Air Force vs. Boise State: Game Preview
The Broncos welcome Air Force to ExtraMile Arena Tuesday night with hopes of conference standing ascension.
Boise State looks to avenge seven-point loss to Air Force last month with their home court advantage as added element.
WHO: Air Force Falcons (9-15, 3-9 Mountain West) At Boise State Broncos (16-9, 8-5 Mountain West)
WHEN: Wednesday, February 11th—8:00 PM PST/7:00 PM MST/9:00 PM EST
WHERE: ExtraMile Arena, Boise, ID
TV: AT&T Sports Network
STREAM: Get a free trial through FuboTV
SERIES RECORD: Boise State leads all-time series 12-6
After suffering a seven-point loss to the Falcons a little under a month ago in Clune Arena the Broncos are looking to improve their 11-1 record at home, reach second place (no matter who else is there with them) and get some revenge on Tuesday night in ExtraMile Arena. Boise State like everyone situated in 2nd-5th place in the conference at the moment is looking for a win tonight. Aside from the juggernaut season San Diego State is currently having everyone else has been handing out losses and taking them right back.
Boise State is in a current three-way tie for third place with Colorado State and Utah State (who face off tonight in another important match up to keep an eye on). And the race for a top seed in the conference tournament will take a couple of turns tonight as the winner of the Rams vs. Aggies matchup dictates a lot. If Colorado State wins they keep sole possession of second place and give Boise State sole possession of third (for now). But an Aggie win creates a two-way tie for second place, knocking the Rams to third place just ahead of Nevada.
Air Force is playing for a better seed in the conference tournament at this point with the hopes of making a deep tournament run to make the big dance. The Falcons are currently sitting in two-way tie for seventh place with the Spartans of San Jose State.
Air Force has been exactly the sort of team we usually expect them to be each year and have dished out some upsets and challenged teams at times this season. But in true Air Force fashion has also struggled at times with scoring consistency and defense (refer to their Feb. 4th box score against Nevada for further explanation). But when they’re knocking down shots they are one of the most dangerous teams in the Mountain West (refer to their Jan. 7th box score against Utah State for further explanation).
Lavelle Scottie has played well for the Falcons as of late (15.8 PPG and 6.0 RPG in his last five games). And the possible emergence of junior guard Christopher Joyce who had 23 points against San Diego State on Saturday on 5/8 shooting from deep may be just what this Air Force team needs to break a six game losing streak. Which began after their win over the Broncos last month, and what a better way to break it than with a regular season sweep of Boise State in the process.
The Broncos have had a bit of trouble getting solid production from leading scorer Derrick Alston Jr. of late, as the 6-9 guard averaged 4.5 PPG, 1.5 APG and 2.0 RPG in two games last week. Justinian Jessup has stepped in up his absence along with fellow senior guard Alex Hobbs with big performances in a win over Wyoming on Tuesday night and a tough loss on the road against Utah State on Saturday. It’s been hard to predict a leading scorer for the Broncos recently, with five different players taking that honor over their last ten games. But Leon Rice’s crew were just enjoying a five game winning streak just last Tuesday and could use a win before they host San Diego State this Sunday at home for what could be the Aztec’s first loss of the season.
Aside the fact both schools are only about three and half hours away from each other by plane, these two squads have only met on the court eighteen times in their short history. A twenty year gap between their first matchup on Dec. 27th, 1991 and their next one on Jan. 14th, 2012 in Boise State’s inaugural season in the Mountain West conference.
The last time these two met back on Jan. 15th of this year, Ryan Swan scored 17 points scoring his 1000th career point in the process, becoming the 27th Falcon to do so.
Matchup of the night: Down Low
F RJ Williams Boise State vs. F Ryan Swan Air Force
Both are coming off of some of their worst performances of the season against San Diego State and Utah State respectfully, but both should have an impact in tonight’s Mountain West presentation of the NBA’s “small ball”. Both struggled against bigger opponents last week but both stand at 6-7 with Swan winning the weight portion of the contest and Williams winning for best motor.
Williams is at his best when he’s down low getting second chance boards and receiving assists from driving teammates. Swan gets his buckets when he’s knocking down mid-range jumpers or getting to the line, look for him to drive against a smaller Bronco frontcourt tonight.
Prediction: Boise State 80, Air force 70
This one will come down to how hot the Falcons can get tonight on the road and whether or not the Broncos can get hotter. The home record speaks for itself, and the Broncos are as dangerous as anyone in the conference when playing in ExtraMile Arena where they have averaged 84.5 PPG over the twelve games played their this season.