We're here in the Cowan Spectrum for a key early WAC game for Idaho and Fresno State. Both are coming off lopsided defeats, and we'll see how the Vandals respond to a long postgame team meeting on Thursday night.
If you missed it, the Vandals, after getting spanked by Nevada and coach Don Verlin addressed the media, convened in a team meeting room and got an earful from Verlin. From the few words I heard while finishing up my story in the media room — and it was still going when I left the Kibbie Dome a little before 11 p.m. — he was not happy with the team's effort in the 73-55 loss to the Wolf Pack.
The Vandals (7-8, 0-1 WAC) have never started 0-2 in the league play in Verlin's tenure. And it's easy to think that this is a good spot for Idaho — at home and playing a 7-9 club. But Fresno clobbered Boise State on Monday, two days after BSU beat Idaho, and won three in a row before getting handled at Utah State on Thursday.
The Bulldogs have the WAC's leading scorer, Kevin Olekaibe (18.2 ppg). He leads the NCAA with nearly nine 3-point attempts per game. So UI's perimeter defense will definitely be something to watch; when the Vandals have struggled, opponents have usually shot well from outside.
Even with what should be a solid foe here at the Spectrum, the Vandals are glad to have the last four games behind them. They played at Wright State and Wisconsin-Green Bay before meeting BSU in Nampa and WAC favorite Nevada in Moscow. Here's how Verlin summed up the stretch:
“We knew this was going to be a tough spot on our schedule,” he said. “We knew this was the toughest part of our schedule. Obviously we didn’t think we would go 0-4.”
You can follow along on Twitter at @SR_JoshWright.