Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Searching for the Holy Grail: A road victory

He's caught up in Taco Bell Arena's emotion

Coming In:

The Fresno State Bulldogs are set to square off Thursday night against the Boise State Broncos at Taco Bell Arena. Both teams enter at 3-3 in the WAC, and both off of home victories with the Broncos being the more impressive of the two over Hawaii.

With leading scorer Senior Koby Karl held to just 4 points, freshman guard Anthony Thomas was able to score 21 points, a career high. He came in averaging 3.8 ppg while Karl is averaging a team leading 15.4 ppg. Also coming up big was junior forward Matt Nelson who scored 25 points and collected 10 rebounds. He was also 1 turnover shy of an unorthodox triple double.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are coming into the game on the heels of a rather lackluster performance Monday night at the Save Mart Center. Although able to come away with the win 67-64, they continued their cold shooting from the field.

Senior guard Javance Coleman is immersed in a horrific shooting slump, he finished 0-9 from the field against the Spartans. Look for guard Eddie Miller to continue to cut into Coleman’s minutes if he continues to shoot poorly. The turnover issue reared its head again Monday with the ‘Dogs committing 15 after only 5 on the road in Reno. Forward Quinton Hosley and Dominic McGuire continue to have serious issues finishing around the basket.

More on the Broncos:

If there is one thing that has definitely plagued the Broncos it has been their inability to win close games. They are 1-6 in games decided by 5 points or less. They have also failed to hold onto leads in their 3 league defeats. They squandered a 13 point lead with 5:30 left at Utah State, and ended up in a 1 point defeat.

Eastern Washington transfer Matt Nelson has been a huge addition for the Broncos. The 6’9” junior has been a real force on the interior and his intensity has been at the highest level all season. His impact has been greater than even his coach had thought coming into the season. Nelson comes in averaging 14.8 pts and 8.9 rebounds. One thing Nelson isn't is a shot blocker, he enters with only 11 total.

Key Bronco stats:

-8-1 record at home this season

-Average 75.2 ppg while giving up 70

-Come in shooting 47% from the field, 35% from three

-Averaging 16.6 turnovers per game

-While they have outscored their first half opponents by over 100 points on the season, they have been outscored by them in the second half.

-Junior Tyler Tiedeman has started 13 of 17 games but only averages 16 minutes per start

MBs Take:

Unfortunately this team has given no reason for me to be confident in their ability to win on the road. They are having a tough time finishing some very easy shots which does not bode well. After the progress they made in Reno, I was praising them and they followed that up with an uninspiring home win versus SJSU.

They can win if they get their FG percentage into the low to mid 40s. 10 or fewer turnovers and 35% three point shooting are important also. Boise State will need to be close to their season average in turnovers and Matt Nelson and Koby Karl cannot both score 25. If the Bulldogs can hang around maybe the Broncos will let their past history of losing down the stretch haunt them.

Ultimately 'Dogs lose by 5.

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