Around the Rim: Boise St at Nevada Preview

Returning to action at home Tuesday against the Boise State Broncos, the Nevada Wolf Pack try to continue their early conference dominance. Here we take a look at three key players to watch during the game.

Boise State Guard Anthony Drmic
The Broncos leading scorer at 19.3 points per game is the most important player night in night out for Boise State. Drmic is a dynamic scorer who can score in a variety of ways. His three point shooting is down from 39% last year to 32% this year, but his shot must still be respected. Getting to the rim is also a key to Drmic's game, as he shoots just above six free throws a game. In Boise State's four guard attack, Drmic is without a doubt the player Nevada must key in on, therefore senior Jerry Evans Jr. will draw the defensive assignment. Evans, who has been on a bit of a shooting drought lately (shooting less than 27% from the field in three of the last four games) has still been affecting the game in a positive way by shutting down the opposing teams best player. Can he do that again Tuesday? Drmic versus Evans will be a key matchup.

Nevada Forward Cole Huff
Is Huff the best player on the Nevada team? No. Is Huff a key player against the Broncos? Yes. First, lets talk about defense. Going up against Boise State's four guard offense will be a challenge for the 6-8 Huff. Rather than battle in the low post against players usually bigger than him, Huff will instead be chasing guards around screens and back cuts. Huff will likely draw the assignment on 6-2 guard Jeff Elorriaga, who is hitting over 50% of his shots from behind the three-point line. If Elorriaga can run bigger defenders like Huff through screens, it might force the Wolf Pack to go to smaller lineups. But on offense Huff should have an offense rebounding and low post advantage. The question is, will he capitalize on this height advantage. Typically Huff is a three point shooting big that can and has been extremely effective lately (16 points on 4-7 shooting from 3 against Utah State), but against the Broncos, Nevada might want to look for some Huff post ups. Whether with his shooting, rebounding, or defense, Huff will have a large impact, positive or negative, on this game.

Nevada Guard Deonte Burton
Burton could be featured every game for Around the Rim. He is that important to the Wolf Pack. But we have come to expect greatness every week from the senior guard. So this week why has he been included? For a few reasons. One, Boise State plays a four-guard lineup with only one big man, usually Ryan Watkins, on the floor at a time. This will open up driving lanes for Burton, who loves to use his body and get to the rim. Without two big men on the floor for the Broncos, this should be significantly easier for Burton. Secondly Burton will be going up against two guards who where also named to the preseason All-MW team in Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks Jr. This will be nothing but motivation for Burton who will be out to prove he is the best guard of the bunch. Finally, Burton knows he is playing for his legacy at Nevada. Regardless of the outcome this year for the team, Burton will go down as one of the best players to have donned a Nevada jersey. But he has never been to an NCAA tournament and this is his final chance. While an at large bid to the tournament is out of the question barring a 16-2 run in conference, setting the team up for success in the Mountain West tourney should be a big goal for the Wolf Pack and Burton. And the only way to do that is to keep winning. And Burton will need a 20+ point scoring output to get a win versus the Broncos.

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