Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
It’s pretty clear that Anthony Drmic and Derrick Marks are going to have to be on their games tomorrow night when Boise State faces LaSalle in the NCAA Tournament’s First Four in Dayton. And let’s add Jeff Elorriaga to that duo. LaSalle is said to be a solid defensive team on the perimeter. That does not bode well for the Broncos. They just saw one of those last week in the form of San Diego State. Boise State had difficulty getting off their three-point shots, with Elorriaga making just one. The Broncos need to defend the three the same way. Explorers star and leading scorer Ramon Galloway shoots a respectable 40 percent from beyond the arc but sounds a lot like Marks—a guy who can take over a game but has consistency issues.
As for Drmic, he is Boise State’s pest, and he needs to be a bother to LaSalle at both ends of the floor. He’s crafty on defense, and he’s good at looking like he’s being mugged when he puts his shoulder down and penetrates. But most of all, the Broncos need points from the Australian, and he’s been consistently providing them all the way through the 2012-13 campaign. Drmic now has 537 points this season, the seventh-most in Boise State history. He scored 20 against the Aztecs last week in spite of an off-night.
One generally unspoken issue for Boise State currently is inside scoring. If LaSalle is that good at perimeter defense, the Broncos will need something down low tomorrow night. Ryan Watkins and Kenny Buckner combined have scored fewer than six points per game the last four games. And if Buckner can even put his mind to scoring on the Explorers, that’ll be saying something. The Broncos’ lone senior had two teeth yanked Sunday night due to an infected wisdom tooth but still plans on being on the floor in Dayton. I had a couple of wisdom teeth extracted when I was his age—and I think three days later I was still watching cartoons on the ceiling.
Getting into the postseason in any form is not that common for Boise State basketball. Beyond five (now six) NCAA Tournaments, the Broncos have played seven games in four NITs—they didn’t even get there until 1987 (and haven’t been to one since 2004). In the last decade, the alphabet tournaments have been added to the mix, with Boise State going to the College Basketball Invitational twice in the past five years. And did you know: the Broncos were in the NCAA Division II tournament in 1970, and the NAIA tourney in 1969, capping their first season as a four-year school. Boise State’s most memorable postseason win remains its first-ever game in the NIT, the 62-61 victory over Utah before 10,000 fans in the Pavilion in 1987.
Oh boy. SI.com takes all 68 NCAA Tournament teams and ranks them by their “coolest alumnus.” Boise State comes in at No. 63. According to the Extra Mustard staff, the Broncos’ coolest alum is former hoops star Chris Childs, “the guy who punched Kobe.” There’s a photo of Childs throwing a right cross at Kobe Bryant in a scuffle during a Knicks-Lakers game in 2000. Why couldn’t the Broncos be like San Diego State and have a Raquel Welch to brag about? LaSalle’s coolest alum is actor Peter Boyle of “Young Frankenstein” fame (at least as far as I’m concerned).
Remember former Vallivue High star Will Bogan, who we were watching from afar a few years ago at Ole Miss? Where is he now? Bogan is in the NCAA Tournament with Valparaiso, ready to face Michigan State Thursday complete with shaved head after a 62-54 win over Wright State in the Horizon League championship game last week. Bogan transferred to Valpo to work on his MBA after graduating from Ole Miss in three years. He was a reserve for the Rebels but is a key component of the Crusaders’ squad. Bogan scored 14 points in the title game, including four consecutive free throws in the decisive final minute. The 6-1 guard was Idaho’s 5A Player of the Year in 2007-08, when Vallivue won the state championship. Bogan’s dad, Bill, was a Boise State wrestler, and his mom, the former Janelle Maynard, was a Bronco gymnast.
The NCAA Women’s Tournament works a little differently than the men’s event. The early rounds are played at campus sites, and guess which site the Idaho women are set to visit. The Vandals have been tagged with a No. 16 seed after winning the WAC Tournament and will play Saturday at No. 1 seed Connecticut, boasting one of the great women’s hoops programs of all-time. UConn is 29-4 this season. Idaho will get exposure out of it—the game will be televised on ESPN2.
As Nick Patti works on climbing the quarterback ladder at Boise State during spring football, a Scott Slant reader reminded me of one of recruiting’s ironies. Gunnar Kiel, a five-star QB recruit in 2012, recently announced he was leaving Notre Dame following his redshirt year. Kiel competed with Patti at the Elite 11 camp for high school quarterbacks in the summer of 2011 (one of the camp counselors was Kellen Moore). At the time, Patti was the No. 119 quarterback in the country according to recruiting rankings, yet he had earned a spot in the Elite 11 camp due to MVP performances at two regional Elite 11 competitions.
Kiel was the No. 1-rated QB at the time, yet Patti caught his eye. "Nick Patti's a great, great player," Kiel said in an ESPN.com story about Patti. "He has the intangibles to be a great player. He has great feet. He's fast. He seems like a great leader. He definitely has pinpoint accuracy. I wish the best for him, going to Boise State." And where are they now? Patti is sawing wood for the Broncos. Kiel, who decommitted from both Indiana and LSU before his short stint with the Fighting Irish, is still deciding on his next stop.
The Netherlands’ surprise run in the World Baseball Classic came to an end last night at AT&T Park in San Francisco with a 4-1 loss to the Dominican Republic. One of the most unlikely players on the Dutch roster was former Boise Hawk Mark Pawalek, a one-time first round pick of the Chicago Cubs who was cut loose by the organization in 2009. Pawalek, working out of the bullpen, threw 1 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings for The Netherlands in the WBC, striking out three. He did not pitch last night. Pawalek spent parts of four seasons with Boise as the Cubs tried to make their investment in him pay off. He last played in the independent Frontier League in 2010.
This Day In Sports…March 19, 1995:
The most memorable of all moments in the BSU Pavilion’s NCAA Tournament history (until Hampton’s upset of Iowa State two years ago) occurs in the second round game between UCLA and Missouri. With 4.9 seconds left, Mizzou holds a 74-73 lead when Bruin guard Tyus Edney drives the length of the floor and sinks a high floater at the buzzer to win the game, 75-74. UCLA would go on to win its 11th national championship two weeks later.
(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.)