Rice feels Broncos peaking at the right time; Watkins, Duncan making waves (w/video)

For the only time this season, the Boise State men’s basketball has back-to-back home games — the Broncos won 76-55 against San Jose State on Saturday and host Air Force on Wednesday (7:05 p.m., ROOT).

“We need a huge crowd for this Air Force game … we don’t have that many home games left,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said.

Before Tuesday night’s games, the Broncos are tied for fifth in the league with a 4-3 conference mark. It’s a better start than last season, when the Broncos began Mountain West play 3-5. Two of the Broncos’ three conference losses came down to the final shot.

“We’re not exactly where we want to be, but we’re not that far off,” junior Anthony Drmic said. “… any win or loss, you can’t think about it too much, because if you do, then it’s going to affect the next game.”

With two daunting road trips ahead (Feb. 1 at UNLV and Feb. 8 at Utah State), along with San Diego State, New Mexico and UNLV still to come to Boise, there are plenty of chances for the Broncos to rack up big wins. Rice says those are coming at a good time, as he believes the team is starting to realize its potential.

“It feels we’re peaking at the right time, and that doesn’t always show up in wins and losses, but I can see it in our play,” Rice said.

Boise State junior Igor Hadziomerovic had started 25 straight games before playing just four minutes last Saturday against Utah State, coming in with 12 minutes to play. He missed last Tuesday’s game at New Mexico before coming off the bench to play eight minutes Saturday against San Jose State. Being a key piece off the bench could be Hadziomerovic’s role for the near future, as he scored on the first possession after he entered the game, scoring four points and pulling down three rebounds in those eight minutes.

“He was aggressive, and that’s when he’s best,” Rice said. “… he can be a really good defender, and hopefully it’s getting him going, where he can build upon those minutes.”

Senior Ryan Watkins is averaging 11.2 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, making him just one of 13 players in the nation averaging a double-double. His rebounding average was No. 9 in the country entering this week’s games.

Freshman Nick Duncan is making 54.3 percent of his 3-pointers in conference play, tops in the league.

Here is my AP ballot for the week. You can see the full top 25 here.
1. Arizona
2. Syracuse
3. Florida
4. Kansas
5. Wichita State
6. San Diego State
7. Michigan
8. Michigan State
9. Villanova
10. Oklahoma State
11. Iowa
12. Cincinnati
13. Wisconsin
14. Iowa State
15. Louisville
16. Kentucky
17. Pittsburgh
18. Saint Louis
19. Massachusetts
20. Duke
21. Creighton
22. Gonzaga
23. Memphis
24. UCLA
25. Texas

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