Stephen Vilardo’s Mountain West NCAA First Four Preview

Both Boise State and Colorado arguably are under-seeded as opponents in tonight's matchup

Posted on March 20, 2024

  By Stephen Vilardo, SuperWest Sports

The Mountain West got some respect from the selection committee with six conference squads earning bids.

While those numbers were high there was a lack of respect in the seeding of some of those MW teams. Two teams were relegated to the first four, and others are double-digit seeds favored in their openers.

The under-seeding of the conference was ridiculous. But what’s done is done and if the league teams come out and lay eggs early then there will be no more complaining to be had.

Here’s my preview of the First Four play-in game between the Broncos and the Buffs.

10-seed Boise State v. 10-seed Colorado

Wednesday, March 20
6:10 pm PT, truTV
Dayton, Ohio

One of the under-seeded is Boise State. The Broncos are a 10 seed relegated to play in a First-Four game in Dayton on Wednesday night.

The saving grace is that a win in Dayton would take the Broncos to Indianapolis, a short hour and 45-minute trek west on I-70.

Not only are they saddled with an extra game but they also face another under-seeded team in Colorado.

The Buffs are an excellent team that finished third in the Pac-12 regular season and fell to Oregon in the conference final.

Colorado and Boise State are similar teams statistically. The difference between their average scoring margins is 1.5 points, while their rebound rates and effective FG percentages are nearly identical.

The difference in this one is Boise State’s ability to lock down on defense a bit more while the Buffs score at a higher rate. The Broncos are a deliberate team, ranking 285th in the nation in pace of play.

Roddie Anderson III vs New Mexico | BSU Athletics

Colorado does have a turnover rate of 17.7% this season, ranking 258th in the nation. Meanwhile, the Broncos are forcing a turnover on 16.5% of opponents’ possessions.

Against Oregon in the Pac-12 Title game, the Buffs turned it over on almost 20% of their possessions.

BSU is averaging 3.3 more scoring chances per game than their opponents. CU is averaging 1.1 fewer scoring opportunities per game than its opponents.

If Boise State can create some turnovers and top their season average of 6.8 fast-break points per game, it could go a long way in their success.

Boise State is in the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season, the first time in program history they have done that.

The Broncos will look for another program first: A tournament win. In nine appearances, BSU has gone 0-9.

If the Broncos can control the turnover battle, they should be able to make the short trip west to Indy for a date with Florida on Friday.

My Pick: Boise State

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