It’s Tourney season!
Here’s how the Broncos could win the tourney
The Mountain West tournament became infinately more important in the last week following three consecutive losses, one being a devastating Q4 loss to Fresno State, in a game that didn’t have to be played.
After a rough stretch, Boise tries to get off the struggle bus following three consecutive losses.
A trend worth noticing is Boise State is only 1-4 in games where Boise doesn’t score over 70 points in the contest. The sweet-spot points wise seems to be in the mid-70’s range.
Derrick Alston Jr, being Derrick Alston Jr
It’s possible Alston earns the MW Player of the year award, following a tremendous final ride in Boise. Alston scored 17.5 PPG while sporting vastly improved efficiency numbers, notably from beyond-the-arc, shooting a career-best 38% from three. In the final two games of the season, in losses to SDSU & Fresno State, Alston scored a total of 19 points on 6-28 shooting overall, with a troubling 2-17 from three.
Obviously in a season, there’s ebbs & flows, but this is a less than ideal time to be struggling. Had Alston not went 4-16 facing Fresno, odds are they win the game. He’s not flat-out the reason they lost the game, but it matters.
If Boise State can get the auto-bid, their star player performing is a major part of that equation.
Three Point Shooting:
Boise State is a subpar 24 for 85 during that three-game losing streak, equating to a 28% number. That is a tall task to win the conference tournament without consistently shooting from deep, to somewhere near their 34% clip for the season.
That of course starts with Alston, Marcus Shaver & Max Rice being the consistent shooters, but if the sub-30% shooter on the season, Emmanuel Akot & Abu Kigab show the ability to knock three’s down, it would be significant. Don’t forget about the impact of Devonaire Doutrive, He’s not a very high-usage guy, but is supremely talented.
Consistency from the big’s:
Leon Rice doesn’t have the most big-man depth in his arsenal, but Mladen Armus performing at a consistent level will be significant, but it isn’t only Armus. If Armus gets into foul-trouble, which for any player that plays the five/being on the block for most of the game could happen.
Armus is steady inside. After struggling for the first few months of the season, the turn around has been noticeable when watching the Broncos. Facing Warren Washington of Nevada in the first round makes for an interesting matchup with Washington’s efficient scoring inside.
If Armus gets in foul-trouble, an opportunity opens for Lukas Milner, a guy that’s seldom played this season. In only averaging 7 minutes-per-game, Milner’s chances to prove himself have been few & far between, but has proven to be a reliable defender.
Abu Kigab turning around a rough stretch:
Kigab is versatile especially on the defensive end, but when he gets it rolling on the offensive end, things become much easier for Boise State.
During that three-game losing streak that I’ve mentioned many times throughout the piece, Kigab only scored 13 total points in those three games. For a guy averaging 11.9 PPG, to score 13 points in three games, encapsulates the struggles Boise’s endured in the finishing stretch of the season.
Kigab’s ability to score from the paint, especially creating shots from the mid-range is vital to Boise State’s success.
Also, Kigab is likely to earn honors on the 2nd or 3rd All-Mountain West team following a big season.
There’s a lot Boise State has to do in order win multiple games in a short time frame, but I see these four things being vital if they can win the MW tournament, not putting their NCAA Tournament fate in the hands of a selection committee.
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