SCOTT SLANT: Chibuzo Agbo factor, O’Mar Stanley factor

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Wednesday Weekly…February 14, 2024.

When Tyson Degenhart is scoring in the upper teens, and Max Rice, Chibuzo Agbo and O’Mar Stanley are scoring in the mid-teens, it usually means Boise State is rolling. Degenhart is getting it done, and although Rice has cooled since his 35-point game at New Mexico, he has been pretty consistent of late. The guys who have fallen off are Agbo and Stanley—and as good and as competitive as they are, you wouldn’t expect that to last long.  

Agbo was shut out from three-point range at Utah State for the first time since November.  He’s scored a combined 12 points on 5-for-19 shooting the past two games. Those are the first two times in Mountain West play Agbo’s been in single-digits. With Stanley, it’s been a little bit on the offensive end, but more about rebounding. He had 14 boards in the big upset at New Mexico, and he only has a combined nine rebounds in the three games since. When Stanley is cleaning the glass, the Broncos are a tough out. I expect this mid-week bye has come at a good time for both Agbo and Stanley—physically and mentally. They should be hungry Saturday evening against Fresno State in ExtraMile Arena.


A lot is being made of Boise State entering the “soft” stretch of its Mountain West schedule, beginning with Fresno State. That’s a dangerous notion. All you have to do is go back to the road game against the Bulldogs, when they staged a furious second half rally from a 16-point deficit and actually led with two minutes to go. That was one of those nights when Agbo was clutch, and the Broncos won 72-68. So who’s after Fresno State? It’s San Jose State next Tuesday in ExtraMile Arena. The Spartans are now 2-10 in Mountain West play. Go ahead and sleep on them. Last month, SJSU led Boise State until less than five minutes remained before the Broncos won 78-69. That was one of those nights when Stanley was clutch, with his monster double-double—30 points and 11 rebounds. 


Boise State has five Quad 1 wins this season, which is great. But inquiring minds want to know: how many losses are too many when you’re talking about an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament? The Broncos’ only “bad loss” was at home to UNLV, although that one isn’t looking so bad after what the Rebels did in the Pit last Saturday. But Boise State has 16 wins and eight losses, as many defeats as it had during the entire regular season last year leading into the Mountain West Tournament. Raise your hand if you trust the NCAA selection committee. I thought so. Now if the Broncos do go, say, 6-1 the rest of the way—and make at least the semifinals in the Mountain West Tournament—they’ll probably be fine. It’s possible. 


It may have been Stew Morrill Night and all with the place rockin’ in Logan last Saturday night, but the bottom line is Boise State got buzz-sawed on the floor by Utah State in the 80-61 loss. Both ends were to blame. Defensively, the Aggies got an extraordinary number of layins and were free from three-point land. Offensively, well, a lot is made of the fact that Boise State went almost 5½ minutes without scoring in the first half, but more glaring is the fact that the Broncos went more than eight minutes without a field goal. Two free throws by Cam Martin broke it up a little bit. They missed 14 straight shots in that stretch. That long a lull is really rare for this team.


As of this writing, Bush Hamdan is still the offensive coordinator at Boise State. But he could be filling the same spot at Kentucky at any time now. When Ashton Jeanty announced he was staying with the Broncos in December, Hamdan was out there with a great post about Jeanty’s commitment and love for the Boise State program. Maybe coaches just shouldn’t say stuff like that, because they never know what curveballs may come their way. This would be life-changing money for Hamdan and his family, and there’s not much the Broncos can do about that. It doesn’t mean he is betraying his alma mater. With the Alabama defections to the NFL, and the UCLA openings under new coach DeShaun Foster, and now this, it just goes to show you: in today’s new world of college football, the coaching carousel will just never end.


We’ve bought a little more time with George Holani—at least more time hearing his name. The former Boise State running back’s invitation to the NFL Combine is huge for him, even if it doesn’t result in an NFL Draft pick. The guy who began his career with a big game at Florida State and finished it with a 66-yard touchdown run against UCLA is going to get his audience in front of NFL scouts in an effort to prove he is big enough, fast enough and strong enough. And that his injury history is not a concern (that might be the most important thing). This is the 20th straight year the Broncos have had a Combine invite. Their NFL Draft streak is currently 14 years. That’s because in 2009 both Jeremy Childs, who left early for a shot at the NFL, and Ian Johnson were Combine participants, but they went undrafted.  


Catching up on National Letter of Intent Day a week ago, such as it was. For as far back as most of us can remember, the first Wednesday in February has been rather festive for Boise State football. But, of course, it’s been a shadow of its former self since early signing day materialized seven years ago. The Broncos signed just one scholarship player, and we won’t see him for another year. Linebacker Syncere Brackett, a 6-2, 230-pounder from Corona, CA, will grayshirt this fall and join the program next January. According to Boise State, the entire 2024 class is the highest-rated one in the Mountain West in 22 years.  


Chris Vannini of The Athletic had some goods late last week on Oregon State and Washington State and the Mountain West. Vannini found details on the Pac-2’s contract with the MW through a public records request. If all 12 Mountain West football schools join the Pac-12 no later than the 2026-27 season, there will be no exit fee. However, there would be significant withdrawal fees if OSU and WSU invite some but not all of the Mountain West schools, starting at $10 million for one institution and going up from there. Commissioner Gloria Nevarez had leverage, and she used it. The Beavers and Cougars, meanwhile, say these are their priorities, in order: 1) join an existing power conference, 2) build back a power conference under the Pac-12 banner, and 3) a reverse merger with at least some of the Mountain West.


Usually this guy gets some local pub leading into the Super Bowl, but Joe Bleymaier kind of flew under the radar this year. Bleymaier, the Bishop Kelly grad and son of former Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier, just finished his eighth season on Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs staff with a certain big victory over San Francisco Sunday night in Las Vegas. Bleymaier started as an offensive quality control guy with the Chiefs in 2016—prior to this past season, he was promoted to passing game coordinator. Think about that. He’s had a pretty good quarterback to work with. Now Bleymaier has three Super Bowl rings.


The Idaho Steelheads sure seem to play Rapid City a lot. They’ve got the Rush again this week—on the road for games today, Friday and Saturday (the first game of the series is actually at 10:35 this morning). The Steelheads are 30-13-3 and remain in second place in the ECHL Western Division. Their offense is still lethal—the Steelies lead the ECHL in scoring at 4.37 goals per game. They’re just giving up more goals than last season. Idaho has been really good on the power play, leading the league by converting almost 34 percent on the man-advantage.


I don’t know how any team could be rolling as much as College of Idaho is right now. Sure, the Yotes have a 22-2 record, an 18-game winning streak and a No. 3 national ranking. But it’s the way they’ve been doing it. The Yotes have averaged—averaged—101 points over the past nine games. The defending NAIA national champions are on pace for another magnificent March. C of I is on the road for games at Evergreen State and Northwest this weekend. They Yotes beat those teams last month by counts of 107-40 and 108-70, respectively.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by BACON BOISE…fresh breakfast and brunch every day!

February 14, 2013: The Middleton girls basketball team sees its 72-game winning streak, the longest in the nation, come to an end in the first round of the Idaho 4A Tournament. The Vikings, who hadn’t lost since November of 2010, were upended by Twin Falls 42-36. Middleton’s remarkable streak included two state championships and an undefeated 2011-12 season.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.) 


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