Boise State at Nevada (Western Athletic)Lawlor Events Center - Reno, NV19:00 PM EST
In keeping with our West Coast Bias theme, we're going to forget about all those big games going on back East. (Like, say, Chatty at Davidson
, Valpo-Cleveland State
, and... oh yeah, that battle of Valley undefeateds
.) No, we're going to concentrate on an attractive showdown between WAC contenders. "But wait a second," you say. "It's only because you're going to be there." Yeah, buddy, humor us for a second.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Boise State (12-5, 3-2) was the hottest team in the WAC, having won eight of nine coming into league play. The Broncos' overwhelming 2007 success hasn't exactly translated into the '08 conference slate, and while they've won three against the second division (Idaho, San Jose State and La-Tech), their two shots against the real contenders have come up empty. BSU dropped decisions to New Mexico State and Utah State, both within the last week. But don't sleep on this team just yet -- the losses were by a combined seven points, the frontcourty Broncos haven't been outrebounded since Christmas, and this is still the best two-point shooting team in the country (58.5 percent). Greg Graham's squad leads the WAC in every shooting-related category, except free throws. They're not so good at those (66.7 percent), and are one of the very few teams in recent memory to have an eight-point spread between FT's and FG's.
Nevada (10-6, 2-1) had road problems to start the season, Then the team was shocked at San Jose to open WAC play, but that seems to have jolted them into focus. The Wolf Pack's already got the Hawaii trip under their belts (a handy 77-59 win
), and warmed up for this one by dumping Idaho Thursday night by eight
. You likely know about star big-guard Marcellus Kemp
from NCAA teams past, but here comes the next generation of hungry wolves. Freshman Armon Johnson
is coming into his own, notching his second collegiate 23-point game against Idaho, and you're going to be hearing the name JaVale McGee
in his space for the next several years. He's the 6-11 sophomore who's second to Kemp in scoring at 12.9 ppg, and who's collected four double-doubles and 11 50 percent-or-better shooting performances this season.Basketball State Preview/Box