Surge Broncos head to New Mexico to ‘keep going’ amidst tough hardships. – After world

Boise State basketball coach Leon Rice has been known to occasionally sit down for a hand of blackjack or toss the dice at a craps table when he’s in Las Vegas for recruiting, Mountain West Media Day or otherwise reasons is.

So, of course, he compared Boise State’s eight-game winning streak and next week’s busy schedule to craps.

“When the dice are hot, you want to get them back in your hands as soon as possible,” Rice said. “You don’t want the stick guys slowing down the game. You’re like, ‘Let’s get on with it, let’s get on with it’.”

Boise State (11-4, 2-0 MW) delivered an impressive 85-70 win in Nevada on Wednesday night and has eight straight games ahead of Saturday’s game in New Mexico. The 3:30 p.m. tip on FS1 in The Pit was added to Boise State’s schedule earlier this week to help reschedule problems in the league as games were postponed due to COVID.

The Broncos also had a Thursday make-up game on the schedule next week at Utah State, giving Rice and the Broncos their toughest five-game stretch schedule in his 12 years at Boise. Boise State arrived back in Boise from Reno Thursday afternoon and will turn around and fly to Albuquerque less than 24 hours later.

Boise State will host the Air Force next Tuesday, play Utah State next Thursday and San Diego State a week beginning Saturday. The home straight includes games in Logan, Utah and San Diego, California in under 48 hours, and it all adds up to five games in five different states in 11 days.

But the Broncos are eager for the challenge, at least for now, given their current eight-game winning streak and how well they’ve played. Boise State has not lost since Nov. 30.

“We have a lot of games ahead of us, but we’re excited,” said guard Emmanuel Akot. “Basketball players like to do that. I think our team is up to the challenge of having all these games and I think that makes it even more fun for us.”

New Mexico (7-9, 0-3 MW) struggled in year No. 1 of the Richard Pitino era, but the Lobos have been looking a lot better lately. They have been competitive in most games and held a 17-point lead at home to Utah State last week before losing a close game.

The Lobos are led by guards Jamal Mashburn Jr. (18.5 ppg), Jaelen House (15.5 ppg) and KJ Jenkins (10.2 ppg).

Playing in The Pit is never easy either, making Saturday’s matchup a sneaky, hard trap game for the Broncos.

“You can tell they’re more comfortable with their system,” Rice said. “You look great. … That first half of the Utah State game, holy cow, they were great. They looked untenable in that first half. The guards are really explosive and they can score, they move the ball and play unselfishly.”

Boise State enters the game at No. 40 on the rankings as the season’s best winner, while New Mexico sits at No. 217.

Bronco Nation News is traveling to Albuquerque and will have a reporter on-site for exclusive coverage. Follow Bronco Nation News’ social media channels for live pre- and post-game shows featuring interviews, analysis and more.

Rice met with the media Friday afternoon to discuss current games and preview Saturday’s game in New Mexico. Here’s the full interview:

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