UW at Boise State men’s hoops Q&A

Here is my question-and-answer session with Dave Southorn, who covers Boise State men’s basketball for the Idaho Statesman, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Tip off is at 2 p.m. MT at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho.

Follow on Twitter:[email protected]_Southorn

Take us through the shot by James Webb III in the loss at Colorado State Wednesday night in terms of what you saw and the entire decision-making process from the officials. What is your take on the whole situation, and how do you think the team will respond after the loss?

I’ve never seen anything like it…and spending the last three days writing about 0.8

Dave Southorn

Dave Southorn

seconds of one game, I still don’t get it. The Mountain West was in a no-win situation, but offering an explanation Thursday that wound up being wrong (timer was not synced to arena’s clock), it made it worse. Webb clearly got the shot off, and it clearly had an effect with a poor start to the second overtime. I’m not sure if Boise State should have been given the win retroactively, but I think it would’ve probably created a whole lot less negativity for the league. The team was understandably upset, and coach Leon Rice said the continuing drama hasn’t helped, but this team needs wins now, so it can’t let it slow them down.

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UW vs. Boise State men’s hoops Q&A

Here is my question-and-answer session with Dave Southorn, who covers Boise State men’s basketball for the Idaho Statesman, about today’s game with the University of Wyoming.

Tip off is at 2 p.m. MT at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

Follow on Twitter:[email protected]_Southorn

Boise State was predicted to be among the top teams in the Mountain West and has played like it at 14-5 overall and 5-1 in the conference. What have the Broncos done well when they’re winning, and what areas — if any — do they struggle?

Though some fans hoped they had at least one win against the likes of Michigan State and

Dave Southorn

Dave Southorn

Arizona (which they played twice), this is about as good as many had hoped the Broncos would be. They’ve done it thanks to a continued focus on increasing their athleticism, able to attack the basket but shoot with players like Nick Duncan and Anthony Drmic. The Boise State offense has been great against everyone except long, athletic squads like Arizona and San Diego State. Four players average at least 11.3 points per game, so options are aplenty. The Broncos haven’t been great in the half court defensively, with teams shooting 43.5 percent overall, but they have forced at least 15 turnovers in six of the last seven games.

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Players weigh in on toughest places to play in MW men’s basketball

I caught up with players from all 11 Mountain West teams and asked them the toughest places to play in the league during MW Men’s Basketball Media Day in Las Vegas.

As you will see, no big surprises where some of the toughest places are, but it’s still fun to see some of the players’ reactions.

G Josh Adams, Sr., Wyoming: New Mexico. Packed house. Very loud. Their fans know everything about you, and they know basketball.”

G Marqueze Coleman, Sr., Nevada: San Diego State and New Mexico. The crowds there are incredible.

G/F Tyron Criswell, Sr., Nevada: San Diego State. Their student section was wild. You couldn’t hear anything. We had to coach ourselves.

G Joe De Ciman, Sr., Colorado State: The Pit at New Mexico. You walk down that ramp and that’s what college basketball is all about.

F Tiel Daniels, Sr. Colorado State: The Pit.

G/F Anthony Drmic, Sr., Boise State: Colorado State, Wyoming, Utah State. Especially Wyoming with the altitude. 

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Preseason MW all-conference team, predicted order of finish

The Mountain West released men’s basketball preseason all-conference team and predicted order of finish Tuesday morning as it began its two-day media day activities in Las Vegas.

Here’s the link to the preseason all-conference team and preseason poll.

http://www.wyosports.net/uw-s-adams-named-to-preseason-all-mw-men-s/article_478a6bac-71b8-11e5-a794-0b5624a75e3a.html

I was one of those media members, and here’s how I voted:

ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM

Josh Adams

Josh Adams

Winston Shepard – Forward – San Diego State
Anthony Drmic – Guard/Forward – Boise State
James Webb III – Forward – Boise State
Marvelle Harris – Guard – Fresno State
Josh Adams – Guard – Wyoming

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winston Shepard – Forward – San Diego State
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Stephen Zimmerman, Jr. – Forward – UNLV
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Jerome Seagears – Guard – UNLV

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1 San Diego State
2 Boise State
3 Utah State
4 UNLV
5 Fresno State
6 New Mexico
7 Colorado State
8 Nevada
9 Wyoming
10 Air Force
11 San Jose State

I nailed the all-conference team, and when it was released one of the Las Vegas media members seemed surprised Adams was on the list. I differed some on the player and newcomer of the year.

I had Wyoming one spot lower than the preseason poll. Hope I am wrong about that.

Let me know what you think, folks. Do you agree or disagree with any of this stuff?

MW men’s basketball power rankings/picks

Here are my Mountain West men’s basketball power rankings for this week, along with predictions on this week’s games.

As always, I would love to hear your feedback/opinions.

1. Wyoming (17-3 overall, 6-1 MW): The Cowboys haven’t always been the most impressive looking team, but they are in first place and enter the week 3-0 in road conference games. The toughness — mentally and physically — of this team is impressive. As former Oakland Raiders coach and owner Al Davis used to say: “Just win, baby.”

2. Colorado State (18-2, 5-2): The Rams were great in a 79-73 home win over San Diego State, and have won four in a row since a 60-54 home loss to Wyoming on Jan. 7. A road game Tuesday at Boise State will be interesting.

3. San Diego State (15-5, 5-2): Nearly completed the comeback at Colorado State, and still by far the best defensive team in the conference. Key will be if this team can shoot the ball. If it is just average, it will win most — if not all — of its remaining games.

4. Boise State (14-6, 4-3): Winners of four straight and figuring out how to win close games. Tough to say this team is better without leading scorer Anthony Drmic — out with a season-ending ankle injury. But the Broncos are playing good basketball, and senior guard Derrick Marks is making a case as the league’s player of the year. He leads the MW in scoring (19.2 ppg).

