Boise State Broncos
Western Athletic Conference (25-8, 12-4)
Big Wins: 12/29 BYU (73-70), 2/14 Nevada (77-68), 3/14 vs Utah State (88-78)
Bad Losses: 11/16 at Montana State (84-86), 12/8 Loyola Marymount (74-76), 2/9 at New Mexico State (80-99)
Last NCAA Appearance: 1994, First Round loss to Louisville
Coach: Greg Graham (First NCAA appearance)
Anthony Thomas, Sophomore, Guard, 8.6 ppg, 4.2 apg
Matt Bauscher, Senior, Guard, 9.4 ppg, 3.2 apg, 3.5 rpg
Tyler Tiedeman, Senior, Forward 14.0 ppg, 3.1 apg, 3.4 rpg
Reggie Larry, Senior, Forward, 19.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.1 bpg
Matt Nelson, Senior, Forward, 15.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.1 apg
Jamar Greene, Junior, Guard, 3.4 ppg, 1.5 apg
Paul Noonan, Freshman, Forward, 4.9 ppg, 1.3 rpg
Mark Sanchez, Junior, Forward, 3.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg
Kurt Cunningham, Sophomore, Center, 2.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
Only one team in the nation has a better team field-goal percentage than Boise State. The Broncos shoot 51.0 percent from the floor and that is in large part due to Reggie Larry and Matt Nelson. Larry, a 6-6 forward, does not just dink and dunk around the basket. The senior can get to the basket with ease, but he also has some nice range on his shot and will knock down a three-pointer or two just about every game. Larry, who averages 19.6 points per game, makes this team tick and he will use his great athletic ability to grab 9.3 rebounds per contest. He is also a decent passer, defender and shot blocker. If Coach Greg Graham needs his team to do something, Larry can do it.
As nice as Larry’s 53.8 shooting percentage may be, it pales in comparison to Matt Nelson. The 6-9 forward will stay under the basket, but he ranks third in the nation with a 65.0 percent field-goal rate. That is some efficient offense under the basket. Small forward Tyler Tiedeman keeps the percentage up despite taking nearly five long balls per game. He hits 49.4 percent of his long range attempts and 52.9 percent overall. At 6-7, Tiedeman even does his part on the glass despite hanging around the perimeter most of the time.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Boise State’s zone defense invites the opponent to shoot the jump shot. Sometimes that works if the opponent’s shot is not falling, but the other team will certainly get their looks from outside. The Broncos opponents shoot 43.7 percent from the floor, which is just about in the middle of the national rankings. Something that usually happens with a team that likes to operate in the zone is a lack of rebounding. However, thanks to Larry and Nelson, BSU will usually out-rebound the competition. The other large concern is the overall free-throw shooting. Larry and Nelson get to the charity stripe a lot more than anybody else on the team and they both shoot under 65 percent.
Who To Watch:
Anthony Thomas and Matt Bauscher do a great job handling the ball and keeping the turnovers under control. Thomas is the better shooter and scorer of the two, but it is Thomas who usually has the ball in his hands when the game is on the line and averages a team high 4.2 assists per game. As long as those two can keep the game under control and Basucher can join Tiedeman as a long range threat, Boise State will put up a lot of points.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 81.0 (12th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 74.5 (287, 9)
Field-Goal Percentage: 51.0 (2, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.7 (166, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.9 (58, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.0 (25, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.9 (269, 7)
Rebound Margin: 2.3 (102, 5)
Assists Per Game: 17.8 (10, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.6 (248, 7)
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