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Boise State vs. Portland basketball preview: Pilots look to defend home court

Mikey Thompson and Boise State aim to take down the Portland Pilots in the City of Roses.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos are fresh off its third 100-point game of the season and look to carry Wednesday's momentum to Portland.

Game Info

Matchup - Boise State Broncos @ Portland Pilots in Portland, Oregon, 10:00 PM Eastern, Chiles Center
Radio/TV/Stream - Radio: Bronco Radio Network, 670 AM KBOI, TV: none, Video Stream: TheW.tv, Audio Stream: BroncoSports.com
Vegas - Boise State 6.5-pt favorites according to OddsShark
Win/Loss records - Boise State 4-4, Portland 4-4
KenPom rankings - Boise State 62nd, Portland 193rd
Head Coaches - Boise State: Leon Rice (sixth season with school, 106-67 record, two NCAA appearances)
Portland: Eric Reveno (tenth season with school, 132-162 record, zero NCAA appearances)

History

Boise State and Portland have met 14 times and the all-time series is tied with seven wins for both schools. The Broncos last faced the Pilots in December of 2011. Anthony Drmic, playing in his ninth career game for Boise State, started for BSU and scored 17 points as the Broncos won by 22. Drmic was the only player who appeared in the 2011 game who will play Saturday night for the Broncos.

Projected Starting Lineups

Boise State Broncos

G) Paris Austin, Sr., 5.9 PPG
G) Mikey Thompson, Sr., 10.6 PPG, G) Anthony Drmic, Sr., 13.9 PPG
F) James Webb III, Jr., 14.0 PPG, F) Nick Duncan, Jr., 12.4 PPG

Portland Pilots

G) Alec Wintering, Jr., 13.0 PPG, G) Bryce Pressley, Sr., 12.6 PPG
G) Jason Todd, So., 8.8 PPG, G) Jarrel Marshall, Jr. 9.7 PPG
F) Gabe Taylor, So., 7.9 PPG

Injury Status

Boise State's Anthony Drmic started Wednesday night against Willamette but played only 14 minutes. It appears that Drmic is still hobbled by a knee injury and Leon Rice wants to limit the guard's workload when possible.

Broncos center David Wacker did not make the trip to Portland due to a sprained foot.

Portland is healthy and every player logged playing time in the win over Portland State on Tuesday night.

Key Matchup

Boise State guards Paris Austin and Mikey Thompson vs. Portland guard Alec Wintering

Leon Rice mixed up the starting lineup Wednesday night against Willamette, replacing Chandler Hutchison with Paris Austin. This lineup change was most likely made by Rice to create a spark for the Broncos who lost two of three at the Wooden Legacy. With Austin's strong performance on Wednesday, expect Thompson and Austin to play over 20 minutes apiece against Portland.

Alec Wintering, the 5-11 junior guard, is the floor leader for the Pilots. Wintering had a career night last time out with 26 points and four assists in 35 minutes. Wintering is the top scorer for Portland averaging 13 points per game. He's also not afraid to launch it from deep, nailing 15 three pointers in the last three games.

Portland is one of top three point shooting teams in the country. Coming into the game against Boise State, the Pilots currently rank fifth nationally in three pointers made per game. Defending Portland starts with Alec Wintering. If Boise State can hold Wintering from filling it up from deep, the Broncos should feel confident about its chances.

What to Expect

Boise State will be playing its final road game of the non-conference season Saturday night. The Broncos are currently 0-2 in true road games this season, and 1-4 if neutral site games are included. Portland isn't one of the top teams that Boise State will play in 2015, but the Pilots have a very impressive shooting attack that could cause problems for Boise.

The Broncos currently rank 107th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom ratings. This number must significantly improve if Boise State wants to make a tournament run this season. On nights when Anthony Drmic (3-21 in the last three games) or James Webb struggle from the field, the defense needs to keep BSU in the game.

Boise State is a comfortable favorite, but if its defense does not show up, the Broncos could be in serious trouble of dropping to 4-5 on the season.