Welcome to Part II of our NIT preview of Boise State. You can find Part I here where I gave an in-depth look at each of Boise’s 7 primary rotation players. Today we’ll look at how similar the Broncos are to previous UW opponents and what that might mean for Wednesday’s result. At the end I’ll also give a quick refresher on the rule changes you’ll see in effect tomorrow night.
Boise State has a very good defense overall but one of the things they really struggle with is creating turnovers. The Broncos rank just 297th in turnover percentage on defense forcing one on 16.3% of possessions. So far this season Washington has fared well against teams that struggle to create takeaways. The Huskies are 9-3 against teams with a percentage of 17.3% or less with the losses coming against Stanford and UCLA.
Boise State is the best defensive rebounding team in the country. They’re very tall and do an effective job at boxing out. Normally that’s a good thing but oddly the Huskies have fared well against the best defensive rebounding teams. UW is 5-1 against teams that allow defensive rebounds on 26.3% or fewer possessions. The Broncos lead the nation at 18.3%. It should be noted though that the best team they faced in this category was Gonzaga who blew them out and that Boise is significantly better than anyone else in this regard. The Huskies are also 10-0 against the worst defensive rebounding teams they’ve faced and somehow 5-11 against the decent rebounding teams.
The Huskies have a hard time developing a free flowing offense that results in assists and an even harder time against defenses good at disrupting that. However, the Huskies have had success against teams that typically don’t prevent teams from sharing the ball. UW is 11-1 against teams with an Assist per Field Goal Made ratio on defense of 51.3% or greater with the lone loss coming to Virginia Tech. Boise State has a total of 51.7%.
The same is true of the Washington defense going against stagnant offenses. The Huskies have gone 9-0 this year against teams with an A/FGM ratio of 50.9% or lower. Boise State comes in at 48% which suggests they don’t have the great ball movement usually necessary against a zone.
Three Point Shooting
About halfway through the season the Husky 3-point defense finally started clicking. By and large they’ve had success against teams that are reliant on 3-pointers. Washington is 6-2 against teams shooting at least 37.6% from deep and 7-4 against teams that take at least 41% of their shots from beyond the arc. Boise State fits into both categories as they shoot 37.9% from 3-point range and those shots make up 41.9% of their total.
Boise State is a very good if not elite defensive team with an overall defensive efficiency of 97.5 which is 8% better than the national average. For context, UW led the Pac-12 in conference play with a mark of 100.7. Washington lost to the two best defenses they’ve played so far (Gonzaga and Providence) and have struggled against the best defensive teams out there. UW is 8-12 against teams with an efficiency of 102.8 or lower and 12-0 against everyone else.
Unsurprisingly there’s a similar trend for offensive efficiency. Boise State is a worse offensive team than defensive with an efficiency number of 110.6 which will be the 13th best that Washington has faced this year. However, Washington is 9-12 against teams with a figure higher than 108.5 and thus 11-0 against all of the worst teams.
If you combine the above benchmarks the Huskies are 5-12 against teams that fall into both categories. Their wins have come against Kansas, Arizona, USC, Montana, and Oregon State among that group.
The zone defense works best when it has more length than the opponent and the Huskies have struggled against bigger teams. Washington is 6-9 against teams with an effective height of 77.7 inches or greater. Boise State has an effective height of 78 inches as they run out a starting lineup that goes 6’0, 6’6, 6’7, 6’9, 6’11. The similar teams in the Pac-12 include Utah, Stanford, and UCLA who all gave Washington problems.
NIT Rule Changes
For those of you who are unaware, the NCAA is using the NIT as a testing ground for a number of potential rule changes. For the most part the changes would bring things more in line with FIBA international rules. Here’s a summary of the changes for you:
- The three-point line will be extended by 20 inches to 22 feet 1.75 inches.
- The free throw lane will be widened from 12 feet to 16 feet to match the NBA.
- The game will be divided into four 10-minute quarters rather than the traditional two 20-minute halves.
- Because of the quarters change, there will be no more double bonus and no more one-and-ones. Teams will shoot two free throws starting with the 5th foul of each quarter.
- The shot clock will reset to 20 seconds following an offensive rebound rather than the full 30 seconds.
We’ll see how these changes affect the Huskies. A stretched out 3-point line probably only hurts the zone as there will be more space for teams to work in the middle of the court. I don’t think the free throw situation will have too heavy of an impact. It seems like most of UW’s free throw trips happen because of shooting fouls committed against Noah Dickerson so it shouldn’t impact them much. The offensive rebound rule probably helps since UW gives up so many and it limits the amount of time the opponent will have to get back in their offense
NCAA Tourney Pick’em
Last year I set up a NCAA tournament group for UWDP readers. I’ve renewed the group and you can sign up here. A reminder that last year I won the group. Hopefully you’ve all been studying up this season since UW has been a bigger part of the college basketball landscape and won’t let me get away with it again this year
You can follow me @UWDP_maxvroom for all your UW Men’s Basketball news and notes