There are some rather crazy statistics associated with last night's BYU-UNLV game, but maybe the craziest is this (hat tip to Rob Dauster, who caught this in progress): In the course of about 12 minutes of game time -- from the 6:58 mark in the first half to the 15:38 mark in the second -- BYU outscored UNLV 37-13. Yes, you read that correctly. 37-13.
It was that kind of night for the Cougars, who began the game in shaky fashion, clearly unmoored by UNLV's athletic full court press. And then, to paraphrase noted hip hop dreamboat Drake, BYU went off. Fireworks. (So clever, that Drake. Sigh.)
The Cougars exploded on offense to the tune of 89 points in 75 possessions Wednesday night. The Cougars shot 50 percent from three, including Jimmer Fredette's 7-of-13 mark from beyond the arc, a mark that included at least four or five utterly silly shots that maybe two or three players in the country can make at any given time. The number might not be that high. Jackson Emery was also lights out, going 6-for-9 from three and adding 22 points to Fredette's 39.
Perhaps even more impressive is that BYU did this to UNLV at UNLV. First of all, the Rebels are a very good defensive team. Before Wednesday night's contest, UNLV was turning opponents over at the second-highest rate in the nation. Second of all, BYU hadn't won at UNLV once in Fredette's career, and this is no doubt the most talented and polished team Lon Kruger has had in that stretch. The Rebels will have something to say about the MWC title before the season is over. But last night belonged to BYU. And, thus, Fredette.
Here's the thing about Jimmer Fredette and BYU: I think this team is still a little under the radar.
Sure, everyone knows about them. Fredette was a preseason All-American, his exploits have been noticed and awarded time and again -- even his homecoming trip to Glens Falls, N.Y. was highly covered in this space and elsewhere -- and his team has received plenty of top 25 and power rankings love since the beginning of the 2010-11 season.
But because BYU plays in the Mountain West and hasn't had many marquee games televised on ESPN or CBS in the past few seasons (last year's thrilling NCAA tournament loss to K-State notwithstanding), I'm not sure many casual fans have actually seen this team play.
Take my roommates, for instance. Last night, two of them asked me if I was ready to watch Penguins-Capitals 24/7, perhaps the greatest program in the history of sports. I told them I was still working, but also that BYU was playing at UNLV. Both of them sort of shrugged; they didn't get why that would keep me from watching HBO's super-saturated cameras and mind-blowing editing. I had to explain to them that not only was it a big game in the Mountain West -- which, to the casual basketball fan, doesn't seem to mean all that much -- but that BYU and Jimmer Fredette were among the most entertaining entities in sports. "You guys should probably watch this team," I said. "They're totally insane, and totally awesome." They put on 24/7 instead.
That's just anecdotal evidence, of course, but I think it holds true for most. Casual college hoops fans have probably seen Duke and Michigan State and Kentucky and Syracuse play a handful of times this season; slightly more-than-casual college hoops fans have probably seen 20 or 30 more teams multiple times. How many times have they watched BYU?
Consider this your last and final warning, America. If you don't go out of your way to check out what the Cougars and Fredette do on a nightly basis -- their crazy, uptempo, let's-chuck-from-anywhere, oh-my-goodness-what-a-shot approach to every single game they play -- you're missing out on the most entertaining show college hoops has to offer. Call your cable provider, find a shady Internet site, find highlights on an obscure satellite TV channel, do whatever.
Fredette's final college season ends in four months. You won't want to miss out.