Boise State vs. Fresno State Preview

Boise State vs. Fresno State Preview

Boise State

Boise State vs. Fresno State Preview


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Boise State Broncos (12-1, 8-0) Fresno State Bulldogs (5-5, 3-5)

The Broncos aim to stay unbeaten in conference play.

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The smoldering Broncos have a date with Fresno State.



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RADIO: Boise State | Fresno State



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The Broncos are on a complete tear right now, on an 11 game win streak. Boise has won by double-figures in all but two of their wins this season and looks to be the Mountain West’s top team. The Broncos offense is clicking on all cylinders right now; Derrick Alston is a contender for conference player of the year; mostly with his shooting improvements, Alston went from 33% from three last season to 37% this season.

The future of Boise’s program, Devonaire Doutrive, in the two games against Wyoming, scored 21 in the first game and 17 in the second game. Doutrive is now fully engrained into the Boise rotation and makes Leon Rice’s teams far scarier; having a player like Doutrive is dangerous. 

Another positive sign from the Wyoming game was the production from Mladen Armus. The big-man went 10-12 from-the-floor, with 12 points in the first one and 10 in the second game. Armus was struggling to finish at the basket much of the season, but the Wyoming series was a big momentum shifter. Armus’s hands will be full against Fresno, with their star 7-footer, Orlando Robinson.

We could also see some Abu Kigab on Robinson, with the significant strides Kigab’s made as a defender; according to sportsref, Kigab’s defensive box-plus-minus (dBPM) went from 0.3 last season to 3.6 this season. Not only does it show in the stats, but you can also see it while watching the game; Kigab’s ability to guard 1-5 makes him ultra-valuable. The elite defense pieced with the offensive improvements from Kigab has made the senior one of the main reasons Boise is positioned where it is. 

Another fun nugget is how fundamentally sound the team is; need an example? The Broncos only turn it over 15% of the time (21st best in the nation) and have an effective field goal percentage of 54.8%. When you take and make good shots and don’t turn the ball over, your offense will continue clicking. 

Fresno State is a polar opposite team from Boise. The Bulldogs turn the rock over 21% of-the-time, along with shooting 29.4% from three, and worst of all, 63.4% from the line. The simple things like not turning the ball over, and making free-throws can really make-or-break a team, and they are breaking Fresno. Orlando Robinson, Deon Stroud, and Isaiah Hill make up a majority of the scoring for Justin Hutson’s team, being the only two players in double figures in scoring this season.

Robinson is such a tough player to stop, a 7-foot strong lefty that induces a lot of contacts, sending him to the foul line seven times per game. Robinson is averaging 17.7 PPG in 2020-21 while shooting 52% from-the-field. For Fresno to be successful in this series, Robinson will need to put the Bulldogs on his back. It’s a tall task to beat Boise either way, but it’ll be insurmountable if Robinson doesn’t perform.

The Bulldogs are 5-5 this season and didn’t play a single D1 opponent during the out of conference portion. Due to a COVID pause, the options were limited, so Justin Hutson scheduled William Jessup on opening night, then after a 3-week-wait, the Bulldogs played Fresno Pacific on December 19th before opening conference play against Wyoming. The Bulldogs are 3-5 in conference play, coming off a series getting dominated in Reno against Nevada. 

Keys to the series:

Fresno State’s shooting needs to improve to have a chance to beat Boise. I see Fresno needing 12 or so threes on relatively solid efficiency to be in the game with Boise.

The Broncos could try to force someone except Orlando Robinson to beat them. Look for doubles on the 7-footer from Fresno State to get a lot of attention, and force guys like Dean Stroud, Isaiah Hill, and Jordan Campbell to beat you. 


Fresno State: Deon Stroud

Boise State: Devonaire Doutrive

Game one prediction:

Boise State: 79, Fresno State: 63

Game two prediction:

Boise State: 84, Fresno State: 65



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