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(Photo: AP file)TUSCON, Ariz. -- Although the BYU men's basketball team's 12-1 record hasn't garnered enough national respect to propel it into the top 25, a coach from one of college basketball's most prestigious programs is gushing about the Cougars.
Sean Miller, in his first year as Head Coach of the Cougars' next opponent, Arizona, said Sunday in a press conference that BYU may be the toughest test on the schedule for the Wildcats.
Miller also said the question isn't whether BYU will make the NCAA tournament this year, but how high their seed is in the tournament, noting that his team has faced two other Mountain West Conference teams, but BYU is the best of the three.
What makes BYU better? Miller said junior guard Jimmer Fredette is the difference.
"I think (Jimmer Fredette) is the best player we have played against all season," Miller said. "He's not a good guard, he's a great guard we have our hands full with him (he's) one of the best guards in college basketball."
With such high praise, there is no question the Wildcats are taking the Cougars seriously. The Cougars bring a seven game win streak into Tuscon, led by Fredette, who scored 33 points against Nevada and 24 points against Nebraska in the Las Vegas Classic to bring his scoring average to 19.5 this season. Fredette's performance in the tournament earned him the first MVP honor of his collegiate career.
The game will serve as a good measuring stick for the Cougars, as conference foes UNLV and San Diego State have already defeated the Wildcats this season.
Monday night's game will be the last of a three game homestand for the Wildcats, who enter the game coming off of wins against Lipscomb and NC State. Nic Wise, a senior guard who hit the game-winning layup against NC State, leads the Wildcats with 17 points per game, adding 4.4 assists per game and 19 total steals on the season.
Tipoff is at 7:00 PM (Mountain Standard Time) at the McKale Events Center in Tuscon. The game can be heard live on KSL Newsradio beginning with the pregame show at 6 p.m. MST on 102.7 FM and 1160 AM or via the Internet at KSL.com. The game will be televised live on Fox College Sports and online at CBS College Sports All-Access.