Since he took over the Boise State men’s basketball program in the spring of 2010, Leon Rice hasn’t had any luck convincing his former team to play a nonconference game at Taco Bell Arena.
That may be about to change.
According to San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Mark Zeigler, Gonzaga has talked about the possibility of leaving the West Coast Conference for the Mountain West as early as next season.
“Since August, I have spoken to six university presidents and/or athletic directors that have called inquiring about whether we are going to expand, and the Zags are one of them,” Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson told the Union-Tribune. “I guess the adjective I’d use is exploratory. Truthfully, what we’re trying to do here is better ourselves and we’re trying to understand what are your goals and ambitions, and what are the Mountain West’s goals and ambitions. Is there something there? … But obviously, they would enhance our basketball enterprise.”
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Before coming to Boise State, Rice spent 11 seasons on Mark Few’s staff at Gonzaga, and the two coaches remain good friends. Boise State last played Gonzaga on Dec. 9, 2000, winning 94-69 in Boise. The Broncos lead the all-time series 18-16.
The addition of Gonzaga to the Mountain West likely would help the conference return to being a multi-bid league. The Zags have made 19 straight trips to the NCAAs and are currently ranked No. 7 in the country.
The Broncos were among five Mountain West teams to qualify for the NCAA Tournament in 2013 and were one of three to go in 2015, but the past two seasons only the conference champion has advanced to the Big Dance.