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A Look Back at a “BSU Basketball Primer”

(I wrote the unaltered article below in August as a submission to an online sports blog but never published it on the HoP blog. Given Boise State’s resurgence in college basketball this year, I figured better late than never. And yes, I’m bragging about how I was fairly spot on with a few things, given I don’t care about BSU basketball.)

The Boise State men’s basketball team has long been known as the “little brother” program of BSU athletics. Long mired in the shadow of its very successful football counterpart, the basketball program will be looking to make strides this year towards attaining national relevance. To help prep you for this breakthrough season, I’ve assembled a need-to-know primer.

Key Opponents




Time (MST)



  Tue, Nov 20  Michigan State at East Lansing, Mich.   TBA
  Fri, Dec 14  LSU Taco Bell Arena   TBA
  Wed, Jan 09  Wyoming * at Laramie, Wyo.   TBA
  Sat, Feb 02  UNLV * Taco Bell Arena   TBA
  Sat, Mar 09  San Diego State * Taco Bell Arena   TBA


11/20 – at Michigan State. The Broncos will have a slim chance of winning this matchup on the road against Tom Izzo and the Spartans, but this game should be a key indicator of how the Broncos will handle adversity this season. The Broncos have a chance to be 3-0 going into this matchup and giving MSU a run would help add validation to their season, especially when tournament bids come out. Look for this game to provide growth for the remainder of the season.

12/14 – vs LSU. The second game of a home-and-home series, the Broncos will be looking to avenge a 64-45 loss to the Bayou Bengals when LSU comes into Boise. LSU may not be the cream of the SEC crop when it comes to basketball, but coming away with a victory over them definitely won’t hurt come March.

1/9 – at Wyoming. Not only did the Cowboys beat BSU in both matchups last year by double-digits, but they also helped pile on the seventh-straight loss of BSU’s season-long nine-game losing streak. This matchup with Wyoming is the start of a stretch that could bear similar results if the Broncos haven’t improved over last year’s model.

2/2 – vs UNLV. BSU nearly pulled the upset over the then-ranked #15 Rebels of UNLV last time they met in Boise, losing 77-72 in overtime. This continued their previously-mentioned losing streak to five games. Sophomore Derrick Marks will hope to follow up his 21-point performance with another stellar outing and lead the upset over the Runnin’ Rebels.

3/9 – vs San Diego State. For the second-straight season, the Broncos will close out their season at home against the Aztecs*. Last year, the 21st ranked SDSU squad sent home BSU with a heart-breaking 75-72 victory, the second loss of less than three points to the Mountain West runner-ups. The theme of the season, revenge, will definitely be in play as these two look to close out the regular season on a high note.

*Boise State lost to San Diego State in the first round of the Mountain West Conference Championship.

Player to Watch

Derrick Marks, sophomore – As previously mentioned, Marks had a coming-out party of sorts in the near-upset of UNLV, scoring a season/career high 21 points to go with 6 rebounds and 4 assists. The second-leading scorer on the team as a freshman, Marks averaged 9.4/3.4/2.1 during his initial season. Likely to see more minutes and use, Marks can become a 12/5/4 guy this season if he can cut down on his turnovers, as his 2.3 per game lead the team by nearly a full turnover last season. With his high field goal and three-point shooting percentages, a higher usage rate can easily translate into more points if he takes better care of the ball.

Reasons to Be Hopeful

Last year, the Broncos got off to a hot start, going 8-1 in their first nine games, with the sole loss coming to a surprisingly good Long Beach State squad. This run also included a solid victory over new Pac-12 member, Utah. As we came to find out, the start wasn’t indicative of who the team truly was, and as the year ended and the calendar turned, so too did BSU’s season. The Broncos went 3-13 during the 2012 portion of the schedule and were essentially eliminated from any sort of postseason tournament by Valentine’s Day.

This year, BSU is projected to bring back nearly every member of the 2011-12 squad while hoping their large freshman class will mature into a strong nucleus to build upon. Last year’s long losing streak and string of tough losses should provide experience for this upcoming season if/when things start to turn south. BSU may not be headed for the Big Dance come late March, but a .500+ record and an invitation to play in SOME tournament will help show fans BSU basketball is back on the right track.

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