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: @IDS_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: @IDS_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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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 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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