LEXINGTON, Ky. — As if trying to knock off Kentucky at home isnt hard enough, Mother Nature did what even Julius Randle cant: Delay Boise States arrival in Lexington.
After flying out of Boise on Monday morning, the Broncos were slated to land in Kentucky from Chicago at approximately 3:30 p.m. ET, but the cold snap enveloping much of the country forced the teams flight to be canceled. Instead, Boise State took a bus from the Windy City and arrived right around midnight ahead of Tuesdays 7 p.m. MT game, televised on ESPN.
Were not going to use it as an excuse, Boise State coach Leon Rice said. The only thing that makes it difficult is the team were playing Tuesday. Our guys are pretty resilient, so I think theyll handle it well.
Initially, Boise State was supposed to practice at a local high school for an hour and then for another hour at Rupp Arena, but instead the Broncos first time on the Wildcats floor will be for a Tuesday morning shootaround.
As a coach, you always want that last practice to tie up the loose ends, so thats probably the toughest part, Rice said.
Without the chance to practice Monday, the team had to get creative Rice planned a quick walkthrough in the hotel conference room after the bus arrived, and said the team likely would have an extra one at the hotel Tuesday. The 9 p.m. ET tipoff softens the blow of the late arrival, too.
You cant control everything you cant make Jeff (Elorriaga) 7-foot-2, junior Anthony Drmic said. So when you travel, theres the chance this can happen, and you have to deal with it.
Drmics crack about the Broncos senior guard was emblematic of the teams ability to cope with curveballs. Though it is one of the biggest road tests in school history, the team was calm and adapted. On the bus ride, some slept, some did classwork, and some studied film.
Theyve handled it well, and handled it well in the past, Rice said. My first year (in 2011), we got caught on Donner Pass on our way to Nevada. We had to eat one of the freshmen.
No freshmen were harmed on that trip, a 72-66 win on Feb. 26, 2011, and all were accounted for Monday night. On Tuesday, the Broncos face some freshmen in Kentuckys lineup that have feasted on others, like Randle (17.9 points per game, 12.1 rebounds per game), the potential No. 1 pick in next years NBA Draft. Rice said he feels like we still got a lot done in readying for the challenge.
On the bus, you dont have a court, obviously, so that is hard, but what weve been working hard on all week, drilling on the last few days, weve been working on it all year, Drmic said.
Drmic, the Broncos top scorer (20.4 ppg), missed the last game an 80-52 win over Carroll on Thursday with an illness, but he will be in the starting lineup Tuesday. It was the first game he had missed since Dec. 22, 2011 and only the second in his career. While Drmic exuded the Aussie calm hes always owned off the floor, part of Rice hopes Mondays setback will get Drmic, and by proxy, his teammates, a little more motivated.
We dont allow complaining, and hopefully it just makes Anthony mad, Rice said. He plays best when hes mad.
Dave Southorn: 377-6420, Twitter: @IDS_Southorn