There are over 60 games on Thursday’s NCAA basketball schedule, including Boise State battling Nevada in the Mountain West tournament quarterfinals. It will be the third time the two teams have met this season. Let’s break down my college basketball best bets for this matchup.
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Boise State Broncos vs. Nevada Wolf Pack
Leon Rice’s bunch swept the regular season series, but the Wolf Pack hung around in their last meeting on March 1. Can Steve Alford’s crew notch the same result this time around — or even win outright? If you checked out my conference tournament futures piece, you’re likely invested in a Nevada long-shot ticket.
- All of Eli’s College Basketball Best Bets
Broncos Overvalued In Betting Market
Although Boise State won the Mountain West regular season title, it outperformed its shooting metrics by three wins (via ShotQuality). That’s in large part a result of its poor off-ball coverage despite accruing the 17th-ranked Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (AdjD) in the country. Hence, the Broncos’ glorified play at that end of the floor isn’t as dominant as it appears.
- Adjusted Efficiency accounts for the estimate efficiency (points scored or allowed per 100 possessions) a team would accrue or allow against the average Division I opponent, according to KenPom.
On the flip side, Alford’s motion offense is designed to exploit Rice’s scheme. In particular, the Wolf Pack’s off-ball action — with lead guard Grant Sherfield at the controls — generates plenty of mismatches.
The Broncos’ interior defense is concerning against those sets, surrendering a 65.6% clip from inside the arc in their second duel of the season. Nevada covered (+9.5) in the process, and Sherfield and his frontcourt should be in position to exploit it again.
Wolf Pack Can Compete On The Glass
While Boise State owns the conference’s No. 1 offensive rebounding rate, Nevada boasts a top-85 defensive rebounding percentage across college basketball. Alford’s squad limited the Broncos to just eight second-chance opportunities in their aforementioned contest, as it presents the necessary size to match Boise State’s length.
If the Wolf Pack can repeat that performance, they’ll have success speeding up the pace. Sherfield & Co. produce the 29th-quickest average possession length in Division I. Even though the Broncos possess a quality transition defense, that’s because it hinders opponents from manufacturing those possessions in the first place.
Boise State – Nevada Betting Pick
Look for the Wolf Pack to at least keep the final score within two possessions. Hopefully our Mountain West tournament futures are alive afterwards, too.
Best Available Line: Nevada
Eli’s College Basketball Best Bet: