Boise State held off Portland 81-71 Saturday night to improve to 5-4 on the season. With a five-game home stand upcoming, the Broncos look to gather momentum heading into conference play.
Mathup - Loyola Marymount Lions @ Boise State Broncos in Boise, Idaho, 9:00 PM Eastern, Taco Bell Arena
Radio/TV/Stream - Radio: Bronco Radio Network, 670 AM KBOI, Stream: BroncoSports.com
Vegas - Boise State 14.5-pt favorites according to OddsShark
Win/Loss records - Loyola Marymount 5-3, Boise State 5-4
KenPom rankings - Loyola Marymount 256th, Boise State 56th
Head coaches - Boise State: Leon Rice (sixth season with school, 107-67 record, two NCAA tournament appearances)
Loyola Marymount: Mike Dunlap (second season with school, 13-26 record, zero NCAA tournament appearances)
Loyola Marymount and Boise State have met six times prior to Wednesday night's matchup. The current series is led by Boise with a four games to two advantage, with the most recent meeting coming last November. In last year's game, the Broncos outscored LMU 46-34 in the second half en route to an eight point victory. Three current Boise players reached double figures in the contest, with Anthony Drmic and Mikey Thompson tallying 15 points apiece. David Wacker also went 9-10 from the line and gathered five rebounds to boost the Broncos to a 2-0 start to the season.
Projected Starting Lineups
Loyola Marymount Lions
G) Brandon Brown, Jr., 13.6 PPG
F) Steven Haney, So., 9.9 PPG, F) Shamar Johnson, Jr., 5.1 PPG
F) Joshua Spiers, So., 8.0 PPG, F) Adom Jacko, Jr. 14.5 PPG
Boise State Broncos
G) Paris Austin, Fr., 5.2 PPG
G) Mikey Thompson, Sr., 11.0 PPG, G) Anthony Drmic, Sr., 15.1 PPG
F) James Webb III, Jr. 13.0 PPG, F) Nick Duncan, Jr., 12.8 PPG
Boise State center David Wacker has a broken bone in his left foot. His estimated return is unknown.
Loyola Marymount Lions forward Adom Jacko vs. Boise State Broncos forward Nick Duncan
Loyola Marymount is off to a quick start in 2015 thanks to JUCO transfer Adom Jacko. The 6-8 junior forward is currently leading the Lions in points and rebounds per game. Like Boise State, Loyola Marymount does not have tremendous size and instead relies on more athletic and versatile players. Jacko is a great finisher around the rim and can play multiple positions, if needed.
Jacko will match up with Broncos forward Nick Duncan. In last year's game against LMU, Duncan knocked down five three pointers and also added four rebounds for Boise State. This will be one of the few times this season that the junior will face another forward without being undersized. It will be interesting to see if Duncan will approach Jacko differently, as Duncan is accustomed to overcoming a size disadvantage down low.
Duncan and Jacko have already combined for 13 games in double figures this season, and this game shouldn't be any exception. Both of these forwards step up when playing tougher opponents (Jacko had 22 points against Oregon State, Duncan had 19 points against Michigan State) and Boise State and Loyola Marymount will rely on their contributions Wednesday night.
What To Expect
Mike Dunlap and Loyola Marymount are currently in a rebuilding stage. During the offseason, the Lions lost its top scorer from 2014, Evan Payne, who averaged 18 points per game. The departure of Payne (who transferred to Long Beach State) will be a challenge for the LMU to overcome, but Payne did not mesh with the coaching staff and teammates last year, leading to chemistry issues and multiple disputes.
This is the second full season with Dunlap at the helm. After winning only eight games all of last year, the Lions have a chance to match this total before the WCC season begins, starting with a road victory in Taco Bell Arena.
The sub-par defense could be a problem Wednesday for Loyola Marymount because Boise State is one of the better shooting teams in the country. Against division one teams this season, the Lions have allowed 74 points or more in every game. This year's Bronco squad has already eclipsed 100 points three times this season, and should not have many issues attacking this LMU defense that ranks 263rd in the country, according to KenPom.
Expect a lot of points Wednesday night. These are two teams that no problem scoring the basketball but have issues on the defensive side of the court. Whichever team can step up on the defensive end will win this one. With the impressive offensive core of Anthony Drmic, Nick Duncan, James Webb, Lonnie Jackson and others, Loyola Marymount will have its hands full.