Mountain West action here as the Boise State Broncos host the Utah State Aggies. Utah State enters this one at 14-5, although they have lost three of their past four. Boise State on the other hand sits at 11-8. Oddsmakers have this one as virtually even, so it should be a tight one. It'll be televised nationally by ESPNU.
Utah State Slipping RecentlyUtah State is coming off a very successful campaign. They made it to March Madness as an 8-seed, although they did lose to Washington in the Round of 64. Everybody expected them to be quite good once again, as they entered this season ranked 17th in the AP poll. They got off to a hot start, winning each of their first seven games. Since then things haven't been quite as smooth, as they are just 7-5. They have also lost three of their past four games entering this one. The wheels are threatening to come off, as each of those three recent losses came by at least nine points and two were by at least 17 points.
In their most recent loss, they fell to a very mediocre Air Force team by 19. Even some of their wins have been concerning, and they haven't been a great team at covering numbers. They are just 2-9 against the spread in their last 11 overall. They're also just 7-20 against the spread in their last 27 road games, so they could have trouble with the environment here. They don't have very good spacing on offense, and outside of senior guard Sam Merrill, they don't have any shooters. Merrill is connecting on 39.2 percent of his attempts from downtown, but nobody else who plays real minutes is hitting at a rate better than 35 percent. Their only road win this season came against a San Jose State team that was 4-27 last year.
Boise State Up And DownBoise State is coming off a pretty bad year, which was an aberration for them. After notching at least 20 wins in six straight seasons they collapsed, going just 13-20 last year. They're definitely better than they were last year, but it's unclear just how good they're going to be. They've been up and down for the most part, and enter this one at 11-8. Almost all of their losses have been to good teams, so I can't hold them against them. They always play much better at home, and seven of their eight losses haven't been at home. Not surprisingly, they are a stellar 7-2 against the spread in their last nine home games.
The offense has been pretty solid, and they have four different guys averaging at least 12 points per game. Junior forward Abu Kigab missed the first ten games of the season, and his return provided them with a huge boost. He's averaging 14 points per game since returning, and their offense is a lot better with him in the fold. This team is absolutely loaded with experience, and each of their top seven scorers are upperclassmen. That's going to come in handy late in the season for sure. The defense has been middling, but the unit plays a lot better in front of their home crowd. Junior wing Derrick Alston is averaging 19.5 points per game, and that climbs to 22.1 at home.
- 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games overall
- 7-20 ATS in their last 27 road games
Trends, courtesy of Covers.com: Broncos are:
- 7-2 ATS in their last 9 home games
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up loss