Nevada basketball to face largest challenge vs. Boise State

While Nevada basketball is coming off of two-game win streak against the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, it will have to be prepared for Boise State. The Wolf Pack has only had a short break in between last weekend’s games against UNLV to prepare for the top-ranked team in the Mountain West conference, Boise State. Although the Broncos will be traveling to Reno, the Wolf Pack will have to play some of their best games of the season in order to come out on top of this weekend’s two-game series.

There are quite a few strengths and for Nevada that will have to be capitalized upon as well as holes in its game that will have to be hashed out in-game due to only having three days in between Tuesday’s game to practice. Boise State possesses multiple threats that Nevada players will have to simultaneously watch for as well both in terms of players and strategies.

All of the Broncos’ starters are shooting threats, but a few stand out as players who may need a double-team from Nevada’s defense. Senior forward Abu Kijab averages 13.5 points per game, holds 36 assists and is a large body in the middle on defense at 6-foot-7. Another major threat for the Broncos is redshirt senior guard Derrick Alston, who is averaging 16.5 points per game and is a fast outside shooter that can also drive to the inside. One more player worth mentioning for the Broncos is redshirt junior Marcus Shaver with 13.8 points per game and an 85% free throw rate.

Because the Broncos are clearly an older and more experienced team, Nevada will have to work extra hard to ensure it does not have as many errors in transition defense as well as simple errors like passing and shot selection, which is something that Nevada head coach Steve Alford has mentioned is still a work in progress. To reiterate, the Wolf Pack’s transition defense has improved this season but even in last week’s games against UNLV there were times that Nevada just completely got lost in the fast break. Nevada also just needs to relax on offense and make good, smart passes as it will have very little room for error against an older Boise State.

Players that Nevada has to help give them the edge are sophomore guard Grant Sherfield with an average of 18.3 points per game and 108 assists. Sherfield is followed closely by junior guard Desmond Cambridge, who has nearly had four double-doubles in his last four games. Lastly for Nevada hoops is sophomore forward Warren Washington, who is averaging 9.6 points per game and shoots 61% for field goals. Sherfield’s and Cambridge’s shooting and passing abilities in addition to Washington’s presence on the inside both offensively and defensively need to be utilized to their fullest extent this weekend.

Nevada basketball has its work cut out for itself at home against Boise State but if it can focus on both its strengths and weaknesses, it will be able to play with the Broncos. Game one will appear on FS1 and ESPN Radio 94.5 FM tonight, Friday Feb. 5 at 9 p.m. ET. Game two will appear on the same networks listed above at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 7.

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