Boise State vs. South Dakota State: Preview
Reigning Mountain West and Summit League regular season champions meet on Wednesday night.
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Leon Rice’s Broncos face challenge in season opener, welcoming South Dakota State to ExtraMile Arena
WHO: Boise State (0-0, 0-0 in the MWC) vs. South Dakota State (0-1, 0-0 in the MWC)
WHEN: Wednesday, November 9th, 7:00 PM MT, 8:00 PM CT
WHERE: ExtraMile Arena, Boise, ID
STREAM: Mountain West Network
Line: KenPom, The Broncos are favored by 7 Points
SERIES RECORD: First ever meeting
Players to Watch:
G/F Tyson Degenhart-Boise State
Tyson Degenhart enters his sophomore season in Boise, ready to help lead a new look Broncos squad. Leon Rice and his staff have built a program that puts an emphasis on player development. You could name a long list of past Broncos who arrived in Boise unheralded recruits and left professionals. The results speak for themselves, most recently former walk-on turned all-league caliber player Derrick Alston. Who helped build a foundation at Boise State that turned the Broncos into top-five Mountain West Contenders.
Next up is Degenhart, the reigning Mountain West Freshman of the Year and Leon Rice’s next star. The 6-7 Spokane, WA native is a floor-stretcher and the energy director for the Broncos. He’s capable of morphing into one of the best players in the conference this season.
G Zeke Mayo – South Dakota State
Like Boise State, South Dakota State has earned quite the reputation for developing talent as well. Maybe most notably in recent years being Mike Daum, a 6-10 forward, who’s a top five scorer in program history under TJ Otzelberger. Last year, Baylor Scheierman developed into Summit league player of the year and now passes the torch to Zeke Mayo, a sophomore from Lawrence, Kansas. Mayo struggled in the season-opening loss at Akron, but the Broncos can’t expect the same to happen again.
Keys to the Game
For Boise State: Minimize SDSU’s 3-point shooting, Maximize their own 3-point shooting & Stay out of foul trouble
South Dakota State isn’t a high-volume shooting team but Mayo, Charlie Easley and Alex Arians are above-average shooters who won’t hesitate when the opportunity to fire presents itself. The inside-out game works wonders for Eric Henderson, dumping the ball to Matt Dentlinger and William Kyle III down low then hitting shooters outside.
For South Dakota State: Find and take quality shots, attack the paint & limit turnovers.
Boise State is adept at forcing teams to make ill-advised decisions. South Dakota State has to stay poised and not make poor decision, which typically isn’t an issue for the Jacks. Attacking the paint is key, as Dentlinger and Kyle III outscored the rest of the roster against Akron on Monday and the front-court of Boise State leaves something to be desired. It’s important to see if Lukas Milner and Mo Sylla can limit the paint attack from South Dakota State.
Prediction: Boise State 72, South Dakota State 65
Let’s stick with that KenPom predicted win of seven points. The Broncos are at home, but the Jack Rabbits are no slouch for a season opener. If coach Rice’s squad can stick to their keys of the game and pressure South Dakota State on the perimeter and down low, they should secure the win.
Larry Muniz covers college basketball as a writer for Mountain West Wire and WAC Hoops Digest. Also as a co-host of the college basketball podcast “Hoops Talk W/Jay & Larry”. He is also a USWBA Member.