Top-half teams clash as Nevada hosts Boise State

Top-half teams clash as Nevada hosts Boise State

Boise State

Top-half teams clash as Nevada hosts Boise State

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Nevada vs. Boise State: Game Preview, TV, Radio, Live Stream, Odds, More


Wolf Pack looking to stay undefeated in MW play


Contact/Follow @andrewdieckhoff & @MWCwire

High-powered offenses come head-to-head in the Biggest Little City in the World

GAME DETAILS

WHO: Boise State (10-5, 2-1 MWC) at Nevada (9-5, 2-0 MWC)

WHEN: Saturday, January 4 — 4:00 P.M. MT / 3:00 P.M. PT

WHERE: Lawlor Events Center, Reno, NV

WATCH: CBS Sports Network

LISTEN: TuneIn

ALL-TIME: Nevada leads the series, 47-27

ODDS: Nevada -4, per KenPom

GAME NOTES

Two of the top teams in the Mountain West come together on Saturday when Nevada hosts Boise State as the second week of league play continues.

The Wolf Pack are one of three teams that remain undefeated in MWC play, along with San Diego State and UNLV. Steve Alford is off to a good start in Reno, and the team is coming off a win over Colorado State on Wednesday.

The victory moved the Pack to 2-0 in league play, but Saturday presents their toughest conference test to date.

Nevada doesn’t have a great shot at getting an NCAA Tournament bid, but if they turn in a top-3 performance in the Mountain West, those odds will improve. Boise State will also be competing for that spot.

The Broncos have been on a tear of late, as well, winning their past four games. Their most recent victory came on Wednesday when they beat Wyoming.

But Boise State will have to shake their travel woes in order to keep from falling to 2-2 in league play. The Broncos are just 1-3 in true road games this season, with their only win coming against Pacific after three overtimes.

Nevada, meanwhile, hasn’t lost in its past 13 Mountain West home games. That has to bode well.

GAME PLAN

On THE WOLF PACK’S POSSESSIONS…

As always, Alford will lean on his high-scoring guard trio of Jalen Harris, Jazz Johnson, and Lindsey Drew. Nisre Zouzoua’s offensive play has also earned him a very long look. This team likes to launch threes and they have been well-rewarded for their boldness, hitting nearly 38% of their shots from downtown. They won’t try to go to the rim too much with their bigs, but Harris is particularly skilled at scoring inside.

Nevada is very careful with the ball and Boise State doesn’t force many turnovers, so don’t expect the Wolf Pack to cough up possessions. But offensive rebounding continues to be a problem for the team. The team’s reliance on three-pointers leads to fewer free throws than the average team shoots, and the Broncos are a disciplined team in terms of fouling.

If Nevada wins the offensive battle, it will be because they are hitting from beyond the arc. If they struggle there, they could have serious issues keeping up with the Broncos.

ON THE BRONCOS’ POSSESSIONS…

Derrick Alston has looked great this season, but the game against Wyoming was about as bad as it gets for him. He shot 1-for-10 from the field and scored a season-low four points. That said, this was an aberration. Alston should be able to carry this offense against Nevada’s defense. But even if he can’t, Justinian Jessup and Abu Kigab appear to be up to the task of providing the scoring punch.

Like Nevada, the Broncos like to shoot threes, but they go inside much more often. Unfortunately, they don’t gather up offensive rebounds very well, outside of RJ Williams. They make up for a lack of second chances by making good use of their first chance. Boise State doesn’t turn the ball over very often, ranking among the 25 best schools in the country in this department. And if that wasn’t enough, Nevada is one of the worst in the country at forcing turnovers.

In order to keep up with a high-powered Nevada offense, Boise State needs Alston to get untracked so that they are firing at full bore.

GAME PREDICTION

Nevada 83, Boise State 79

This game has all the makings of an entertaining battle. Two offenses that can score in bunches. Two defenses that won’t fall on their face, but won’t slow things down too much, either. Ultimately, the biggest difference between the two is that Nevada is playing at home.

Andrew is a current USBWA member, covering college basketball for multiple outlets, including Mountain West Wire of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Busting Brackets of the FanSided Network. He also runs the Dieckhoff Power Index, a college basketball analytics system, and provides bracketology predictions throughout the season.

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