It may be too early to label this game as the biggest game of the season for the Boise State Broncos, but it is certainly up there.
This game will be a test of Boise State's ability to bounce back. After holding a lead for most of the game against Oregon, the Broncos fell short and lost 68-63 against the twenty-third ranked team in the nation.
However, the Broncos will have to turn around and face another tough team. The SMU Mustangs come in at 4-2, having a notable win against Pittsburgh.
What's at stake
This isn't a mid-season tournament nor is it a conference game. However, that doesn't mean the game means nothing.
A win for either team would be considered a "quality win". SMU will have to come in and play in a very tough atmosphere. On the flip side, the Mustangs are a very capable side and a win for the Broncos will show they have the ability to hang with the big guys.
For Boise State this is also a game for them to get their season back on track. After a few losses to the College of Charleston and Mississippi State, they came back with convincing victories over Western Michigan and Presbyterian. Despite falling short of an upset over Oregon, the team has shown great improvement over the past week.
Keys to victory
The visiting Mustangs will have to limit Boise State's three-point opportunities. When the Broncos get hot, it is very tough to overcome them. They shot 39.3% from three against Oregon, and is the reason they lead for such a long time.
Boise State will have to keep SMU from out-rebounding them. SMU averages 41.2 rebounds per game, while the Broncos average only 38. Boise State will also have to get hot and stay hot from long range. Without that, it will be very difficult to keep up with SMU.
For SMU, junior Semi Ojeleye will be the key player to an SMU victory. Averaging 19.3 points per game and 8.3 rebounds, he will be a force to reckon with in the paint. Not to mention he is 50% from three so far this season.
Chandler Hutchison has been the man who has stepped up into the spotlight of Boise State basketball. After Anthony Drmic graduated and James Webb III declared for the NBA Draft, many fans asked "Who will be the next star?" Hutchison was the answer of many, and he has delivered. Almost averaging a double-double (16.7 PPG and 9.5 RPG), the junior guard will need to play well to lift the Broncos.
The game will be at Boise State's Taco Bell Arena. Tip off is 9:00 EST.