Boise State vs Wyoming: Game Preview

Feb 9,2013; Boise,ID, USA; Boise State Broncos guard Igor Hadziomerovic (12) and guard Jeff Elorriaga (11) fight for the ball with Wyoming Cowboys forward Derek Cooke Jr. (11) during the first half at Taco Bell Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness- - USA TODAY Sports

Boise State (11-4, 1-1 MW) and Wyoming (9-6, 0-2 MW) tip off today at 7 PM at Taco Bell Arena on ESPN3.

WHAT: Boise State, 11-4, 1-1 MW vs. Wyoming , 9-6, 0-2 MW

WHEN: Saturday, January 11, 7:00 PM MT

WHERE: Taco Bell Arena, Boise, ID

TV: ESPN3

WEB SITES: Boise State official; Wyoming official

The Boise State men’s basketball team will take on the Wyoming Cowboys at Taco Bell Arena tonight in what could be a pivotal game for both programs in Mountain West standings. Both are coming off 3-point losses to MW teams on Wednesday: Boise State to #13 San Diego, 69-66, and Wyoming to New Mexico in OT, 72-69. Both also need this game to remain relevant in the conference standings. The Broncos are fighting for a seed at the big dance, and Wyoming is seeking to climb back out of what has been a sudden plunge into the MW cellar.

Boise State head coach Leon Rice has the #2 scoring offense in the conference and comes into the contest averaging 76 points per game. That is thanks to a squad of talented players led by Bronco star Anthony Drmic, 6-6, 196 lbs. Drmic is averaging 19.3 ppg and will lead the charge against Wyoming, along with Broncos standout guard Derrick Marks, 6-3, 206 lbs, who is second on the team in points with an average of 15.8 ppg. Both Drmic and Marks are juniors and are in the top five players in the conference with steals (26 each). Two other playmakers on the Boise the squad have been senior guard Jeff Elorriaga, 6-2, 180 lbs, and who is leading the team with 3-pointers (43), and senior forward Ryan Watkins, 6-9, 229 lbs, who is 5th in the conference in rebounds with a total of 139.

Wyoming might be last in the Mountain West with 68.1 points per game on offense, but they come into Taco Bell Arena as the #2 defense in the Conference, giving up just 61.7 points per game. That puts them right behind San Diego State in that catagory. That is why this game has the potential to be a replay of Boise State’s offensive effort this past Wednesday against the Aztecs. What makes it possible is by the emergence of Wyoming’s junior guard Riley Grabau, 6-2, 175 lbs, as the 6th best scorer in the conference and averaging 19 ppg. Like fine wine, he is improving with age and had his best outing of the season Wednesday by accounted for 24 of Wyoming’s points against New Mexico. Two other Cowboy standouts are Josh Adams, 6-2, 175 lbs, who is putting up an average of 13.5 ppg, and senior Nathan Sobey, 6-3, 185, a guard out of Australia.

But the biggest weapon on the Wyoming team is star Cowboy forward Larry Nance, Jr., 6-8, 225 lbs. He leads the team in field goals made (86), free throws (56), defensive rebounds (113), rebounds (135).steals (21), and blocks (26). New Mexico found out first hand just what damage he can inflict when he accounted for 14 rebounds, 6 blocks, 3 assists, and 2 steals Wednesday. Nance can be a one-man wrecking crew.

So the question comes down as whether Wyoming pull an upset and beat the Broncos in Boise? They can, but the difference will be that while the Broncos are 9-2 at home this season the Cowboys are 0-4 in their away games.

That is one reason why oddsmakers have the Broncos as a 9.5-10 point favorite over the Cowboys in tonight’s matchup.

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