Boise State Center Ryan Watkins
Last two games starting big men for opposing teams have averaged 21
points and 18 rebounds against the Wolf Pack. That's incredibly bad. A
horrible defensive two game stretch for Nevada centers A.J. West, Ali
Fall, and Ronnie Stevens. What is crazy about that stat is that Nevada
has won both of those games. Both games went down to the wire but the
Wolf Pack still prevailed. Ryan Watkins was one of the bigs that
contributed to those above stats, as he recorded 27 points on 9 of 12
shooting and 9 of 11 from the free throw line along with 14 rebounds.
He attacked West using his superior 6-9 242lbs body to get easy shots
at the basket. Nevada must limit Watkins, a second team all conference
player, during this match up. Doubling in the post may be the way to go
for coach David Carter or even a zone.
Boise State Guard Derrick Marks
I'm going to be frank. Deciding between Marks and fellow Bronco guard
Anthony Drmic was a challenge. Both are extremely important to the
Boise State team. Both are capable three-point shooters who can also
get to the rim. In all honesty, Nevada will need to limit them both to
have a good chance to win on Thursday. I picked Marks because he played
well against the lowly Spartans in their first round 83-52 win, and
often one player, when hot, can spark a team to a hot run in March.
Marks shot 5-9 from the field and 7-9 from the free throw line. A
repeat performance could mean trouble for the Wolf Pack.
Nevada Forward Cole Huff
Deonte Burton is the best player on the Wolf Pack roster. A J West is
arguably the next most important player. But no player has been playing
better ball as of late than Huff. Without the lanky 6-9 sophomore this
Nevada team would likely not be the third seed. His progression
throughout the year has been incredible. He has developed into the best
shooter on the team, a reliable rebounder, and the team's legitimate
second option. In the team's last game against UNLV, Huff scored 22
points on 9-14 shooting with 7 rebounds. While 20+ point games are
somewhat outliers, you can almost pencil him in for roughly 14 points a
game. Nevada needs a second scorer and option like Huff. Burton can
carry a team in one game, but to get past Boise and advance further
into the conference tournament than just one game, Huff will need to
step up and prove he can be the star of the program after Burton's
departure. Considering the fact that two games ago Huff only had 5
points against the Broncos is reason to worry for Wolf Pack fans, but
that performance is out of the norm. If Huff and Burton can both score
20+ points Nevada will be tough to beat.
This game is the best second round matchup of the tournament. The teams
spilt two highly contested games in the regular season with both wins
coming for the road team. Nevada has been better on the road this
season, while Boise State has been better at home so on a neutral court
I give David Carter and the Wolf Pack the slight advantage.
Nevada 77 Boise State 73
Keegan Bosier can be reached via Twitter. Follow @NVKeegs
Around the Rim: MWCT #3 Nevada vs #6 Boise St
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