In their finals season as a member of the Mountain West Conference, the Boise State Broncos try to leave one lasting impression on the MWC, and that impression would be to try and win more than 3 conference wins. Boise State has made it clear that it's prowess is on the gridiron, though there is hope for this Broncos Basketball team. 7 of Boise State's top 9 scorers return including the starting 5 and 6th man. Getting to the .500 mark will be an arduous task, though with a fairly manageable nonconference schedule, entering the conference season with 9 or 10 wins wil get the Broncos on the right track
Coach: Leon Rice (3rd year)
Key Returnees: Anthony Drmic SF: 12 PPG-5 RPG-2.1 APG-1.1 SPG
Derrick Marks SG: 9.4 PPG-2.1 RPG
Kenny Buckner C: 8.4 PPG-4.6 RPG
Thomas Bropleh SF: 7 PPG-3.4 RPG
Ryan Watkins PF: 6.8 PPH-4 RPG
Jeff Elorriaga PG: 6 PPG-1.8 APG
Igor Hadziomerovic SG: 4.9 PPG-1.5 APG
Westly Perryman G: 4.8 PPG-3.2 RPG
Drew Wiley G: 5.8 PPG-2.5 RPG
Projected Starting 5:
PG Jeff Elorriaga
SG Derrick Marks
SF Anthony Drmic
PF Ryan Watkins
C Kenny Buckner
Team Overview: Leon Rice is in his 3rd year at the helm of the Boise State Broncos and had a solid first year with the Broncos going 22-13 with a trip to the CBI: then came his 2nd year. The transition from the WAC to the MWC was a bumpy one for Rice as his team performed poorly and went 13-17 with only 3 conference wins. Hopefully his resume will even out and Rice can get his team on the winning track and be competitive in the MWC, at least for one year, then have to make another transition to the Big West in 2013. All five starters from last year return including top scorer SF Anthony Drmic. As long as this experienced group can win atleast 8 wins in the nonconference season, it will get them on the winning road.
Key Opponents: @ Michigan State, @ Creighton, @ Utah, VS LSU
Michigan State Spartans: Tom Izzo's Spartans teams never disappoint: ever. Sparty is on a 15 NCAA Tournament appearance streak and won't be frightened by the Boise State Broncos; they even beat them in football this year! Even last year Izzo's team came into the season unranked and finished the season a 1 seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. MSU are without their star SF Draymond Green (16.2 PPG-10.6 RPG) this season, but will replace him with the talent still there. Last year's Sparty team possessed a threatening frontcourt, and this year's team is no different. PG Keith Appling (11.4 PPG-3.9 APG) leads the team in scoring coming into the 2012-13 season and is joined by SF Branden Dawson (8.4 PPG-4.5 RPG), C Derrick Nix (8.1 PPG-3.8 RPG), and PF Adreian Payne (7 PPG-4.2 RPG). MSU picked up frosh SG Gary Harris, who will likely join the starting 5 for another powerful Sparty team.
Creighton Bluejays: The Creighton Bluejays, or better known as Doug McDermott, will be a tough opponent for the Broncos, especially as it is a road game. The Blue jays welcome back PF Gregory Echenique (9.7 PPG-7.3 RPG), PG Grant Gibbs (7 PPG-5 APG) and SF Ethan Wragge (6.6 PPG-2.2 RPG). The real star of the show is the big man who almost won the POY, SF Doug McDermott. McDermott lead his team last year in PPG and RPG (22.9-8.2) and will likely enter the season a candidate for the POY, once again. McDermott is the anchor for this team and is the face of Creighton Basketball, really the only thing he doesn't' do is drive the Bluejay's bus to games and do their laundry, otherwise he dominates on the hardwood.
Utah Utes: The past 3 years Utah has not been as competitive as they have been in years past. The Utes went 13-19 in conference play in their last 2 years in the MWC, then had a great start in their first in the Pac 12 by going 3-15 in conference play. The Utes haven't made it the big dance since 2009 and are in a state of dissary as on 1 of 6 top scorers return this season, that being C Jason Washburn (11.4 PPG-6.2 RPG-1.4 BPG). Head Coach Larry Krystkowiak has a tough road ahead of him getting back to the NCAA Tournament, but bring in much needed talent in the form of freshmen and transfers. PG Glen Dean (1.3 PPG-4.2 APG) tranfers from Eastern Washington, SG Aaron Dotson (6.8 PPG-2.7 RPG) begin his first year of play after transferring from LSU a year ago, SG Jarred DuBois (10.01 PPG-2.6 RPG) tranfers from Loyola Marymount, and Freshmen SF Jordan Lovedrige will most likely join Washburn and the three transfers to make up the starting 5.
LSU Tigers: The LSU Tigers welcome newly instated Head Coach Johnny Jones, who had previously served at UNT as their head coach for 11 years, to Baton Rouge. The tigers weren't a very impressive team last year as they only went 18-14 with no NCAA Tournament post season. The Tigers did have some surprising wins last year against then No. 10 Marquette and No. 23 Mississippi State. The Tigers return only 3 starters from a year ago in PG Anthony Hickey (8.9 PPG-3.8 APG), SG Andre Stringer (10.1 PPG-2.7 APG), and PF Johnny O' Bryant III (8.5 PPG-6.7 RPG). The last time Boise State and LSU met was last year and that score was a win for the Tigers at a score of 64-45. The outcome may be different this year as the Tigers have to take their weakened team to a raucous Boise State team, that may upset them.
The Rest: VS Texas Southern, VS Oakland, VS Louisiana-Lafayette, VS UC Santa Barbara, @ Seattle, VS New Orleans, VS Corban, @ Texas-Arlington, VS Walla Walla.
Non-Conference Schedule Prediction: 11-2 (Losses @ Creighton and @ Michigan State)
The Broncos may not have been far too impressive last year, but with all of their returning talent and a favorable home schedule the Broncos may charge out of the MWC basement and finish in the latter half by surprising Utah and LSU and wielding an 11-2 mark before conference play.