Boise State vs. Nevada: Game Preview
Ascension in the conference standings is up for grabs on Saturday.
Both teams need a win to help break the four-way tie for third place.
WHO: Boise State Broncos (14-8, 6-4 Mountain West) At Nevada Wolf Pack (13-9, 6-4 Mountain West)
WHEN: Saturday, February 1st—10:00 PM EST/8:00 PM MST/7:00 PM PST
WHERE: ExtraMile Arena-Boise, ID
STREAM: Get a free trial through FuboTV
SERIES RECORD: Nevada leads all-time series 48-27
PREVIEW: There is a lot on the line come Saturday night around the Mountain West as really places 2-10 will look very different come Sunday morning. There has been a certain level of parity around the league so far this season, as outside of San Diego State’s claim to the number one spot everyone else could finish literally anywhere this season.
Four example there is a four-way tie for third place that includes the two teams mentioned in this preview, along with Colorado State and Utah State. But whoever comes away with the loss Saturday night will get bumped out of the race for third and join some other weird tie after that. Then there is UNLV who is riding a two-game losing streak and looking for a win on the road Saturday night against Colorado State. So if UNLV happens to lose that game they will loose that second place positioning and be behind another possible three-way tie. But a win for the Rebel’s means a loss for the Rams who would then join in a two-way tie with the loser of the Boise State-Nevada game and possibly a three-way tie if New Mexico breaks their losing streak on the road against Fresno State. Not to mention the possibility of a four-way tie for fourth if Utah State loses to the Aztecs (which is highly likely), or the possibility that everyone who is currently tied for third place loses except for the one person winning in Boise, which would result in a sole third-place finish for (insert winner from Bronco-Wolf Pack game here).
Confused yet? Yeah, I am too.
Point being, there is a lot at stake around the Mountain West over the weekend and these longtime conference mates should make things interesting for fans in ExtraMile Arena.
Both teams are playing some of their best basketball of the season at the onset of February with Boise State riding a three-game winning streak beating teams by an average of 22.3 points a game. While Nevada beat in-state rivals UNLV at home last Wednesday by 14-points, tied a school record 17 threes against New Mexico and is averaging 91 points a game in their last three contests.
And while both teams have struggled on the road this season they have in turn enjoyed great success at home, with Nevada posting a 9-2 record at the Lawlor Events Center and with Boise State garnering a 10-1 record at Taco B…..oops ExtraMile Arena. This bit of information doesn’t really favor the Wolf Pack as the visiting team but nothing gives a team momentum like a high powered road win late in the year.
The players to watch in this one should be the leading scorers of each team as Derrick Alston Jr. and Jalen Harris should both see all-conference accolades at the end of the season. But don’t leave the supporting cast out as Lindsey Drew has overtaken Harris as the leading rebounder (6.3 a game) and assist man (4.4 a game) while rounding out his triple-threat stat sheet status leading the team in steals with 1.3 a game. And for the Broncos watch out for Justinian Jessup who is chasing the all-time Mountain West three-point field goal leader Jimmer Fredette with 294 career triples, just two shy of Fredette’s 296 and on the verge of reaching the 300th made triple mark (first in conference history)
In the search for an all-time winning total for this series I discovered a shared conference between the two teams dating back to the late 1970’s with the introduction of the Wolf Pack to the Big Sky for the 1979-1980 season after their exit from the West Coast Athletic Conference (Now the WCC).
Shared conferences between the Broncos and Wolf Pack over the years:
Big Sky: 1979-1992
Big West: 1996-2000
Mountain West: 2012-Current
Prediction: Nevada 78, Boise State 74
The Wolf Pack won the last meeting they had with Boise State back at home in Reno on Jan. 4th, where with the help of 34 points from a red hot Jazz Johnson Nevada won 83-66. This is going to come down which team has the hotter hand, as each team has a big four scoring for them as of late (Wolf Pack-Harris, Johnson, Drew and Zouzoua vs. Broncos-Alston Jr., Jessup, Williams and Kigab) and should exchange baskets all night. Or a surprise element would be a stronger defensive performance as both teams have really just focused on outscoring their opponents as of late and an influx of turnovers could be the difference. I still think this one will be a close one and keep that 78-74 Wolf Pack win above as my prediction. The Wolf Pack have also won the last eight meetings between the two and would hate to break that streak in need of a win tonight.