Madness and those around country, especially people who haven't seen him much this season, are eager to watch him play.

Among those who can't wait are inmates at the Mount McGregor Correctional Facility in Wilton, N.Y., where Fredette used to play pick-up games. The inmates have followed Fredette's career ever since, according to this USA Today piece.

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"The inmates vote on what they want to watch on TV each week, and of course, they want to watch Jimmer," Mount McGregor recreational director John Montgomery told Yahoo's Jeff Eisenberg. "If BYU's on our local television, every dorm will have the game on. Every inmate will want to watch. They do have that connection to him. They think, .... 'he was up here playing against us.'"

The Philadelphia Inquirer writes about Jimmer Mania and Fredette's "unlikely path to becoming a star." Here's an excerpt: "Jimmer's allure is in his game — 30-foot jumpers, creativity around the hoop, and a nation-leading scoring average of 28.5 points per game — as well as his story: a cherub-cheeked Mormon who defied the odds to become the face of this year's NCAA tournament."