Are you TeamJimmer or TeamKemba?


Tuesday night, Jimmer Fredette had 32 points, going 10-16 from the field and 5-6 from three.

And then they played the second half.

By the time the final buzzer sounded in BYU’s 104-79 win over heated rival Utah, Fredette had scored 47 points, hit six three pointers, handed out six assists, and surpassed the 2,000 point plateau for his career.

Not a bad night, right?

He also managed to pass Kemba Walker as the nation’s leading scorer. Andy Katz made this point on twitter, but those two are setting themselves up to have quite a showdown for national player of the year, reminiscent of the battle that JJ Redick and Adam Morrison had in the 2005-2006 season. Walker saw Fredette’s 39 in BYU’s win over UNLV, and raised him a game-winner in overtime to beat Texas on the road. Fredette re-raised with a 47 point outburst on a rival’s home court just three days later.

(The most awesome part of these two trading blog-worthy performances is that their names are Kemba and Jimmer. It feels like I’m writing about characters from Star Wars, not the country’s best basketball players. For the rest of this post, I refuse to call either by their last name.)

As of now, picking the player of the year would be a toss-up. Jimmer’s played better of late, but Kemba was so dominant early in the season and reignited his player of the year talk with that shot against Texas.

But where Jimmer has surpassed Kemba is as the nation’s darling.

Generally speaking, when you are watching a basketball game and a player does something incredible, its due to god-given athletic talent. Whether its Kemba sprinting past three defenders for a layup or Jared Cunningham coming out of nowhere for a put back dunk or Kyle Kuric skying to make a play in transition, most of the get-you-out-of-your-seat moments are a result of acrobatics as much as skill.

Not Fredette.

When Fredette makes you jump up, its because he’s shooting from 30 feet with a hand in his face. Its because he’s driving baseline, getting stuck under the basket, and throwing a bounce pass across his body to a player standing at the top of the key. Its because he’s dribbling at full speed to his right only to stop on a dime, elevate, and drill a 25-foot leaner. Its because he’s making layups at angles that Sir Isaac Newton thinks are impossible. Its because he’s doing it as a stocky, baby-faced kid with an awkward gait and weird form on his jump shot.

The biggest hurdle in Fredette’s bid to become national player of the year isn’t his ability or the numbers he will put up.

Its that no one is going to see him do it. BYU is part of the Mountain West, which means that the majority of their games are going to be played on that conference’s channel — The Mountain. Luckily for folks in the Mountain region and anyone luckily enough to be able to afford (or even get) the sports package on DirecTV, they’ll be able to see every game. For the rest of us — quick show of hands for who actually saw both BYU-UNLV and BYU-Utah — we have to wait for the occasional BYU game that will end up on Versus or on CBS College Sports, neither or which are channels that come on basic cable packages.

ESPN, however, is.

And Kemba plays in the Big East for one of the Big East’s most recognizable programs. He’ll be on ESPN plenty this year. If he continues to play like he did in Maui or at Pitt and he continues to have heroic performances like he did at Texas (all three of those games were on ESPN, by the way), people across the country are going to see it.

That said, if Fredette continues to have 39 and 47 points performances, it may not matter if anyone sees the game or not. His performance — not an overtime game between two top 25 teams, not an upset of the No. 16 team in the country, not some breaking news in the Carmelo Anthony soap opera — was the lead highlight on Sportscenter and he was interviewed over the phone by Scott van Pelt.

Your move, Kemba.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Tennessee center Tamari Key out for season with blood clots

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee senior center Tamari Key will miss the rest of this season because of blood clots in her lungs, coach Kellie Harper said.

Doctors found the issue during testing. Key is expected to make a full recovery after treatment from University of Tennessee doctors, Harper said, adding that her sole concern is Key getting the medical care she needs to heal and return to full strength.

Key missed the first game of her career in a win Tuesday night over Chattanooga after playing her first 99.

“This is much bigger than basketball. We are so grateful that this medical condition was caught,” Harper said in a statement. “Our entire program will be right beside Tamari during this process and welcomes prayers and positive thoughts from Lady Vol Nation and beyond.”

The Lady Vols opened the season ranked fifth but currently are 5-5.

The 6-foot-6 Key from Cary, North Carolina, currently is Tennessee’s third-leading scorer averaging 8.4 points a game and averaged 4.2 rebounds per game. She started all 34 games as the Lady Vols reached their first Sweet 16 since 2016 last season and set the school record with 119 blocked shots.

Key had 18 blocks this season and 295 for her career, five away from becoming the eighth woman to reach that mark in Southeastern Conference history.

No. 7 Tennessee beats Eastern Kentucky, win streak hits 7

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tyreke Key scored 10 of the first 12 points of the second half and finished with 17, and No. 7 Tennessee overcame a sluggish first half and beat Eastern Kentucky 84-49 on Wednesday night.

“Tyreke is handling the ball now,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “That’s all new to him. He keeps getting better.”

The Volunteers (8-1) struggled in the first half but still built an 11-point lead over Eastern Kentucky (4-5) on the way to their seventh straight victory.

Key led Tennessee in scoring before leaving with a cramp in his right leg with 6:15 left in the game. Julian Phillips had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Zakai Zeigler and Uros Plavsic added 13 points apiece. Olivier Nkamhoua scored 10.

“I’m still settling in,” said Key, a transfer from Indiana State who didn’t play last year while recovering from an injury. “This is a new role. I’m taking steps every day and keep learning.”

