DATE: Thursday; Dec. 22, 2011
TIME: 6:30 p.m. (MT)
LOCATION: Iowa City, Iowa / Carver-Hawkeye Arena (15,500)
RADIO: Bronco Sports Network / BroncoSports.com
THE GAME: The Boise State men’s basketball team travels to play Iowa of the Big Ten Conference Thursday (Dec. 22), the first meeting all-time between the two schools.
The Broncos (9-3) and Hawkeyes (7-5) are slated to tip at 6:30 p.m. (MT) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa, and the game can be seen live at BTN.com (Big Ten Network $15 Monthly Subscription required).
RADIO INFORMATION: Boise State’s game will be broadcast live on the Bronco Sports Network. The broadcast will also be streamed live at BroncoSports.com (Requires Bronco Vision subscription, $4.95 for Monthly Audio Only Subscription).
Play-by-Play: Chris King
VERSUS THE BIG TEN: Boise State has lost each of its four games played against teams currently in the Big Ten Conference.
THE MAGIC THRESHOLD: Boise State is 9-0 this season when scoring 70-or-more points, and 26-5 when eclipsing 70 points under second-year head coach Leon Rice. The Broncos were 17-5 last season when scoring 70-plus.
HOLDING COURT: The Broncos have won 15-consecutive home games, tied for the 13th-longest streak in the nation (through Dec. 19). Boise State has won its first nine home games of 2011-12, the longest streak since the team went 13-0 during the 1997-98 season. The Broncos will not play another home game until opening conference play against Air Force, Jan. 14, 2012.
Everyone seems to have diagnosed Boise State with a condition known as "road woes." Sure, BSU has lost by an average of 15 points in their three road contests this season but these were against decent squads. Long Beach State was somewhat fresh off a win over #9 Pitt and an OT loss to San Diego State. Since their game against Boise, LBSU has dropped 8 and 6 point decisions to #13 Kansas and #6 UNC respectively, LSU downed #10 Marquette on Monday (giving the Golden Eagles their first loss of the season), and Denver continues to beat mid majors like Southern Miss, Utah State, St. Marys, and Wyoming in similar fashion to their drubbing of Boise State. I have yet to buy into the fact that we can't win on the road just because of those three games. We have a lot of new faces but most of these faces are already conditioned to road games (Drmic, Buckner, Wiley). We really only have one "true" freshmen in Derrick Marks and he's had some decent games on the road, Derrick scored in double digits at LSU and Denver. If we're going to buck this trend and dispel this myth that Boise State is terrible on the road it starts Thursday night against Iowa.
With that said, I have one factor that may be at play at Iowa City: Anthony Drmic. Drmic came down during the final minutes of the Fresno State game on his foot and was expressing a lot of pain. He was charged a personal foul and one of the teams took a timeout. Drmic went to the locker room and didn't return. While I saw the injury, was worried, and noticed him missing I completely forgot about the injury in the excitement of the closing minutes. Brian Murphy reported yesterday that Drmic, BSU's leading scorer (averaging 14 PPG) sustained an ankle sprain and is questionable for Iowa. He is set to travel to the game but whether he plays is another story. To be honest, I don't know if this really crushes BSU's bid to win their first road game. A part of me hopes they take it easy on Drmic with the Idaho game a week and a half away and if they do I think someone else will step up. At LSU Drmic was held to zero points, Derrick Marks stepped up. Lets hope someone is ready to step up in Drmic's shoes. Drew Wiley could be that man.
Iowa isn't the most muscular team in the Big Ten, picked to finish 10th (remember, the Big Ten has 12 members) in the Big Ten preseason media poll. They've returned six of their top seven scorers from last season however they're one of the shortest teams in the conference. While they have a 6-10 Center in Gabriel Olaseni and two 6-9 Forwards in Andrew Brommer and Devon Archie (who had 1,000 bobbleheads of himself passed out on Monday, want to see what cool promotions look like? Check out Iowa's http://www.hawkeyesports.com/tickets/iowa-tickets-m-baskbl.html), none of the three were starters in their game monday. BSU matches up pretty well paper. Iowa is #178 in current RPI rankings while BSU is at #131
Fran McCaffery is in his second season as head coach at Iowa and has seen the Broncos before, in fact he's beaten the Broncos twice while coaching at Siena in the 06-07 and 07-08 season. Both BSU losses to Fran's Siena squads were 20+ point decisions. It'll be interesting to see Coach Rice vs. Coach McCaffery. McCaffery has been to the NCAA Tourney 5 times and the NIT once and before Siena was an Assistant Coach at Notre Dame.
Don't expect McCaffery to show up unprepared to battle Boise. "When you schedule games in the non-conference, you’re going to schedule certain teams that you think you can beat, and you’re going to schedule certain teams that are going to challenge you differently," McCaffery said. "I don’t think there’s any doubt in our minds that we felt Boise was in that category. It’s a team that everybody’s heard of. They’ve got athletes, they’ve got pieces, they’ve had success."
He didn’t mention that Boise State has lost all three road games by double digits, he just wanted his team focused on Boise State stating that he thinks Iowa understands this team is one of the best teams on their schedule right now. "We’re going to prepare for Boise State and not overlook Boise State because Boise State’s a really good team," Iowa sophomore Devyn Marble said. "They beat Drake by 44, and Drake’s a really good team. You can’t overlook any opponent." I don't know if these guys have really bought into that or maybe we just don't realize exactly how good of a game BSU played against Drake but Iowa is definitely saying the right things.
Iowa also plays tough at home, they've won 78 of their 110 games (76%) in Carver-Hawkeye Arena (15,500 Capacity) over the last 8 seasons.
It's hard to read into common opponents but it's fun and gives you approximate expectations.
Northern Illinois - Advantage Iowa
BSU at HOME 71 - NIU 57
IOWA at HOME 88 - NIU 55
The only opponents to put up more than 80 points on NIU have been Iowa and Purdue (96-34). I feel bad for NIU, that Purdue game was their season opener and they are still winless (0-11)...
Drake - Advantage BSU
BSU at HOME 108 - Drake 64
Iowa at HOME 82 - Drake 68
In direct common opponent comparison it's a push, lets get a little crazy though.
Iowa lost to Iowa State last month 86-76 (tough year for Iowa v. Iowa State eh?), Iowa State lost at Drake 74-65 in their second game of the season. BSU destroyed Drake at home a couple weeks later. BSU>Drake>Iowa State>Iowa. Ok, I normally don't believe arguments like this in football and most certainly don't believe them in basketball but like I said, it's fun to find common opponents and games and this does not guarantee that BSU should win this game.
We often talk about big money games in football (Nebraska paying dUI $1 Million but not willing to pay us the same to visit Lincoln City) but Boise State basketball has never really shown up in that big payout market. Well this game might be the first of many. Iowa is set to pay $85,000 guaranteed for BSU to visit them in Iowa City, the most they've payed any of the teams being brought to Iowa City this season. I think we're smart to be taking these games and bulking up the coffers. I just hope we can continue scheduling home and homes with big programs like we're doing with LSU.
Fortunately this game start an hour and a half before the Vegas Bowl. If we're being creamed you can tune into the Vegas bowl and forget about it. If we pull it out you'll be able to enjoy two big Bronco victories within a few hours of each other. Lets hope all goes well in Iowa and start getting ready for Idaho on New Years Eve! GO BRONCOS