Boise State will be doing a little scoreboard watching tomorrow night if it gets past San Jose State in the afternoon. Boise State will be doing a little scoreboard watching tomorrow night if it gets past San Jose State in the afternoon. The Broncos will be the No. 2 seed in the Mountain West Tournament next week with a victory over the Spartans and a Fresno State loss at Utah State. But it’s a moot point if BSU doesn’t pay attention. Coach Dave Wojcik, formerly Leon Rice’s top assistant at Boise State, has SJSU pointed in the right direction. The Spartans have won eight games this season after only two wins in 2014-15. And speaking of Fresno State, the Bulldogs stubbed their toe 65-53 at San Jose State last month. Lesson to be learned. The Spartans have lost six straight since then, though. One footnote on BSU’s 20-win thing: the Broncos have four straight 20-win seasons for the first time in school history.
Did anyone else notice this postgame quote from Boise State’s James Webb III Wednesday night? When asked if he thought about the win over Nevada perhaps marking his final appearance in Taco Bell Arena, Webb said, “Not really, I try not to focus on that. As far as I’m concerned I have another year.” Obviously, that’s encouraging for the Broncos. Sounds like Webb is open to returning for his senior year rather than make himself available for the NBA Draft, depending on what draft evaluators say this spring. Trying to be really objective here, I’d say Webb has had a great season but not a drop-dead spectacular season (he’s averaging 16 points and is leading the Mountain West with 9.3 rebounds per game). Webb would really benefit by spending one more year in school and further honing his considerable skills.
Anthony Drmic has no choice—he’s in the final weeks of his Boise State career. It’ll be hard to top the 22-point, 11-rebound performance on Senior Night, but a healing body is allowing the Aussie to make up for lost time. Drmic has averaged 18.3 points per game the last six games. He says he has his “burst” back, just in time for the madness of March. Drmic feels he can push off his tender left ankle better than at any time this season, and it’s letting him to play the way he’s capable, which might be characterized as reckless abandonment with a purpose.
Five years ago tomorrow, Boise State played its final regular season game in the WAC, a 66-51 win over San Jose State to cap Rice’s first regular season as Bronco head coach. Things have changed, do ya think? Most of you would be hard-pressed to name even three current members of the WAC. You might be able to guess New Mexico State. The other seven: Grand Canyon, Cal State Bakersfield, Seattle, Utah Valley, UT Rio Grande Valley (I didn’t have a clue on that one), Missouri-Kansas City and Chicago State. How about that.
In the wake of National Letter of Intent Day, people often forget the recruiting class from the year before, which will have the biggest near-term impact on a given team. Boise State spring football begins Monday, and there will be brewing position battles involving redshirt freshmen almost everywhere you look on the defensive side of the ball. Here are some recently singled out by coach Bryan Harsin in the Bronco secondary. At cornerback, Harsin mentioned Ladarryl Blair and Donzale Roddie, who are among those competing for Donte Deayon’s old job. At Darian Thompson’s safety spot, Harsin is anxious to see Darreon Jackson and Evan Tyler show what they have. The routine will be the same: two weeks of drills, a hiatus for spring break, and two more weeks of practice before the Blue & Orange Game on April 9.
Idaho’s 2016 football schedule was released yesterday, and because the Sun Belt doesn’t have a championship game (yet), the Vandals are able to stretch it over 14 weeks and wrap up on December 3. Therefore, Idaho gets two bye weeks this season, on October 29 and November 19. September is laced with irony for the Vandals. They open at home with Montana State, a possible future conference rival. Then they go to Washington to face Chris Petersen, who was, let’s say, less than encouraging in continuing the Boise State-Idaho rivalry after 2010. Next is the occasional Battle of the Palouse at Washington State, and then comes to a trip to UNLV, a member of the league the Vandals always longed for.
One of the Idaho Steelheads’ most underappreciated stats right now: Corbin Baldwin is second among ECHL defensemen with a plus/minus rating of plus-25. That means the Steelheads have scored 25 more goals than their opponents with Baldwin on the ice. Plus/minus often tells you more than points, assists and penalty minutes. Baldwin’s numbers are pedestrian—three goals, 13 assists and 52 penalty minutes. But those numbers don’t reflect his value to the team. The Steelies try to pad their lead in the ECHL West Division tonight and tomorrow night when they wrap up their three-game series against the Alaska Aces. Branden Komm will likely get a turn in goal in one of the two contests. Komm, acquired from South Carolina in late January, has now won three straight starts for Idaho.
A day after Nevada took a bus back to Reno following its 76-57 loss at Boise State, former Wolf Pack star Brandon Fields hopped a plane out of Boise for Austin. Fields, one of the Idaho Stampede’s most consistent performers of late, was dealt to the Austin Spurs in exchange for a third-round pick in this fall’s D-League Draft. Fields was averaging 15.8 points per game for the Stamps and put up a career-high 29 in his most recent outing last Saturday. Pending a physical, he should be available when the Spurs play the Stampede on Sunday.
Idaho and Idaho State meet only once during the Big Sky hoops season. And there’s plenty on the line when it happens tomorrow night in Cowan Spectrum. Both teams picked up huge victories last night, the Vandals upending Weber State 62-58 in Moscow and the Bengals taking down Eastern Washington 75-71 in Cheney. UI and ISU are now tied for third in the Big Sky by themselves. The winner tomorrow gets one of the four byes in next week’s conference tournament—the loser may not, depending on what Eastern and North Dakota do on the final day of the regular season.
As Boise State mulls over restarting a college baseball program, let’s remember the sport is alive and well in the Treasure Valley. And this is a big weekend. Defending NAIA national champion Lewis-Clark State is making its annual trip down south to face College of Idaho for a single game today, a doubleheader tomorrow, and a single game Sunday at Wolfe Field. The Warriors were swept by the Yotes in Caldwell last season. And Northwest Nazarene unexpectedly plays its home openers this weekend with a pair of doubleheaders today and tomorrow against Saint Martin’s at Vail Field in Nampa. The series was originally scheduled for the Saints’ home field in Lacey, WA, but it was deemed not ready for games.
A potpourri of other items: Brian Scott is slated to race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. The Boise driver finished 24th and 31st in his first two starts of the season. The undefeated and 11th-ranked Boise State women’s gymnastics team gets another shot at a Big Ten school, hosting Michigan State Sunday afternoon in Taco Bell Arena. The Broncos topped Ohio State two weeks ago. The BSU women’s basketball team wraps up its regular season tonight against San Jose State in Taco Bell Arena, with a send-off for seniors Miquelle Askew, Lexi Der and Julia Duferrena. And at the boys state basketball tournaments, Borah and Centennial have advanced in 5A, Bishop Kelly in 4A, Parma and Fruitland in 3A, Ambrose in 1A Division 1, and Council in 1A Division 2.
This Day In Sports…March 4, 1976, 40 years ago today:
After coming within one Candlestick Park wind gust of moving to Toronto, the San Francisco Giants are bought for $8 million by Bob Lurie and Bud Herseth. Owner Horace Stoneham, who had moved the Giants to the Bay from New York in 1958, had agreed in January of that year to sell the club to a Toronto group that included Labatt’s Breweries. Attendance at Candlestick had plummeted since the glory days of the 1960’s—in fact, a game against Atlanta at the end of the 1974 season had an announced attendance of 748. That’s about 41,000 fewer than the Giants average today at AT&T Park.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)