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MW men’s basketball power rankings

A little late in doing this as we are two weeks into the conference season, but I wanted to see a few conference games to start my weekly power rankings. But based on what’s happened, the picture isn’t much clearer.

Anyway, here is this week’s rankings along with this week’s list of games. As always, your feedback is welcome and encouraged.

1. No. 25 Wyoming (15-2 overall, 4-0 MW): The only ranked team in the MW, the only team unbeaten in conference play and with the longest winning streak (seven). The Cowboys are far from perfect, but with the nation’s third-best scoring defense (52.2 ppg) and the league’s best player in senior forward Larry Nance Jr., UW sits atop the perch for now.

2. San Diego State (12-4, 2-1): Like Wyoming, the Aztecs are among the nation’s best defensive teams. The loss of senior wing Dwayne Polee II to an illness has had an impact, but there is no other team as long, athletic and versatile in the MW. This team may have trouble making shots, but as long as the defense remains solid, the Aztecs will be tough to beat.

3. New Mexico (11-5, 3-1): A little surprised to see the Lobos this high after losing guard Cullen Neal to a season-ending ankle injury, and dealing with a lot of other injuries. But the Lobos are grinding away and will be a factor in the conference race.

4. Fresno State (8-9, 3-1): Don’t let the overall record fool you, the Bulldogs are playing some good basketball, and own a 59-57 home win over San Diego State. They could get even better if point guard Cezar Guerrero comes back from his academic eligibility issues. Guard Marvelle Harris, the reigning MW Player of the Week, leads the conference in scoring at just over 18 points per game.

5. Colorado State (15-2, 2-2): The Rams have come down to earth somewhat after a 14-0 start. But this team is still very good and can win a lot of different ways. Point guard John Gillon is one of the quickest and toughest guys to defend in the league.

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UW-Boise State men’s hoops Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Dave Southorn, who covers Boise State men’s basketball for the Idaho Statesman, on Saturday’s game at the University of Wyoming.

Tip-off between UW (14-2 overall, 3-0 Mountain West) and Boise State (10-5, 0-2) is at 4 p.m. at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie, and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

Follow on Twitter: @IDS_Southorn

 

How big an impact has it and will it be for Boise State after it lost senior guard Anthony Drmic to a season-ending ankle injury?

It obviously was going to have an effect, but we’ve seen pretty quickly just how big of a difference it’s made. His scoring and his leadership would no doubt have helped during the three-game losing streak (losses by three, six and one). Without a 1,500-point scorer, the Broncos haven’t yet found a consistent scoring option since he’s been out the last month.

 

Who has and needs to step up in his place?

Senior guard Derrick Marks has picked up a lot of the slack, scoring 31 on Saturday against Utah State. He’s been outstanding for the most part this season, making 30-of-52 3s after making 19-of-66 as a junior. But he’s always been productive. Boise State needs others to do so. Sophomore forward Nick Duncan had made 1-of-26 3s in three-and-a-half games before making three in the second half against the Aggies. If he gets the outside shot going, that will help make up for Drmic’s long-range ability. Also keep an eye on sophomore forward James Webb III, an athletic sort the Broncos have lacked in recent years. Webb averaged 13.7 points per game from Nov. 28-Dec. 20, but 7.5 in the four games since.

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UW-Boise State men’s hoops Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Dave Southorn, who covers Boise State men’s basketball for the Idaho Statesman about Saturday’s 4:05 p.m. game with the University of Wyoming at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie.

Follow on Twitter: @IDS_Southorn

Were you surprised the Broncos lost by 20 Wednesday at Fresno State and what were the most alarming factors in that loss?

I honestly was pretty shocked, not necessarily the loss, but the fact it was never close. Two things really stood out on both ends: first, defensively, Fresno State shot 48.2 percent, the sixth time in the last eight games a team has shot 48 percent or better on the Broncos. Second, there was little offensive flow, with only seven assists and 2-of-18 3-point shooting. I fully expect the offense to bounce back, but the defensive showing has become a bit of a trend.

Coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance last season and most of those guys coming back this season, what has been the biggest issues with the team in conference play at 8-7?

Certainly the inability to close out games against top-level teams, losing on the last shot to San Diego State twice, Wyoming and at UNLV. I think part of that has been a lack of depth behind Ryan Watkins, and when he’s in foul trouble, the team struggles quite a bit. There’s also the fact the defense has taken a dip despite it being a major offseason focus after a so-so 2012-13. The team wore shirts with “214” during the offseason, their rank last year nationally in field goal percentage defense, to motivate them. Right now, they’re 269th (45.6 percent).

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UW-Boise State men’s hoops postgame thoughts

Larry Nance Jr. said he redeemed himself.

A week ago, he didn’t make the shots UW needed late in its game at Nevada and the Cowboys lost 61-58.

Saturday night, Nance made a short baseline jumper with 1.6 seconds to play to give UW a 52-50 win at Boise State.

Here is the video of that shot and some other highlights from the final possessions.

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UW-Boise State men’s hoops Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Dave Southorn, who covers Boise State men’s basketball for the Idaho Statesman about Saturday’s 7 p.m. game with the University of Wyoming at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho.

Follow on Twitter: @IDS_Southorn

Expectations are high for Boise State based on returning most of its team from one that went to the NCAA Tournament last season. How have they managed those expectations?

One of the things that impressed me over the offseason was that they embraced the expectations, that they wanted to live up to them. Returning 92.4 percent of your scoring certainly helps, too. With that, they knew how hard it was just to simply get an at-large last season, so they know there are things like winning the games they’re expected to, and not going one-and-done at the MW tournament as examples of what needs to be done to perhaps meet those goals.

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