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Michigan State Basketball: Boise State Preview

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Check out Michigan State's second round opponent, Boise State

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

Opponent: Boise State

Location: Anaheim, CA

Time: 5:30 PM EST

Channel: ESPN2

KenPom Line: MSU -8

Some thoughts on Boise State's playing style.

  • They shoot a lot of 3's where they're #13 in the country in 3PA/FGA ratio. Anthony Drmic is their main guy who has made 15 of 33 (45.5%) in just 4 games. They also have a very high 2P% as a team ranking #16 nationally and four of their five starters are shooting at least 58% from inside the arc.
  • Boise State has good size as a team overall. Their starting lineup goes 6-4, 6-6, 6-8, 6-7, and 6-9. While that's not an overly tall frontcourt, MSU's backcourt is pretty small wih 5-11 (generous listed height) Tum Tum Nairn and 6-3 Bryn Forbes.
  • While they have a good offense, their defense is a bit lacking. They're allowing 56.5% on 2-pointers and the only thing they do decently well defensively is not allow offensive rebounds. They foul a decent amount defensively, they don't block a lot of shots, and their steal rate is low with just an average turnover rate.
  • James Webb is an interesting player. As their 6-9 center he shot 40% from 3 last year while also shooting 68% from 2 to go along with a very solid 26.9% DReb%.
  • Mikey Thompson is their point guard who's been very solid offensively overall with 58.3/50.0/75.0 shooting splits (2P/3P/FT). He also post a solid 32.0% assist rate with an acceptable 16.7% TO rate. He posts a very low steal rate and has a low FC/40 so I'm guessing he's not great defensively and can be exposed on that end.
  • They're not a deep at just #306 in bench minutes but they like to go fast offensively ranking #79 in average offensive possession length (for reference MSU is at #56).

Four Factors

MSU on Offense

[MSU should mostly have their way on offense]

MSU on Defense

[Boise State is a good shooting team]

Things to watch for

  • #DVTDW Will Valentine be in the game long enough to get a triple double? That seems to be the question rather than whether or not he's actually capable of getting one. He's averaging 18 ppg, 9.4 rpg, and 9.8 apg shooting 56.2% from 2 and 40.0% from 3. He's just at another level offensively right now.
  • Tum Tum can shoot now... maybe. Yesterday Tum Tum made two 3's and another long jumper to go along with 8 assists and 0 turnovers. It's still a very small sample size but if Nairn is able to knock down long shots that really opens up this MSU offense and they'll always have 4 guys on the floor who can shoot. He's not going to be Forbes out there but if he's able to be a ~35% shooter from 3 that would be big for MSU.
  • How short are they going to cut the rotation? MSU has as much depth as its had since 2009. This year they have Valentine, Forbes, Costello, Nairn, Bess, Harris, Davis, Clark, McQuaid, and Schilling (when he gets back). That's a true 10-man rotation and that's not including Ellis (who's been very good), Ahrens (who's made  a couple 3's), and Wollenman (who's been solid outside of turnover issues). Someone is likely to be unhappy in the end but for MSU fans, this type of depth is the best kind of problem to have.

Bottom Line

I just don't think Boise State has enough to knock out this MSU team who is playing extremely well early on. They're just too bad defensively and their size advantage hasn't really shown itself in creating offensive rebounds (where MSU excels). If anything this might work in MSU's favor by being able to beat the Broncos in transition. Boise State is a threat because they can shoot well from 3 but basketball needs to be played on both ends

MSU 82 - Boise St. 71