NEW ORLEANS -- Brigham Young basketball fans like to wear T-shirts with a bold proclamation informing defeated opponents of their inevitable fate.
"You just got Jimmered," says the message on the front of the T-shirts.
After his team's 83-74 overtime victory over Jimmer and the Fredettes, Florida coach Billy Donovan's Gators may need to come up with their own boastful bulletin. Something like, "Jimmer, you just got the Boynton Bounce out of the NCAA Tournament."
In fact, maybe UF could even borrow from a Twitter dispatch sent by the greatest Gator of all leading up to Thursday night's Sweet 16 victory over BYU.
"I'm a big fan of Jimmer," tweeted Tim Tebow, "but let's be honest ... He's Gator bait!"And, so, he was. The Gator defense, led by ferocious guard Kenny Boynton, badgered, bullied, even bloodied BYU's cult hero all night long, and in the process advanced to within one victory of the Final Four.
Here in Louisiana, Fredette has been billed as the second coming of LSU legend "Pistol" Pete Maravich, but the Gators made him look like more like the Shakiest Gun in the West. Fredette may have scored 32 points, but he shot only 11-of-29 from the floor and 3-of-15 from 3-point range.
Here's all you need to know: In the overtime period, Fredette was held scoreless and had more turnovers (two) than he had points (0).
In other words, Boynton and the Florida defense took the shimmer out of Jimmer.
"You could tell he was getting a little frustrated," said Florida forward Chandler Parsons.
The Gators not only frustrated Fredette; they frustrated the Jimmerettes as well. At one point in the second half, Fredette was out of control on a drive to the hoop and was called for an offensive foul. Teammate Jackson Emery complained to an official and was called for a technical. That's right, a technical foul on a BYU player. That has to be a violation of the honor code and grounds for immediate dismissal, right?
Let's face it, this game wasn't about Florida vs. BYU; it was about Florida vs. Jimmer's Glimmer. It was Gators vs. Greatness. And let's be honest, shall we? Everybody not wearing Orange and Blue wanted Jimmer to advance. The crowd in New Orleans rooted for him, so did the fans throughout the country and the CBS network executives.
Not really surprising. In this day and age when college basketball has become a three-week sport, Fredette is a rarity. He is a college player who has a name people actually recognize.
The Gators, on the other hand, aren't all the rage. They don't have any household names. They don't get much hype. They don't get much hoopla. And, quite frankly, that's how they prefer it. It is in their makeup.
The Gators are funny that way. And ruthless. They have a habit of ruining NCAA Tournament story lines and crashing parties. Remember 2006 when they were on their way to a first national title? They played George Mason in the Final Four and trounced one of the most heart-tugging rags-to-riches stories in sports history.
By the time, Florida is through with them, Cinderella's slippers often look like a tattered pair of brogans. The Gators don't just transform Cinderella's carriage into a pumpkin; they turn it into a rotten eggplant.
Granted, BYU was not as big an underdog as George Mason, but the Cougars had still captured the imagination of the country. Mainly because of Jimmer but also because this is a program that had the integrity to kick one of its best players center Brandon Davies off the team before the NCAA Tournament for violating the school's honor code. Many college basketball fans applauded BYU's r decision not to bend the rules just to keep a star athlete eligible.
And Jimmer, of course, has become a college basketball rock star. He is a Mormon version of Tebow except with a wicked crossover. One BYU fan held up a sign Thursday night: "Jimmer: Marry my daughter!" Another sign boldly predicted, "Just Fredette it; we're going to win!" Musicians in Utah have written numerous songs about him.
But on Thursday night, Boynton, Alex Tyus (19 points, 17 rebounds) and the Gators turned down the Jimmer music and did their own slam dance into the Elite Eight.9
The pre-game words of Chandler Parsons seem prophetic now.
"It's going to take our whole team to stop Jimmer," Parsons said.
It really is true, isn't it?
A good team beats a great player every time.