Jimmer Fredette's role of a lifetime

Fredette, seen here fighting through two defenders in the UNLV win, could carry BYU to heights not seen since Danny Ainge played there. Getty Images

Last week, the Brigham Young Cougars recorded an 89-77 win on the road against the UNLV Rebels. It was the kind of victory that changes people's perceptions about a team -- at 16-1 the Cougars have moved up to No. 10 in ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll.

But what's funny is that the picture presented by BYU and its star player, Jimmer Fredette, is one of almost eerie continuity stretching back to last season. Dave Rose's team is attracting new notice by doing the same old things they've done for a while: making shots and playing D.

With a road win against the Rebels safely tucked in their pocket, the Cougars are highly likely to end the regular season with a gaudy won-loss record. And, at the risk of getting ahead of ourselves, the Mountain West race is shaping up to be a really interesting battle between the San Diego State Aztecs and BYU. (Take a moment to thank the MWC for having a true round-robin conference schedule. Whichever team emerges as the winner will be a legitimate champion.)

Joe Lunardi, among others, thinks Steve Fisher's crew could get a No. 1 seed. We've looked at them before. Here now, we look at BYU.