Boise State squeezed in 11 games in the first 30 days of the season, so an eight-day break has been quite welcome.
Especially coming off a victory over then-No. 24 Oregon on Dec. 12.
“This week would’ve been miserable if we didn’t get that,” coach Leon Rice said. “We’re going to get a lot of mileage out of it.”
The Broncos (7-4) host Bradley (2-9) at noon Sunday before taking another 10 days between games.
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Without a win against a ranked team looming, and only finals to be worried about, the team has been able to digest what it has seen in nonconference games and continue to shore up its defense while also putting in some new looks for Mountain West play.
“This has been great, because we’ve got to work on some things we really, really need to work on, focus on ourselves,” Rice said. “Especially before league, too, because it’s going to be two games every single week forever.”
Rice also said it has enabled the short-handed Broncos to get a comfortable rotation prepared. Boise State likely will have only eight scholarship players available as senior guard Montigo Alford recovers from an ankle injury he suffered against the Ducks, while freshman center Robin Jorch also deals with a sprained ankle.
“This time is valuable, developing the bench, making sure the guys that are healthy are ready,” Rice said.
In the win over Oregon, sophomore guard Chandler Hutchison came off the bench for seven points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes, which Rice said was “his best game he’s played as a Bronco.”
That’s the sort of production the team will hope for while those ankle injuries heal, along with keeping out of foul trouble and getting solid minutes from the starters.
“When you’re down to eight, we’ve got to be pretty efficient and pretty tough,” Rice said.
Though Bradley has beat just one Division I team this season, the game has some motivation for the Broncos. The game is part of the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge, which the Mountain West leads 5-3 with two games remaining.
“We need to win it to clinch it for the league,” Rice said.
Bradley (2-9) at Boise State (7-4)
▪ When: Noon Sunday, Taco Bell Arena
▪ TV: ROOT (DirecTV channel 687, Dish 426, Cable One 27/1149)
▪ Radio: 670 KBOI AM
▪ Tickets: $7-$18 for juniors, $8-$19 for seniors, $9-$20 for adults at Taco Bell Arena box office or BroncoSports.com/tickets.