Skip to content

VIDEO: Boise State-ment: We belong in the Big Dance!

Mar 9, 2013, 7:04 PM EDT

Air Force Boise St Basketball AP

This has been an epic season for the Mountain West. Today was no exception, as Boise State took down Steve Fisher and the SDSU Aztecs 69-65, making a statement that should carry them to the MWC tournament and beyond.┬áThe league may get five teams into the NCAA tournament this year – the same total number of berths as are predicted for the likes of the Big 12, ACC and Pac-12, and far more than the SEC is likely to manage.

Of the five tourney-worthy programs, Boise may have flown the farthest beneath the national radar. San Diego State, UNLV and New Mexico got press from day one of the season, and have long-standing basketball history to fall back on. Colorado State came along during the season, and has a well-known coach in Larry Eustachy.

But who are these Broncos, with their blue-and-orange floor? We knew they were good at football, but hoops?

For starters, let’s look at Derrick Marks, who poured in 38 points to lead his team over Colorado State, but got himself overshadowed by Doug McDermott. Marks, along with three other players, was suspended earlier this season. How well the Broncos play with him is impressive. More impressive, for a team that hopes to maintain momentum going into the postseason, is what they did without him: they went into Wyoming and won in a tough road environment.

Marks is a great player. Boise State has had great players before, but the program is 0-5 in NCAA tournament games. Let’s talk about this being a great team, and why.

That, we can lay at the doorstep of Leon Rice, the little-known (for now, at least) head coach who has led Boise State since 2010. If you wonder how a quiet guy can go to a remote mountain location and win a bunch of games, the template is right there: Rice was Mark Few’s assistant at Gonzaga for eleven years. Rice showed his mettle on that tough day in January, when he suspended four crucial players for a league road game: he’s running a team – not a loose group of players who happen to wear the same shirts – and he’s building for March success, not a single league win.

Beating San Diego State was a big statement win for the Broncos. If you don’t know Marks, Watkins, Elorriaga, Rice and friends yet, you will very, very soon.
This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Latest Posts
  1. St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin throws out first pitch at Yankees game (VIDEO)

    May 27, 2015, 5:38 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    The 6-foot-6 southpaw showed off his arm, and was accurate in doing so.

  2. Bill Self wins Hall of Fame’s humanitarian award

    May 27, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    150527_billSelf Getty Images

    Self and his wife created the Assists Foundation.

  3. Auburn center Trayvon Reed released from jail

    May 27, 2015, 11:09 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Reed broke a cop’s finger while resisting a shoplifting arrest.

  4. Nebraska and Tim Miles have agreed on a contract extension

    May 27, 2015, 10:28 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Miles is 47-49 in three years with Nebraska.

  5. UAA mixtape of DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2017

    May 26, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    (Kelly Kline/Under Armour) (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

    DeAndre Ayton finally got a chance to play this spring and delivered in a big way.

  6. Top-150 Class of 2016 point guard is focused on seven schools

    May 26, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

    walker

    Point guard CJ Walker is focused on seven schools during the recruiting process.

  7. Report: Class of 2016 four-star wing considering college among playing options for next season

    May 26, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    adidas adidas

    Four-star guard Maverick Rowan has a choice to make for his basketball future in the immediate future.

  8. Minnesota lands transfer wing from the SEC

    May 26, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT

    FAYETTEVILLE, AR - FEBRUARY 24:  Davonte Fitzgerald #15 of the Texas A&M Aggies goes to the basket and is guarded by Anthlon Bell #5 of the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on February 24, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Minnesota closed out its 2015 recruiting efforts with its second incoming transfer of the offseason.

  9. Five observations from EYBL Minneapolis

    May 26, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT

    (Jon Lopez/Nike) (Jon Lopez/Nike)

    The spring grassroots season is over and another spring EYBL season is complete.

  10. The Atlantic 10 announces their conference play pairings

    May 26, 2015, 3:21 PM EDT

    Atlantic 10 logo A-10 A 10

    The schedule isn’t out yet, but each team now knows who they will play and where they will play them.

  11. Norfolk State to lose talented center to transfer

    May 26, 2015, 2:01 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    RaShid Gaston averaged 15.5 points and 9.6 boards.

  12. Report: USC lands Louisville transfer, former top 50 recruit

    May 26, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Shaqquan Aaron could never crack Rick Pitino’s rotation.

  13. There’s only one way the NCAA gets UNC investigation wrong: a 2016 postseason ban

    May 26, 2015, 12:42 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The only people that would punish are the people that had nothing to do with the violations in the first place.

  14. Chris Collins has signed a contract extension with Northwestern

    May 26, 2015, 10:54 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Collins has Northwestern trending in the right direction.

  15. Austin Rivers plays pick-up against LSU freshman Antonio Blakeney, Rutgers freshman Corey Sanders (VIDEO)

    May 25, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    Kelly Kline/Getty Images Kelly Kline/Getty Images

    Austin Rivers played against some exciting rising freshmen in Antonio Blakeney and Corey Sanders.

  16. Charlotte transfer down to four schools

    May 25, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT

    dorn

    Conference USA Freshman of the Year winner Torin Dorn is focusing on four schools.