The Boise State men’s basketball team plays San Diego State on Saturday night in one of its marquee home games of the season.
It’s perhaps Broncos fans’ best chance to deliver on coach Leon Rice’s challenge to sell out Taco Bell Arena. He said last month he would “wade across” the Boise River if the Broncos played in front of a packed house this season.
More than 8,700 tickets have been distributed for Saturday’s game (8 p.m., ESPN2) — and Rice surely sparked more sales Wednesday with a Twitter post featuring him “training” for his chilly moment in the river in a cold tub.
The river has ranged from 37 to 42 degrees this month.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Idaho Statesman
“If you fill up Taco Bell Arena and sell it out ... I will walk across the Boise River,” Rice says in the video.
Last month, he said: “I think probably the deal has to be if they sell it out, I will swim across. I’ll find a shallow spot and wade across, let’s say that. I don’t want to be swept away.”
Boise State beat Fresno State 70-64 on Tuesday night in Fresno to improve to 14-3 overall and 4-1 in the Mountain West. San Diego State, picked to finish second in the Mountain West and one spot ahead of Boise State, is 11-4, 3-1. Both are chasing Nevada (15-3, 4-0), which visits Boise State on Feb. 14. That’s a 9 p.m. weeknight game on Valentine’s Day, which will make it difficult to sell out.
Boise State’s school record for a home crowd is 12,649 for a 1993 game vs. Idaho. The largest crowd during Rice’s tenure was 12,193 for a 2011 game vs. Idaho. The largest crowd for a Mountain West game is 11,308 for a 2015 game vs. Fresno State, which was the last official sellout.
The listed capacity for the arena is 12,480. The Broncos have drawn 7,538 and 7,557 fans for their two home conference games this season.