BSU and SJSU meet up in Phoenix
Can Boise State’s win streak continue this week?
THE GAME: Boise State vs. San Jose State
Game One Tip: Thursday, 12/31 6:30 PST, Phoenix at Ability 360
Game Two Tip: Saturday, 1/2 5:30 PST, Grand Canyon University
TV: FS1 (Saturday’s Game)
STREAM: Saturday via FuboTV and get a seven-day free trial
SPREAD: Boise by 15 via BetMGM
Before we get into it, yes, this game is in Phoenix. If you’re wondering what Ability 360 is, well, it’s an organization for disabled people to encourage them to continue living their life not focusing on their disability. Ability 360 is an excellent organization and will play and the games in their gymnasium.
Saturday’s game does get to be played in a proper college arena and it will take place at Grand Canyon University.
Here we go! one of the top team in the MW conference is playing the bottom team in the Mountain West.
It has already been a tough week for Jean Prioleau’s team as star guard Seneca Knight opted out for the remainder of the season, leaving a gaping hole on the roster. I wrote a piece on his departure recently, you can check that out if you’d like, but to sum it up, Freshman players will now be called onto duty.
Looking at the Spartans KenPom page isn’t what most would aesthetically pleasing with most of their numbers are in the red (Which means bad.) The three most disconcerting of those are their effective field goal percentage of 36.4%, which ranks 333rd in the country, 27.5% from three ranking 289th in the country, and 33.7% 332nd in the country. The Spartans need to slow down the pace. The Spartans play ridiculously fast, but they don’t make enough shots, so it just creates better opportunities for the opposing team. Caleb Simmons hasn’t played a ton this season but is shooting 6-10 from three this year at 6’6, and he should get more minutes. Freshman Nate Lacewell and Sebastian Mendoza will get more minutes, but the Knight departure kills SJSU’s depth. If SJSU can steal a game from Boise, they need to hit shots consistently. If you make only 33% of your shots, you are not winning many games.
For the Broncos, their lone loss is still against Houston in their season opener. The Broncos’ first series of conference play, they dominated the Lobos of New Mexico by 24 and then 37; Derrick Alston Jr is off to his best season in Boise. Alston has never been a consistent shooter from deep, but this season is 15-28, which equates to 53%, a small sample size, but Alston looks more comfortable than ever. Max Rice has sneakily cemented his name at the top of the pure shooter’s list on the roster, shooting 40% from deep off the bench. One glaring issue for the Broncos has been the lack of scoring from bigs; Mladen Armus has really struggled this season, with 5.0 PPG, and is shooting 36% from the field. Lukas Milner could get more minutes, as he’s shooting 68% from the field; while Armus can defend, he is struggling too much on offense at the moment. With how much SJSU struggles with post defense, Leon Rice’s team can exploit that area.
Devonaire Doutrive is eligible for Boise but still has yet to play, and it hasn’t been announced if that will change.
Seneca Knight, as previously mentioned, has left the team. And this will be the first game without him.
Keys to the game:
San Jose State needs to find a way to make shots. When you shoot 33% as a team, it’s nearly impossible to win unless you have an elite defense, which SJSU does not have. They are in a real danger zone and have to figure it out quickly.
How does Boise distribute the big-men minutes? Armus is struggling on offense. Does that mean we see more small lineups potentially? Or Lukas Milner more? There are several options.
Boise needs to make sure they don’t take a game lightly. Despite SJSU having one win this season and zero against D1 opponents, you can drop a game to an inferior team if you don’t play to your full effort.
Players to watch:
Boise State: Lukas Milner
San Jose State: Nate Lacewell
Game one prediction:
Boise State 86, San Jose State 63
Game two prediction
Boise State 90, San Jose State, 65