Going into their matchup on Thursday evening, the Broncos were unsure who their opponent would be. They knew it would be one of two options; the San Diego State Aztecs or the UNLV Rebels.
The two teams faced off in a battle that went into overtime. The Aztecs won 62-52 punching their ticket into the quarterfinals of the Mountain West tournament. There, they will face the number three ranked Broncos.
— Boise State Men's BB (@BroncoSportsMBB) March 9, 2017
Click here for a look at an updated bracket: Mountain West tournament bracket
As Boise State sets their sights on the Aztecs, three objectives will be key for their success.
Keys to the Game
Focus on the Present
Boise State football head coach, Bryan Harsin has a simple motto for his team: 1-0.
The motto simply encourages the players and coaches to focus one week at a time. Its process discourages outside distractions and focusing on future matchups.
Likewise, coach Rice and the men’s basketball team must apply the same principle to their tournament.
As the Mountain West tournament begins, it’s easy for teams to overlook the game at hand and focus on the intangibles. The idea of overlooking games or focusing too hard on future outcomes can lead to the fall of the team. Thus, it is crucial that Boise State focuses solely on their game vs. the Aztecs.
Because the tournament is based on single elimination, the priority of winning and advancing is crucial. Thus, it’s key that the Broncos look past the excitement, politics, and hype of the tournament and narrow their focus on step one… Advancing to the semi-finals by playing their style of basketball.
Turnovers are a part of the game of basketball, they just are. However, it’s crucial that the Broncos limit them in their contest vs. the Aztecs.
The Aztecs and Broncos only played once this season. The matchup was a home game for the Broncos which saw them win 78-66.
In this matchup, the Broncos recorded just 11 turnovers. The Aztecs, on the other hand, had 15. This proved to be the defining feature of the game as the rest of the recorded team stats were fairly similar on both sides.
In all 10 of Boise State’s losses this year, they went (2-7-1) in the turnover margin. Win the turnover margin and it becomes just that much easier to win the game.
Feed the Hot Hand
This year’s Boise State’s squad has a deep rotation. As the season progressed, Rice’s rotation consisted of around 10 players.
That being said, anyone can have the hot hand on a given night.
Though it’s understood that the team’s offensive production relies heavily on junior Chandler Hutchison, the Broncos have seen their fair share of different top scorers in many contests.
In the game against the Aztecs on January 7th, Zach Haney lead the way with 19 points.
In the last regular season contest for the Broncos, seniors James Reid and Nick Duncan combined for half of the team’s scoring output (49).
As the Broncos face off against the Aztecs for the second time, it’s crucial that they rely on whoever seems to have the hot hand that night.