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 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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UW-Boise State Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Brian Murphy, who covers Boise State men’s basketball for the Idaho Statesman, about today’s Wyoming at Boise State men’s basketball game. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.

Question: Boise State lost its third close game to San Diego State dating back to last season on Wednesday night, how do you think the Broncos will respond coming home to play Wyoming?

Answer: The loss at San Diego State was a tough one, no doubt. It was a loose ball 3-pointer that led to their defeat. But Boise State has been able to bounce back well from losses, even close ones, and being back at home should certainly provide a boost.

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