Matchup: Boise State (16-4, 7-0) vs. Fresno State (14-5, 4-2)
When: Friday, Jan. 28 at 8:00 p.m. PT
Where: Save Mart Center in Fresno, Ca.
TV/Online: Fox Sports 1 || foxsports.com
Money line: Boise State -110, Fresno State -110
Death, taxes and Mountain West basketball at 8 p.m. on a Friday night. The three guarantees in life and thankfully we have the last one to forget about the previous two.
Background to nosh on
First on the menu is Boise State.
Boise State is a freight train from hell and in light of recent events pegged as the top dog in the Mountain West. Their nail biting 13th straight win against Wyoming on Wednesday ties a school record and off to just their third 7-0 start to league play in program history.
They’re filling out seats in ExtraMile Arena and could be producing some major anarchy come March Madness. Something about Boise State in primetime spots.
Following the win to Wyoming their success shouldn’t continue to be unrecognized by the AP polls. They are currently unranked, but that all could change now that Davidson lost to VCU. With a win against Fresno State they have a good case as anybody to be ranked within the top 25.
Their ascent has involved many variables. Abu Kigab leads the team in scoring with 13 while having five guys averaging between nine and 13 points per game. During the win streak they have had five different guys lead the team in scoring on that particular night.
Mladen Armus’ nine rebounds a night is the only individual stat that pops out which exemplifies the beauty of the Broncos.
They are a great team defensively, ranked ninth overall in the nation in defensive efficiency, but game in and game out have found a way to win. Their last five games have been decided by an average of five points. If a tsunami is coming their way Abu Kigab would grab a surfboard and ride through the episodic waves.
Next item to nosh on is Fresno State.
The Bulldogs couldn’t be any more different in scheme and tactics than the Broncos. Boise State is a collective ensemble like G-Unit or Dipset while Fresno State is a solo act like Cher led by Orlando Robinson.
If you put the “are you not entertained” ruthlessness of Maximilian in Gladiator and limbs/dexterity of Mister Fantastic in Fantastic Four in a blender you get Orlando Robinson.
His 19.2 points per game and 8.6 rebounds are both good to lead the Bulldogs by a substantial margin. Going up against this Broncos team will be an excellent litmus to see just how dominant he is.
Fresno State’s Anthony Holland is a crucial part of the team as well and has been phenomenal in games against the Mountain West.
In Fresno State’s recent win against UNLV he had a career high 25 points and knows how to play the second in command role well.
Betting picks to feast on
The spread for this matchup has been dead even. Interesting to see the game being ruled as a coin flip considering the hot streak Boise State has been on. All good things must come to an end. If it happened to the Fast and Furious franchise (act like the movies aren’t awful for the sake of metaphor) it could happen to the Broncos.
*Lee Corso Voice* “Not so fast my friend!”
I am rolling with the Broncos to win and set a school record 14 game winning streak. This defense has been too incredible and with the way Fresno State plays on offense they will be able to pin their ears back and make life miserable for the Bulldogs.
When they faced off against Fresno State earlier this season they held them to a stout 55 points and forced Bulldogs to go 22 percent from three and shooters not named Orlando Robinson or Isaiah Hill to go 0/10. Grain of salt kind of game because Holland didn’t play. Now that he’s playing it will change things I’d be moronic to completely dismiss that. The two of them have incredible chemistry and the Bulldogs look tremendous when the two are locked in.
There’s something to be said for betting on a team that’s on a historic hot streak. It’s easy to get locked in the moment and caught up with record books. I’ve been known to make judgements based on the hype videos the team posts with Spielberg-esque transitions and edits.
These are all very sick, but the Broncos have a kinetic energy working for them right now where everyone knows their role and executes it.
There’s also a fight and grit that’s tough to bet against.
You can’t coach the grit into a player for them to risk the future of their lower extremities for a win. Performances that take an incredible amount of grinding out is what got them here.
In order to string an incredible win streak together there needs to be an insane buy in from everyone on the team and that’s what the Broncos have right now.
Boise State moneyline. Time to ride the Bronco.