If the Boise State basketball team is going to turn its four-game winning streak into five, six or even seven, it will have to conquer New Mexico’s WisePies Arena, better known as The Pit, on Tuesday (8 p.m., CBS Sports Network) for the first time since 2015.
The Broncos (16-7, 9-3), fresh off a 76-66 home win over Air Force, lead the Mountain West. They are a half-game ahead of Colorado State (17-9, 9-4) and a full game ahead of Nevada, which lost to San Diego State 70-56 on Sunday.
Boise State is in position to grab the top seed in the Mountain West Tournament next month in Las Vegas. But senior Nick Duncan knows upcoming road tests against the Lobos (15-10, 8-5) and Wolf Pack (19-6, 8-4) won’t be easy.
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Those road games could be season-defining. Given their 5-1 conference road mark, the Broncos might be OK with that.
“My first start was there. I was pretty nervous, actually. But it’s a great place to play,” Duncan said. “There’s nothing better than going down there and getting a road win at The Pit.”
The Broncos have lost three straight to New Mexico, the latest an 81-70 home defeat Jan. 17, but they have recent history on their side.
Over the past four seasons, the Broncos have lost the first game of a two-game season series 15 times. In the rematch, Boise State is 12-3. The Lobos have also been without star forward Tim Williams (foot) the past three games, and his return for Tuesday’s game is unknown. Elijah Brown leads New Mexico in scoring at 18.8 points per game.
THE REST OF THE SCHEDULE
The remaining road for Boise State is a mixed bag, with the away games looking far more daunting than the home games. After taking on the Lobos, the Broncos take on Wyoming (16-10, 6-7) on Saturday (4 p.m., Taco Bell Arena). Boise State easily dispatched the Cowboys 80-65 in Laramie on Jan. 28 and will most likely win again.
Then comes the matchup everyone has been waiting for.
On Feb. 22, Nevada hosts Boise State in a game that could determine the regular-season Mountain West champion. The Wolf Pack defeated the Broncos 76-57 on Jan. 25 and have the conference’s most dangerous quartet in guards Marcus Marshall, D.J. Fenner and Jordan Caroline and forward Cameron Oliver.
Nevada looked completely lost against San Diego State, but it is 10-1 at home. Advantage Wolf Pack.
Home matchups against San Jose State (13-10, 6-6) and Fresno State (14-11, 6-7) follow. Though much improved, as evidenced by their recent win over San Diego State, the Spartans likely won’t be able to hang with the Broncos at Taco Bell Arena. Boise State struggled in a loss at Fresno State on Jan. 14, but the Bulldogs have lost four of their past five
Boise State closes with Air Force (10-15, 3-9), which the Broncos just defeated by 10 points at home Saturday night. Air Force is 10-5 at home this season, but expect the Broncos to take care of the Falcons in Colorado Springs.
▪ Projected record over final six games: 5-1. That would give Boise State a 21-8 overall record and 14-4 in the Mountain West).
Drmic named NBL Rookie of the Year
Former Boise State guard Anthony Drmic, the second-most prolific scorer in program history, was named rookie of the year in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) on Monday.
Drmic, who graduated in 2016 as the Broncos’ all-time leader in games played (131), games started (124), 3-point field goals attempted (786) and 3-point field goals made (275), averaged 5.7 points per game in 27 contests for the Adelaide 36ers. He scored 1,942 points in his Boise State career, two shy of Tanoka Beard’s school record. Drmic also ranks second in attempted field goals with 1,463.
The 36ers host Illawarra in the NBL semifinals Thursday.
Boise State (16-7, 9-3 MW) at New Mexico (15-10, 8-5)
- When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
- Where: WisePies Arena (15,411), Albuquerque, N.M.
- TV: CBS Sports Network (Cable One 139/1139, DirecTV 221, Dish 158)
- Radio: KBOI 670 AM (Bob Behler and Abe Jackson). Fans can also listen to the game at broncosports.com.
- All-time series: New Mexico leads 9-3.
- Did you know? Boise State is 5-1 in Mountain West road games this season. The school record for conference road wins in a season is six, most recently in 2014-15.