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Interesting article re BSU's entrance into WAC ...

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Interesting article re BSU's entrance into WAC ...

Postby Guest » Wed Feb 14, 2001 1:18 pm

here it is.....it's nice to see that some people do have some regard for the conference - & for bsu, it is definitely a step up ...

Tuesday, February 13, 2001
Big West doesn't stack up vs. WAC
Boise State men might expect rude welcome

By Derek Samson
The Idaho Statesman

Boise State basketball coach Rod Jensen is so concerned with his team's current league that he pays little attention to the Western Athletic Conference.

Good thing.

Boise State is fighting to finish in the upper half of the Big West, which makes the move to the WAC next season scary.

The WAC rates ahead of the Mountain West and Conference USA in most power rankings. It is ranked the ninth-best conference by the Sagarin Rankings, seventh by TeamRankings.com and seventh by the College RPI.

The Big West is 17th in Sagarin, 18th in TeamRankings and 19th in College RPI.

"It's the biggest jump of a team from one conference to another that there is," Jensen said.

Boise State (No. 144 in Sagarin) ranks ninth out of next season's 10 WAC teams in the Sagarin. Yet, the Broncos are fourth in the nine-team Big West in Sagarin, third in TeamRankings and third in College RPI.

The WAC is a run-and-gun league, with three teams in the top seven nationally in scoring going into last weekend. It was the nation's highest-scoring conference at the midseason point.

TCU is No. 1 (95 points per game). Fresno State ranks sixth (84.1 ppg), followed by UTEP (84.0).

The WAC was 81-29 in non-conference games this season. It has seven teams in the top 100 of College RPI. The Big West landed two -- Utah State and UC Irvine.

"The challenge is exciting," Jensen said. "It helped us in recruiting this year, and I know it will help us in recruiting in future years."

The WAC hopes to place three teams -- Fresno State, SMU and Tulsa -- in the NCAA Tournament, and two more -- UTEP and TCU -- in the NIT.

And -- gulp -- the WAC should be just as strong next season. TCU leaves the WAC next season, but other top returning teams won't lose much.

No. 20 Fresno State returns four starters next season, including freshman guard Tito Maddox, a candidate for player of the year, and center Melvin Ely, a senior who is expected to be granted another year by the NCAA.

Tulsa, which came within five points of the Final Four, returns point guard Greg Harrington and forward Kevin Johnson.

Hawaii swingman Predrag Savovic is back, along with UTEP forward Roy Smallwood. And the guard tandem of Damon Hancock and Quinton Ross should have SMU in the title hunt.

"Their 6-8 guys are different than our 6-8 guys," Jensen said. "Their 6-3 guys are different than our 6-3 guys. It's a mature, more athletic body. Those are guys we have to get."


* Boise State notebook, 2C


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