Though many have seen Boise State men's basketball team having to face Dayton in its home arena a bit of a slight, the Broncos expressed no such concerns Tuesday at its news conference in advance of Wednesday's game. Coach Leon Rice noted his team's success on the road this season when asked about it.
"This is another one of these kind of environments, another one of these great opportunities," he said. "And we know we're playing a really, really good team. And so I think it was just nothing beyond that. It was like, great, we're in the NCAA Tournament, we get to go play Dayton, and just happens to be in Dayton. So I don't think we made an issue out of it. I think the media has made a big issue out of it, but college basketball players want to play basketball and we get an opportunity to play basketball here."
In Wednesday's Statesman, I'll have a story on senior Derrick Marks, much in the same place he was two years ago — off a rough Mountain West tournament game, coming into Dayton. I also will take a look at what Rice called a measurement that's "a bit antiquated": the RPI.
On Tuesday morning, USA Today had a nice profile of Dayton and why it's become the home of the First Four.
A few quick highlights from Rice and Boise State players
Rice on returning to Dayton: "I'm not sure they'll embrace us the way they did last time. We brought in a food taster just in case on all our foods just to make sure everything is OK. But it's been a great place. And it is, it's exciting to get back, and they do such a good job with the NCAA Tournament atmosphere here."
Senior Rob Heyer on the excitement level of Nick Duncan after a 3: "It's big for us. The only thing I ask Nick not to do is slap my hard too hard. Because he has a tendency to do that. Other than that, his excitement is like bringing the crowd on the court. We need that excitement. It brings the rest of the team up. Makes the team make bigger plays the next possession or whatever. So I enjoy it."
Senior Derrick Marks on the potential of it being his last game in a Boise State uniform: Before practice we had a talk that us seniors feel like our back is up against the wall. And we don't want tomorrow to be our last time that we put on a Boise State jersey. So we're going to do everything we can for that not to happen.
Sophomore Nick Duncan on being the taller team against Dayton: "A little different in this game. I think every game we match up with height but obviously it's good going in with a little bit of height for our team. We're just going to stick to our own game plan, just focus on what we can control and go in and play the hardest we can."
Dayton coach Archie Miller on Boise State: " I'll also tell you that for anyone who is building this as a home game or a walk-through or, hey, they've got such an advantage, I just think they're really underappreciating how good Boise State is. If we were playing a regular season game at home versus Boise State you'd be sick to your stomach because you know what you're in for. ... They're very startling in terms of what they're able to do personnel-wise."