WHEN: Thursday, March 13, 2014, 9:30 PM MT
WHERE: Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV
TV: CBS Sports Network
RADIO: KUUB 94.5 FM and KPLY 630 AM in the Reno area; KFXD 630 AM and KBOI 670 AM in the Boise area
The 3rd seeded Nevada Wolf Pack (15-16, 10-8 MW) will make their debut in the Mountain West Tournament tonight. Their last game was a win over UNLV on March 8th giving Nevada five days to rest and get ready for their matchup against the Boise State Broncos (20-12, 9-9 MW).
The 6th seeded Broncos rolled past San Jose State Wednesday night in a first-round Mountain West Tournament game. The 83-52 victory moved the Broncos into a quarterfinal showdown against rival Nevada. In their last meeting on March 5th the Wolf Pack defeated the Broncos 83-81 in double overtime in Boise in a game that left the teams tied at 1-1 this season in MW play.
Nevada's path to victory: The Wolf Pack can’t afford to come into this game cocky just because they defeated the Broncos in an away game battle less than two weeks ago followed by another huge win last Saturday that gave them a seasonal sweep over the Running Rebels. Tournament play is a whole new animal with an intensity all its own. If Nevada wants to chalk up another win over the Broncos they will need to bring their A-game. The Wolf Pack's last two wins were so close they could have gone either way. The 2-point win over the Broncos came in the 2nd OT, and it took a last minute jumper to pull out the win over UNLV and overcoming a 17-point deficit. But to their credit senior Deonte Burton has been monster on the team in those games, with a lot of help from starters Cole Huff, Jerry Evans, Jr., and Michael Perez. One ace in the hole Nevada might use tonight is sophomore Marqueze Coleman. He has been solid coming in off the bench lately. In the last game at Boise State he accounted for 12 points, 2 rebounds and a steal.
Boise State’s path to victory: The starters need to stay focused and come out strong against the Wolf Pack with the same intensity they showed last night against the Spartans. They have already learned the painful lessons resulting from slow starts and trailing their foes at the end of the first half of play. Last night Derrick Marks led the Broncos in points and once again Ryan Watkins played hard and scored big with another impressive game. Broncos will also need for top scorer Anthony Drmic to keep getting healthier and get back in it. Two notable players who have been coming in off the bench and making a difference in recent games are Igor Hadziomerovic and Thomas Bropleh. If they play as well tonight as they did last night this game could send the Broncos into the semi-finals.
The Wolf Pack-Broncos matchup is considered a tossup in many quarters, especially following the near-total dominance of the Spartans by Boise State. But I'm siding with the Vegas bookies on this one and stick my neck out again. The Broncos will win this contest by 5.
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