Spartans Face-off Against Boise State Next

The song remains the same. Boise State fans are either focused on football or expect their men's basketball program to emulate the football program. The latter is never going to happen but that won't stop the carping.

Heading into Thursday's game against San Jose State (8-7, 1-2 WAC), Boise State Coach Greg Graham's team is currently 0-4 in the WAC (2-5 on the road for the season), with three rather close contests and including matchups at Fresno State, hosting New Mexico State and welcoming Louisiana Tech. Only Nevada is missing from this Murderer's Row, plus Utah State should probably be included too.

Regardless, the Broncos (9-8, 0-4 WAC) need a win, period. For confidence, for momentum. To drown out the noise.

The BSU Schedule To Date
Nov 13 Loyola Marymount @ Missoula, MT 90 - 87 (W)
Nov 14 Montana @ Missoula, MT 82 - 95 (L)
Nov 15 North Dakota @ Missoula, MT 75 - 60 (W)
Nov 21 @ Wyoming 61 - 87 (L)
Nov 24 @ Eastern Washington 82 - 69 (W)
Nov 28 North Texas 79 - 73 (W)
Dec 05 @ Illinois 77 - 84 (L)
Dec 09 @ Idaho State 79 - 67 (W)
Dec 12 San Diego 56 - 59 (L)
Dec 19 Houston Baptist 96 - 59 (W)
Dec 21 Portland State 69 - 62 (W)
Dec 23 Montana State 58 - 56 (W)
Dec 29 Northwest Nazarene 76 - 58 (W)
Jan 02 @ Fresno State 68 - 71 (L)
Jan 04 @ Hawai'i 68 - 76 (L)
Jan 09 New Mexico State 85 - 88 (L)
Jan 11 Louisiana Tech 64 - 79 (L)

The Bronco Starting Five

6-foot-9 Kurt Cunningham - still a deadly shooter at 61% on the season and a load down low, he is scoring 8.9 ppg. and latching on to 3.6 rpg. along with passing out 23 assists. He can't be allowed to obtain the position in the paint he desires or it's lights out.

6-foot-9 Ike Okoye - the leading scorer (13.4) and rebounder (9.0) on the team as well as the top shotblocker with 30. Okoye is shooting 56% from the floor.

6-foot-6 Robert Arnold - can score a lot or a little and is at 11.3 ppg., he has launched 58 three-pointers with a 37% success rate, is very athletic.

6-foot-1 La'Shard Anderson - the best point on the team this season with 69 assists, he is averaging 12 ppg. but shooting 39% overall and 28% from long distance.

6-foot-2 Anthony Thomas - it has not been the senior season he expected, shooting 38% and 32% respectively and just 8 more assists than turnovers.

The Cavalry

6-foot-7 Daequon Montreal - a junior college transfer who is very athletic, he is averaging 8.3 ppg. and a second-on-the-team 5.6 rpg. in 21 minutes a game.

6-foot-10 Zack Moritz - he is another of the Beef Brothers who will fill in when Cunningham needs a rest.

6-foot-6 Paul Noonan - has been injured of late and may or may not be available, in past seasons, he has been a three-point shooter but his numbers are down this season.

The Boise State roster, by position

G.A. Hill G 5-8 140 Fr.
Justin Salzwedel G 6-2 184 Jr.
Anthony Thomas G 6-0 211 Sr.
Nate Larsen G 6-2 188 Sr.
La'Shard Anderson G 6-1 170 Jr.

Daequon Montreal F 6-7 229 Jr.
Ike Okoye F 6-9 235 Sr.
Sean Imadiyi F 6-7 207 Sr.
Robert Arnold F 6-6 170 Jr.
Paul Noonan F 6-7 214 Jr.
Tyler Young F 6-8 219 Fr.

Zack Moritz C 6-11 245 Jr.
Kurt Cunningham C 6-9 265 Sr.

G Westly Perryman is injured and not available.

F Sam Hicks is a freshman who is redshirting.

What To Expect

* Boise State has typically liked to get up and down the court, even with its bigs, but there not much of a bench this season so watch to see if that transpires.

* As a team, the Broncos are shooting 31% from three-point range but also currently have 33 more free throw attempts than opponents. Look for a focus on mid-range and inside shot attempts from Graham's unit.

* Adrian Oliver scored 37 points last time out against BSU -- deja vu?

* On the flip side, Ike Okoye went for 22 points on 8-of-12 from the floor and 6-for-10 from the line. 6-foot-9 or so , muscular big men have been a thorn for SJSU.

* Key(est) item: the Spartans need to limit turnovers (empty possessions) as Boise doesn't appear to have the shooters to put up a 50% team shooting on the board.

* Anthony Thomas was expected to lead this Boise squad but his shooting has dropped and turnovers increased in this, his senior go-around. Does that trend continue to play out, or not on Thursday?

Tip-off for Thursday's game is at 7:00 pm (PST) at the San Jose State Events Center.


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Kevin McCarthy is the Basketball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Kevin with any questions, comments, or tips at kevin@insidesparta.com

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