Jeff Elorriaga

How good is Boise State when they are healthy?

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As always, Dan Hanner of RealGM.com did some terrific work this week as he broke down the Kenpom rating of teams that dealt with injuries to key players this season, looking at their numbers with and without that player.

Some of it is quite obvious: Duke, arguably the best team in the country when Ryan Kelly was injured back in January, will look like the best team in the country when he comes back healthy and scores 36 points in a win over Miami. It’s also interesting to see just how good Florida is — on both ends of the floor — when they are at full strength.

And while Hanner goes on to look at a good 20 teams, the most interesting, to me, are the numbers he came up with for Boise State. Here is the chart and the blurb he came up with for the Broncos:

source:

Boise St. has been climbing into brackets this week, and you might look at their ranking of 51 on kenpom.com and think they are not all that deserving. But Jeff Elorriaga, Mikey Thompson, Igor Hadziomerovic, Derrick Marks, and Kenny Buckner have all missed games this year including some key losses for the Broncos. When fully healthy, Boise St. has been the 33rd best team in the nation.

When healthy, the Broncos are 16-3 with wins at Creighton and at home against UNLV and Colorado State. They lost to Michigan State in East Lansing by four points. They won at Wyoming when that was still something that was impressive, and they did so while leading scorer Derrick Marks and three other players were suspended.

This is a good basketball team, and if they can win at UNLV tonight or beat San Diego State in Boise on Saturday, they’ll have a bid to the tournament all but locked up.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: