It is March, the month where college basketball dominates the American sports landscape, and the Boise State men's basketball team - yes, Boise State - is part of the conversation and all that comes with it.
Bubble watches and bracketology. Seeding and scoreboard watching. Mocks and madness.
The Broncos assured they will remain part of the NCAA Tournament picture all the way until Selection Sunday in two weeks with an emphatic 78-65 victory against Colorado State on Saturday night.
It adds another signature win to Boise State's résumé, alongside a road win at Creighton and a home win against UNLV. It means the Broncos will finish no worse than 8-8 in the Mountain West, generally recognized as one of the top three conferences in the country this season.
With bubble teams around the country faltering, the Broncos earned their fourth consecutive victory before a packed house at Taco Bell Arena and solidified their case for the school's first-ever at-large berth to the NCAAs.
"We've done a whole heck of a lot for ourselves these last two weeks," coach Leon Rice said. "Where other teams had opportunities to get things done, they didn't, and we've certainly helped ourselves, no question at all."
Have they done enough?
It's an impossible question to answer at this point, though ESPN has moved them into the field of 68 for now.
The Broncos have at least three games left - at UNLV on Tuesday, San Diego State at home Saturday and in the first round of the Mountain West Tournament - to convince the selection committee they should go dancing.
The fans need no further convincing.
Rice, in just his third season, has made Boise State basketball relevant in a football town. Questions about the hoops team's hopes are far outpacing inquiries about the start of spring practice.
The Broncos are relevant enough to pack Taco Bell Arena. Saturday's season-high crowd of 11,238 was the third time Boise State eclipsed the 10,000 mark this season - and a fourth such game is to be expected against San Diego State.
Boise State is 13-1 at home this season.
"I was standing there looking around at all the fans before the game," Rice said of the black-clad fans who made the program's first "blackout" a success. "And I was thinking about the first exhibition when I could hear the crickets out there. To see where we've come, it's like our team. We're not going to let up. In a week, we're going to have another one of the biggest games we've ever had."
All of this is happening ahead of schedule.
Next year was supposed to be this team's year. Next year, when the juniors are seniors and the sophomores are juniors and the freshmen are sophomores.
"When people asked me in the preseason, I was just worried about how young we are. They're playing a lot better and have made more progress than I could have imagined in two years with this group," Rice said.
But it was all supposed to happen. At least that's the way Rice sees it.
The thing that was able to lure Rice away from Gonzaga - which, oh by the way, is going to be No. 1 in the nation Monday - was the fact that he didn't have to imagine it happening in Boise.
He could see proof, even if it was in another sport.
"Everybody wants to talk about doing it. But you can do it in Boise. They've done it on the blue and at the highest of levels. Boise State football and Gonzaga basketball are very similar," he said.
On the bubble, but moving in the right direction, Rice hasn't hidden the goals from his team.
"It's not a pressure thing," he said. "It is here's where we are, here's what's out there, here's what we can accomplish."
It is March and Boise is falling for this basketball team. Talk about madness.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444