Ready for a rematch?
The Boise State men will make their 10th appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the past 11 seasons May 8 in Blacksburg, Va.
The Broncos (15-15) and 19th-ranked Bulls (19-6) played each other this season, a 4-0 South Florida win Feb. 20 in Montgomery, Ala. It was part of a tough nonconference slate for the Broncos, who at one point were 6-13. Playing their best tennis of the year, they are looking forward to another shot.
“A chance for a little redemption — we’re playing a lot better than when we played before. We’ve all picked it up toward the end of the season,” junior Brian Foley said.
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The winner plays May 9 against the winner of No. 14 Virginia Tech and East Tennessee State.
Boise State won the Mountain West Tournament last weekend in Albuquerque, N.M., the team’s fourth straight conference title. With only seven players on the roster due to attrition and incoming players not qualified, the Broncos, with only one senior, were forced to need all hands on deck.
“This has been one of the most special years of my life,” coach Greg Patton said. “We had this rag-tag bunch, and they believed. There’s been such a transformation.”
As one of the final teams announced in the field of 64, Patton told his team he thought it would have to play at No. 2 Baylor. But the USF draw elicited some excitement, with the chance to avenge a loss, and avoiding one of the sport’s powerhouses right off the bat, thanks to a strong early schedule and late-season success. The Broncos will be looking for their first NCAA Tournament win since 2009.
“We’re dangerous, we’re like a character out of (a horror movie),’’ Patton said. “It’s exhilarating to come up from the ashes like we have. ... They’ve truly earned this opportunity.’’