I just got done watching two future Idaho State basketball opponents on the Big Ten Network Sunday: Long Beach State at Wisconsin. The Bengals are going to have their hands full with both of these clubs. The Badgers are the defending Big Ten champions, but they've lost several key players off that team. They do return Marcus Landry, however, the defending Most Outstanding Player from the Big Ten tournament, and he showed why on Sunday. Landry had 23 points, including a critical three-pointer down the stretch that helped hold off the 49ers. The 6-7 power forward blocked several shots, and was a monster on the boards. He'll be a load for the Bengals when they travel to Madison Dec. 9.
But Long Beach State, which won only six games last year (including one against Idaho State) is not going to be any patsy when they come to Holt Arena on Nov. 25. Led by defending Big West scoring champ Donovan Morris, they were tied with the Badgers with a minute and a half left in the game on Sunday, before Landry and Co. made a couple of big plays to clinch the win. Morris was quiet in the first half against the Badgers, scoring only two points, but he went on a 10-point run in the second half that left the 49ers tied with 4:33 to play. The 49ers also feature four very athletic freshmen recruited by former Gonzaga and Minnesota Coach Dan Monsen, and their quickness and athleticism gave the Badgers fits all day.
The 49ers certainly won't be intimidated by Holt Arena. They led BYU, which has now won a nation's best 48 straight at home, by 7 points at half in the Marriott Center on Friday, before losing 75-65. Then LBSU gave Wisconsin, which is 108-7 in the Kohl Center, a game to the finish on Sunday. I've got the DVR fired up for another future Bengal opponent, Idaho, as the Vandals play at Michigan State Sunday evening.
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