MWC Tournament 2014, Boise State vs. San Jose State: Broncos Need Title to Return to NCAAs

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Boise State's fallen short of last year's lofty standards, but can still get back to the NCAA Tournament if they win the MWC Championship in Las Vegas this week.

No. 6-seed Boise State (19-12, 9-9 MWC) vs. No. 11-seed San Jose State (7-23, 1-17)

WHEN: Wednesday, March 12, 7 p.m. PDT

WHERE: Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nev.

TV: The game can be found online as part of the Mountain West Network

RADIO: A radio account of the game can be streamed on TheMWC.com. The Boise State broadcast can be heard locally on KBOI 970 AM. The San Jose State broadcast can be heard locally on KSJS 90.5 FM.

SEASON SERIES: The Broncos and Spartans only faced off once this season, a resounding 76-55 home victory for Boise State on January 25.

With just five days until Selection Sunday, you'll be hearing plenty about this year's NCAA Tournament this week. Unfortunately for the Mountain West, however, the mystery around at-large berths has already passed. Both San Diego State and New Mexico have already solidified their places in the field, so any other berths will be courtesy of an upset champ in the conference tournament.

What to Watch - Boise State: Boise State has fallen short of its ceiling all season long. And after starting 8-0 on the year, they're just 11-12 since. With no one on the team over 6'9", they've been dominated on the boards and just as bad, have failed to really distribute the ball much on offense either (averaging just 11.8 assists per game). Most importantly for this game and any others they'll be playing in the Mountain West Conference Tournament will be alleviating at least one of those issues and getting Ryan Watkins some help under the basket. As the only player averaging more than five rebounds per game, he can't do it all by himself and will be targeted early should the Broncos continue such a one-dimensional approach.

What to Watch - San Jose State: The Spartans have the size to hang with Boise under the rim, but can they score enough points to stay in this game? It's been the big issue for San Jose State all year, and promises to be once again on Wednesday night. Overall, this is a very poor shooting team, with just one regular rotation player hitting more than 41 percent from the floor. If they can find a way to exceed their 62.9 points per game average, there's a shot they can pull this one out. But based on the season's results -- just one conference win -- it doesn't appear likely.

***

Boise State handled San Jose State well enough back in January, but things have changed significantly since then. After sputtering to the finish (losing three of four), can the Broncos find a way to return to form and put away the Spartans early? It's a long tourney, and they'll need to make short work of San Jose State if they have any hope of getting themselves to the conference title game. If they can rebound, there's a chance. But otherwise, could be a slog of a night for Boise as they try to advance.

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