Before Idaho's biggest home game of the year starts, I wanted to check in and offer a few pregame observations. The student section is already packed and yelling obscenities at BSU, and it should be the biggest crowd of the year here at Cowan Spectrum. The game is on ESPNU if you're interested. You can also follow my updates on Twitter if you like. Read on.
Both teams are clearly in desperate need of a win. Nothing new there. BSU and Idaho have combined for one win in their first 13 conference games. UI is trying to avoid the conference cellar while BSU has been there all year long.
A few things to look for:
- What sort of jeering will Anthony Thomas receive by UI students? Thomas, you might remember, guaranteed that he would never lose to Idaho again in his career after UI beat the Broncos in Moscow. But the Vandals took care of that later in the season by nipping BSU in Boise.
- How effective can Marvin Jefferson be down low? The Idaho center hit the game-winning tip-in last year in Boise but has seen his production lag as this season has progressed. He's averaging just 7.8 ppg and 4.8 rebounds in conference games. The Vandals were manhandled down low by Utah State Saturday, and I'm sure the coaches have reminded UIs bigs of that a few times.
- What would a win do for the Vandals? They have lost five in a row but a win here combined with one on Thursday night vs. Fresno State would pump some much-needed life into UI. Remember, last year the Vandals played their best basketball from February into March.