January 10, 2008 12:38 pm ET by Kyle Whelliston
New Mexico State at Boise State (Western Athletic)
Taco Bell Arena - Boise, ID
9:00 PM EST
OK, so what about the WAC?, you ask. It's a conference that started out very slow due to ill-timed up-scheduling (like you can schedule your scheduling around unscheduled crises anyway), sitting in the low-20's of the conference RPI for most of the first two months. Now the league is up to No. 19, and look! A matchup of the WAC's only 2-0 teams so far tonight, available for a fee at ESPN Full Court, as all NMSU games are. Somebody get Aggievision a budget!
Boise State (11-3, 2-0) came into 2007-08 looking like a frontcourt-heavy team that would have a difficult time getting the kind of guard play one needs to win a conference. And yes, the front line has performed as expected... led by 6-6 junior Reggie Larry (19.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg), the three upperclassman forwards combine for 46.5 points and 19.7 rebounds per contest. Which is a lot. But the real hero of the Broncos is emergent sophomore point guard Anthony Thomas, who dishes four dimes a game, leads the conference in steals (2 per), and scores 8.7 ppg on his own. He helps Boise State find the shots that make it the No. 1 shooting team in all of Division I, a squad that nails a very impressive 52.6 percent of its attempts.
Then there's defending champions New Mexico State (8-9, 2-0), who lost their coach to the NBA and all their good mojo to who-knows-where. New bench boss Marvin Menzies has had to deal with multiple suspensions, expulsions and dismissals (some of which were his own team-rules violations), most notably the loss of self-destructive prospect Herb Pope. The Aggies who are left have slogged along, opening with a 6-9 nonconference record and two wins over Idaho and Fresno State which proved little other than that they are nowhere near the worst team in this league. Especially not with a guy like Justin Hawkins, who averages 19.0 ppg and has posted four dub-dubs this season. Solid enough defense, shooting and rebounding in general, but hoo boy do they turn the ball over a lot (17.9 times a game). Will Thomas and the Broncos guards take advantage?
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