Boise State Wyoming Series Preview
Boise State wants to keep the win streak rolling against Wyoming
Big conference matchup set to roll off in Laramie.
The series: Boise State Broncos head to Laramie to face Wyoming.
Game One: Monday, January 11th 6:00 PST
TV: CBS Sports Network
Game two: Wednesday, January 11th 6:00 PST
TV: CBS Sports Network
SPREAD: Boise State an eight-point favorite via KenPom
Boise State heads out on their first true road series of conference play in Laramie against an up-and-coming Wyoming team.
Leon Rice’s Broncos are 6-0 in conference play sweeping three consecutive series’ convincingly. The Broncos in conference play have been a well-oiled machine on offense, scoring on average 86.1 PPG in the six games, with a high of 106 against San Jose State.
The Broncos super senior, Derrick Alston Jr, is in the midst of a career season in Boise, posting 17.8 PPG, but has vastly improved his efficiency numbers across the board. You can tell how hard Alston worked to improve his game this off-season, and now he looks like an NBA caliber talent. Also worth noting, Emmanuel Akot missed the 2nd game against Air Force last week. Akot’s status for this series is unknown at this time.
The Broncos shooting early in the season was substandard, but dating back to the BYU game, Boise State’s shooting numbers have skyrocketed all the way to 36.5% on the season. The jump in the shooting was headed by Alston Jr, Max Rice, and Marcus Shaver, I questioned Boise State’s real chances of winning the conference due to the shooting problems, but that has subsided. Mladen Armus‘s issues finishing at the basket still flare their ugly head. However, Armus did make a few good finishes against Air Force, keep the confidence-building because Armus making easy buckets is needed. Wyoming shows rebounding ineptitude at times, which could make Armus ultra-valuable in this series.
Devonaire Doutrive made his long-awaited Boise State debut in the Air Force series, and Doutrive didn’t play many minutes, but the talent is so obvious, in whatever role Doutrive plays, he can be a gamechanger.
Year one of the Jeff Linder era is off to a far better start than many had imagined for Wyoming. The Cowboys are 7-2, although that record may be misleading. The Cowboys do have a ton of talent, but the 7-2 record isn’t indicative of how the Cowboys have played at times, losing at home to Texas Southern, and while Texas Southern is the SWAC favorites, you need to win that game.
Then Wyoming was losing by a sizeable margin to Incarnate Word, ranked 346th in KenPom, but ended up winning in OT. That isn’t to say Wyoming is a bad team, they aren’t, but there’s a more sizeable margin between them and some of the other middling teams in the conference than the record would indicate.
Neither Williams nor Maldanado are shooting the ball at a sufficient clip from deep, but their craftiness and creation ability allow them to score from two-point-range with ease. The shooters on the roster are Drake Jeffries, Kenny Foster, and big-man Hunter Thompson. Those three are your floor stretchers. Thompson almost exclusively shoots the ball from-three, which makes him limited for someone playing the five, as he’s not going to back you down. The ability to stretch-the-floor for Thompson could pose problems for Armus since Armus is a rim-protector.
The problems for the Cowboys have shown to be on the defensive end. Wyoming ranks 278th in KenPom’s defensive efficiency ranking, mostly due to bigs dominating inside and drawing fouls. For reference, in all of their games this season, forwards have gone off against Wyoming. Against Mississippi Valley State, Kam’Ron Cunningham posted 27 points, John Walker for TX Southern had 16 points.
Dearon Tucker for Oregon State with 16, Denver’s Frank Ryder with 12, UVU’s Fardaws Aimaq with 27, Omaha’s Wanjang Tut with 26, and Fresno’s Orlando Robinson had two massive games. That means we could see big games from Mladen Armus and Abu Kigab. Wyoming needs to figure out a formula to stop opposing bigs.
The Cowboys will need to use their stars, Williams & Maldonado, to try to defeat Boise State, and hurt the Broncos tournament chances.
Keys to the series:
The Broncos need to play inside until Wyoming proves the ability to stop it.
Based on how the season has gone for the Cowboys, their offense needs to be nearly impeccable for them to knock off a Boise State team.
Boise State: Mladen Armus, Center
Wyoming: Hunter Thompson, Center
Game one prediction:
Boise State 88, Wyoming 76
Game two prediction:
Boise State, 92, Wyoming, 83