It has been a month since Boise State last played on the road. The Broncos will play its first away game of the conference season against Utah State Tuesday.
Matchup - Boise State Broncos @ Utah State Aggies in Logan, Utah, 10:00 PM Eastern, Dee Glen Smith Spectrum
Radio/TV/Stream - Radio: Online audio stream on BroncoSports.com, TV: CBS Sports Network
Vegas - Boise State 1-point favorite according to OddsShark
Win/Loss Records - Boise State 10-4 (1-0 MW), Utah State 9-4 (1-1 MW)
KenPom Rankings - Boise State 92nd, Utah State 147th
Although Boise State is riding a seven-game winning streak, Leon Rice's team has yet to prove they can perform outside of Taco Bell Arena. Boise is undefeated at home this season, with an average winning margin of 20.75 points, but all four losses have come on the road. Boise State stumbled at Montana in the opener, couldn't finish against Arizona in Tucson, and lost two of three games at the Wooden Legacy before finally winning a true road game in Portland in early December. Boise's trip to the Spectrum is yet another obstacle.
"We know how hard it's going to be and we expect nothing less," Broncos head coach Leon Rice explained to Idaho Statesman.
Boise State has struggled mightily in Logan, but was finally able to break through last February with a 68-63 victory. History does not favor the Broncos in this series. Last February's win ended Utah State's 18-game demolition of Boise State in the Spectrum. The Aggies also own a commanding 30-10 lead in the all-time series.
Tuesday night expects to be another challenge for Boise State. First year head coach Tim Duryea's team does not excel in any one statistical category, but has the pieces to put together a nice season.
Utah State's starting lineup is loaded with experience with two seniors and three juniors. 6-8 forward Jalen Moore leads the team in scoring with 13.9 points per game. Guard Chris Smith is not far behind with 13.3 points a night and forward Lew Evans adds 10.2 points and leads the team in rebounding.
The pace of the game might dictate the outcome Tuesday night. Utah State is more comfortable to settle down into the halfcourt offense (282nd in tempo according to KenPom) and Boise State will push the ball whenever possible. In the last few games, the Broncos (James Webb especially) have turned up the defensive pressure in hopes to create turnovers and run the fast break offense. If Utah State starts to turn the ball over in the halfcourt set and Boise State increases the tempo, the Aggies might be forced out of their comfort zone.
Unfortunately for the Broncos, however, Utah State commits the 28th fewest fouls in the country. This could be concerning for Boise State. Fouls and free throws completely derailed the Broncos in the season opening loss to Montana, and although there has been improvement, it is still a lingering issue. If James Webb, Anthony Drmic, or Nick Duncan pick up fouls in the early going and have to be benched, the Aggies will have the advantage.
Prediction: Boise State 65, Utah State 64