Friday, April 11, 2014

Idaho Primer

As you are most likely aware, Idaho will be joining the Big Sky next season. If you are like me, you don't really know all that much about Idaho. They made it to the WAC title game, we know that much, but what else should we know about their team next season?

(Note: I'm just going through their roster. I will be the first to admit I may have something wrong, or there may be something I don't know. This is just meant to be a quick look at what they might look like next season.)

Last season, they finished 16-18, 7-9 in the WAC. Their strength was offense (so they will fit right into the Big Sky!), as they scored 1.05 PPP (154th in the country(, while allowing 1.12 PPP (312th in the country). The previous year, they scored 1.08 PPP (57th), and allowed 1.12 PPP (337th). They play at a relatively high pace - their tempo would have been the third fastest in the Big Sky after Eastern Washington and North Dakota.

Based on minutes played, they lose two of their top six players, including former Big Sky member Glen Dean, and Stephen Madison. Dean averaged 9.0 points and 2.4 assists, while Madison led the team at 20.1 points per game and 7.6 rebounds. So those are big losses, but there still should be some good returning talent on hand.

The leading scorer will likely be guard Connor Hill, who averaged 14.2 PPG this past season. He shot 41% on threes last season, while taking over seven of them per game. He shot 234 threes vs 127 twos, though that ratio is a good thing when you are shooting such a solid percentage. He doesn't grab many rebounds or create shots for others, but he doesn't turn the ball over either.

Getting him the ball will be the job of Mike Scott, who will also be a senior. He is an average scorer, but he had a nice 22.4 Assist Rate vs just a 13.7 TO Rate. He has the chance to be a good lead guard for the Vandals. Another guy that shows promise is guard Sekou Wiggs. As a freshman last season, he was third on the team in scoring, and third in rebounding. He doesn't have much of an outside shot yet, but he is relentless attacking the rim, and was 26th in the country in the rate of fouls that he drew. He shot 66% from the stripe, and if he can boost that up a little bit, he can be a big-time scorer for the Vandals this season.

A couple others guys to touch on is big man Ty Egbert, who was also solid as a freshman. He played 12 minutes a game, but showed flashes of being a good contributor. He shot 59% on his limited attempts (though he was awful at the FT line). Joining him up front could be Bira Seck, an excellent rebounder that snagged 11.1% of offensive rebounds and 19.2% of defensive rebounds.

As I look into the recruiting class for the teams, I will research more on them, but this was a quick look at their roster. Would appreciate any insight from those that are a bit more knowledgeable about the Vandals.

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  1. Just looking at their schedule from last year they had a few games against opponents that Big Sky fans know about namely: Montana (twice), Portland St., and Idaho St. Against Montana they lost by one at home and by 11 at Missoula. They beat Portland St. by one at Portland and beat Idaho St. by 4 on the road. With the loss of their leading scorer it appears to me that they will be in the middle to upper middle of the Big Sky standings at best.

  2. The UI-ISU game this season was in Boise, they played a bracket buster game in Pocatello in February 2013 (and UI won a close game).