Eastern Kentucky, which came into the game averaging 83.5 points, was held well below that total due to 17% (6 for 35) shooting from long range and 22% (15 for 68) overall. Leland Walker led the Colonels with 13 points.

It was the seventh time this season Tennessee has held its opponent to 50 or fewer points.

“(Tennessee) is the best defensive team in the country,” Eastern Kentucky coach A.W. Hamilton said. “I think they’re the best team in the country.”

At one point in the first half, Tennessee was shooting 20% and still leading by 10 points. The teams combined to shoot 4 of 32 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes. The Vols, who shot 24% (8 of 34), led 32-21 at the break.

“If we can’t make shots, can you find a way to win the game?” Barnes said. “When the shot’s not going in, find a way to play. The first thing we talk about is our defense.”

Tennessee shot 41 free throws. Phillips, a true freshman, was 7 of 10.

“(Phillips) has learned the pace of the game,” Barnes said. “I’m not sure there’s been a more effective freshman in the country (this season).”


Since its early season slip against Colorado, Tennessee has had a steady ascent in the rankings. The Vols’ next two games – neutral site (Brooklyn) against No, 13 Maryland (Dec. 11) and at No. 10 Arizona (Dec. 17) – will go a long way toward justifying the No. 7 ranking.


Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels’ run-and-gun style of offense had them averaging 83.5 points through their first eight games. They ran into a defensive buzz saw in Tennessee, which was yielding just over 51 points.

Tennessee: Santiago Vescovi sat out his second straight game with a shoulder problem. He is expected to be ready to play Sunday against Maryland. . The Vols have won seven in a row since their loss to Colorado.


Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels host Boyce College on Saturday.

Tennessee: Take on No. 13 Maryland on Sunday at the Hall of Fame Invitational in New York.

Hoggard scores career-high 23, Michigan State snaps 2-game skid

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Matthew OHaren/USA TODAY Sports

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A.J. Hoggard scored a career-high 23 points, Joey Hauser had 12 points and 15 rebounds and Michigan State beat Penn State 67-58 on Wednesday night to snap a two-game losing streak.

Michigan State (6-4, 1-1 Big Ten) avoided going .500 or worse after 10 games for the first time in 18 seasons.

Hoggard blocked an open layup with less than a minute to play and Hauser grabbed the rebound before being fouled and making two free throws at the other end for a 66-58 lead.

Hoggard, Hauser and Tyson Walker combined for 31 of Michigan State’s 32 second-half points.

The Michigan State defense allowed only one made field goal in the final five minutes. Penn State was just 1 of 9 from 3-point range in the second half after 7 of 18 before halftime.

Walker scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half for Michigan State. Hoggard, who entered third in the conference in assists at 6.3, had six rebounds, two assists and one key block.

Hoggard gave Michigan State 35-33 lead – its first since 4-2 – after back-to-back three-point plays with 59.3 seconds left in the first half. It was tied at 35-all at the break.

Seth Lundy scored 16 points and Jalen Pickett had 13 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists for Penn State (6-3, 0-1)

Michigan State hosts Brown on Saturday. Penn State, which hadn’t played since a double-overtime loss to Clemson on Nov. 29, plays at No. 17 Illinois on Saturday.

No. 7 Virginia Tech posts 9th straight win, beats Boston College 73-58

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BOSTON — Reigning Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year Elizabeth Kitley had 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Cayla King scored 16 on Wednesday night to lead No. 7 Virginia Tech to a 73-58 victory over Boston College, the Hokies’ ninth straight win.

Taylor Soule, one of two BC transfers on the roster for Virginia Tech (9-0, 1-0 ACC), added nine points and five rebounds. Soule scored more than 1,500 points and grabbed almost 700 rebounds in four seasons at BC, earning All-ACC honors three times.

Andrea Daley scored 15 points and Maria Gakdeng scored 14 for BC (7-4, 0-1). They each grabbed six rebounds.

Virginia Tech scored 17 of the game’s first 21 points and led by as many as 19 in the third quarter before BC cut the deficit to 10 in the fourth. Leading 64-54 with under three minutes left and the shot clock expiring, Kayana Traylor hit a 3-pointer for the Hokies.

Gakdeng missed two free throws for BC, and then Kitley scored from inside to make it a 15-point game.

Clara Ford, who also played four years in Chestnut Hill, pitched in 2 points in 2 minutes against her former team.


At No. 7, the Hokies have the highest ranking in the program’s history. With the victory over BC, a 10th straight win against North Carolina-Asheville on Sunday would leave Virginia Tech in position to move up even higher should a top five team falter.


Virginia Tech: Hosts North Carolina-Asheville on Sunday.

Boston College: Hosts Albany on Saturday.

Michigan’s Jaelin Llewellyn out for season with knee injury

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan point guard Jaelin Llewellyn is out for the rest of the season with an injured left knee and is expected to have surgery next month.

Wolverines coach Juwan Howard made the announcement three days after Llewellyn was hurt in a loss to Kentucky in London.

Llewellyn transferred to Michigan from Princeton last spring and that seemed to lead to Frankie Collins transferring to Arizona State after a solid freshman season for the Wolverines.

Llewellyn averaged seven points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists in eight games at Michigan. He was an All-Ivy League player last season and averaged nearly 16 points over three seasons at Princeton.