Boise State has split its first eight conference games but the Broncos have yet to win a game away from home during league play. Meanwhile, Fresno State has just two wins through their first eight Mountain West contests. Can the Bulldogs bounce back with a win at home against Boise State on Saturday night?
Broncos complete epic comeback in OT vs. Utah StateBoise State snapped a two-game slide on Saturday with a hard-fought 88-83 overtime win against the Utah State Aggies. RayJ Dennis and Derrick Alston scored 19 points apiece while Justinian Jussup added 12 points for the Broncos, who overcame an 18-point deficit with 3:52 remaining to force the extra session.
Leon Rice’s squad comes into the weekend ranked No. 113 in the latest KenPom rankings after getting back to the .500-mark in conference play. The Broncos have scored 106.1 points per 100 possessions for the season (83rd in the NCAA) but that number has dropped to 104.5 points per 100 possessions during league play (6th in the Mountain West). They’ve turned the ball over 17.8 percent of their offensive possessions during conference play (8th in the Mountain West) but they’ve managed to make up for it by sporting an effective field goal percentage of 51.7 percent (9th in the Mountain West). Boise State has shot a healthy 52.0 percent (5th in the Mountain West), 34.2 percent from deep (4th in the Mountain West), and 78.5 percent from the charity stripe as a team (2nd in the Mountain West) during conference play, and they get to the line at a healthy 39.3 percent clip (3rd in the Mountain West).
Getting stops on the defensive end has been an entirely different challenge for the Broncos, especially during conference play. They have held opponents to just 100.7 points per 100 possessions for the season (146th in the NCAA) but that number has come up to 106.3 points per 100 possessions against league opponents (7th in the Mountain West). Mountain West opponents have shot a red-hot 55.2 percent from inside the arc (10th in the Mountain West) against the Broncos’ defense.
Bulldogs fall on the road despite 23 from GrimesFresno State lost for the third time in four games on Wednesday night, falling 86-68 on the road against Colorado State. Nate Grimes scored 23 points and Noah Blackwell chipped in 11 points for the Bulldogs, who were unable to get enough stops to stay competitive on the night. Colorado State shot a red-hot 54.0 percent from the field and 9-for-18 from 3-point range on the night to send the Bulldogs to just 2-6 in league play.
Justin Hutson’s second season in Fresno, California has been a near disaster. After guiding the Bulldogs to a 23-9 record a year ago, including a 13-5 mark in conference play, Hutson’s squad enters the weekend ranked No. 137 in the latest KenPom rankings after winning just six of their first 19 games. Fresno State has scored 104.6 points per 100 possessions for the season (120th in the NCAA) but only 99.9 points per 100 possessions during conference play (8th in the Mountain West). Through eight league contests, the Bulldogs own an effective field goal percentage of 45.9 percent (10th in the Mountain West). They’ve shot just 45.5 percent from inside the arc (9th in the Mountain West) and 30.9 percent from long-range during that span (9th in the Mountain West). Instead, the Bulldogs have been forced to make up points by crashing the offensive glass, where they have hauled in an impressive 30.1 percent of their missed field goal attempts in league play (2nd in the Mountain West).
On defense, Fresno State has given up 101.9 points per 100 possessions (165th in the NCAA) but that number has increased to 105.2 points per 100 possessions versus Mountain West opponents).