Today, I was lucky enough to speak with Jesse Baker, who covers Boise State for OBNUG.com, a site on SBNation.com. Jesse is a graduate of Boise State and was nice enough to provide us with some great insight to the Broncos.
Describe Boise State as a team.
Young and talented. In all honestly, this year has come as a surprise. I think most fans and pundits knew Boise State was going to be a very good basketball team… next year. They are a year ahead of schedule. Coach Leon Rice comes from the Dan Fitzgerald/Dan Monson/Mark Few lineage, so there are similarities between Gonzaga’s offense and Boise State’s minus the post-to-post passing. He is a good recruiter and an all-around excellent coach.
If there was one player that La Salle fans should watch out for, who is it?
Anthony Drmic led the MWC in scoring during league play. Derrick Marks put up 33 points against Colorado State… in the second half. The most important player, however, is Jeff Elorriaga. He truly is the glue guy for the team. I never really thought Boise State was on the bubble because three of their losses came with Elorriaga out of the lineup due to injury. Without him on the floor, the team looks completely different. He is a three-point specialist, hitting 10 3′s in a game earlier in the year (albeit against a non-D1 opponent).
What kind of style does Boise State play? Uptempo?
Boise State likes to play fast, but not crazy fast. They won’t fast break you to death, nor will they press/trap that often. They rely on disciplined half court execution on both ends of the court.
Is it safe to say this is a younger team?
They are definitely young in years, but two major contributors, Anthony Drmic and Igor Hadziomerovic (<-- spelled that correctly on the first try), have ample experience with the Australian youth national teams. The youth shows at times near the end of games
Does Boise State play mostly guards?
Absolutely… Four Guards almost always on the floor. In the MWC Quarterfinals, they even went with five guards for the stretch run in an eventual loss. With news that Steve Zack will be out for the Explorers, I expect to see that lineup again.
In their wins, what has Boise State done that is most effective?
Pretty standard stuff: They’ve limited turnovers and got shooters uncontested shots. Another biggie was to rebound effectively even though they play with a smaller lineup. For instance, in the two games against Colorado State this year, Boise State was murdered on the boards in the loss and were even in the win. Colorado led the nation in rebounding margin.
In their losses what has Boise State done or not done to be effective?
Losses seem to come from becoming stagnant on offense. Derrick Marks is a talented offensive player who relies more on penetration and mid-range jumpers than the three-point shot. With that comes a lot of watching while Marks handles the ball. When this happens, Boise State becomes painful to watch. When the offense is flowing with quick passes and back cuts, it’s a basketball purist’s dream.
Describe the Boise State basketball fans?
Boise State Basketball fans are… learning. We used to be heavy hoops addicts but the football team’s success stole the show for the last decade. The good news is the fans have come back to the basketball team in droves this year. I don’t know if we’ll have that big of a contingent in Dayton, but Bronco Nation will be watching intently from all over the world.