Boise State basketball preps for big, physical South Carolina (w/video)

Boise State will take on South Carolina in the semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic on Monday at 7 p.m. MT on ESPN2. The Gamecocks knocked off then-undefeated Saint Mary’s on Sunday.
Though South Carolina is 3-5, they’re regarded by Boise State as a typical SEC opponent — big, strong and quick.

“They’re way bigger than us, way more athletic than us, way stronger than us,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said.

Frank Martin is in his second season at South Carolina after compiling a 117-54 mark at Kansas State from 2007-12. Opponents are shooting 40.7 percent against South Carolina, and that’s exactly what Saint Mary’s shot in its 78-71 loss.

“He’s one of the best coaches out there, especially on the defensive end,” Rice said.

Boise State will hope to play in tournaments like the Diamond Head Classic in the future, though not always around Christmas. Rice is hoping to get into tournaments earlier in the season like Gonzaga has done for the better part of the last decade.

“It’s huge, and that’s what we’re going to keep building toward, more of these, getting into the cycle of getting into the higher-level ESPN ones,” Rice said. “We’re going to keep pushing to get some more of these and more single-game, neutral-site, event kind of situations.”

Rice said he even put in a good word on the Diamond Head Classic to his good friend, Colorado coach Tad Boyle. The Buffaloes were announced as being part of the 2014 DHC field on Sunday.

Derrick Marks had eight points and seven assists on Sunday, and could have added to the scoring mark, but twice slipped in the lane making a drive, getting called for a travel each time. The humid air around the Stan Sheriff Center could have played a part, or not.

“Maybe I just need different shoes,” Marks said.

Junior Anthony Drmic had 21 points Sunday, giving him 1,101 for his career. That is good for 12th all-time in the Boise State record books. Next up is Trent Johnson, currently TCU’s head coach, who had 1,155 from 1974-78.

Marks has 971 career points, closing in on becoming the 24th 1,000-point scorer in school history.

“You start to get a bunch of guys around 1,000 points, now you’ve got a program, and that’s what we’re trying to build,” Rice said.

Here is my AP top 25 ballot for this week:
1. Arizona
2. Wisconsin
3. Syracuse
4. Ohio State
5. Michigan State
6. Oklahoma State
7. Louisville
8. Villanova
9. Duke
10. Florida
11. Iowa State
12. Oregon
13. Baylor
14. Kansas
15. Wichita State
16. Connecticut
17. North Carolina
18. Colorado
19. Memphis
20. Kentucky
21. San Diego State
22. Illinois
23. Massachusetts
24. Toledo
25. George Washington

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