Boise State Basketball

Boise State basketball heads to Air Force with MW Tournament seed on the line

Boise State basketball seniors James Reid (55) and Nick Duncan (13) lead the team in a huddle before the Broncos’ game against Fresno State in Boise on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Fresno State won 74-67.
Boise State basketball seniors James Reid (55) and Nick Duncan (13) lead the team in a huddle before the Broncos’ game against Fresno State in Boise on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Fresno State won 74-67. The Associated Press

The Boise State men’s basketball team has clinched a first-round bye in next week’s Mountain West Tournament and ensured itself of a third-place finish or a tie for third in the final Mountain West standings.

Boise State men's basketball coach Leon Rice met with the media on Friday to discuss Saturday's game at Air Force and next week's Mountain West Tournament.

The Broncos (18-10, 11-6) play at Air Force (11-19, 4-13) at 2 p.m. Saturday (Root Sports). Depending on what happens Saturday, the final day of the regular season in the conference, Boise State will be the third or fourth seed in the Mountain West Tournament.

First-round games begin Wednesday at Thomas & Mack Center, and Boise State will start in the quarterfinals Thursday (3:30 p.m. MT if the No. 4 seed, or 9:30 p.m. if the No. 3).

“We’re trying to take care of our business,” Boise State head coach Leon Rice said. “You think you know what the answer is, where you want to be at this point, but who knows. We’re trying to go take care of our business at Air Force and do a good job with that and still get better.”

The winner of the Colorado State-Nevada game (6 p.m. Saturday, ESPN3) clinches the Mountain West regular-season title and the No. 1 seed; the loser gets the No. 2 seed.

The Broncos currently sit in the No. 3 spot, a game up on Fresno State (18-11, 10-7). If Boise State defeats Air Force, the Broncos will earn the third seed, regardless of what the Bulldogs do against UNLV (11-19, 4-13).

Boise State defeated Air Force 76-66 in their first matchup this season.

However, because the Bulldogs swept the regular season matchups with the Broncos, they own the tie-breaker if both teams finish with an 11-7 conference record. If Fresno State defeats UNLV and Boise State falls at Air Force, the Bulldogs lock up the third seed and the Broncos will get the fourth seed.

Michael Katz: 208-377-6444, @MichaelLKatz

Boise State at Air Force

  • When: 2 p.m. Saturday
  • Where: Clune Arena, Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • Records: Boise State (18-10, 11-6 Mountain West); Air Force (11-19, 4-13)
  • Broadcast: Root Sports (Cable One 149/1149, Dish 414/5414, DirecTV 683)
  • Radio: KBOI 670 AM (Bob Behler, Abe Jackson), also available at broncosports.com
  • Vegas line: Boise State by 3  1/2
  • Last meeting: Boise State won at home 76-66 on Feb. 11.
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