The Boise State men’s basketball team didn’t play a game over the weekend, but its NCAA Tournament hopes still received a boost.
While the Broncos enjoyed the second bye of their Mountain West schedule, they simultaneously earned their first Quadrant One victory and secured the No. 2 seed in next week’s conference tournament.
Oregon, which Boise State defeated 73-71 on Dec. 1 at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, moved up to No. 72 in the RPI rankings as of Monday afternoon after the Ducks’ 98-93 win against No. 19 Arizona on Feb. 24. Road wins over teams with an RPI rank of 1-75 are classified as Quadrant One.
And thanks to Fresno State’s 78-68 loss to Wyoming on Feb. 24, the Broncos (22-6, 12-4 MW) locked up a second-place finish in the conference standings regardless of how they fare at San Diego State (17-10, 9-7) on Tuesday (9 p.m. MT, CBS Sports Network) or at home Saturday vs. Wyoming (5 p.m., AT&T Sports/ROOT).
“All of a sudden you’re getting a resume that’s better than people think,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “That’s why when some people tweet and speak in absolutes, nobody knows enough to be pessimistic. Nobody really does. You don’t know how it’s going to be judged. We don’t know where it’s going to end up. All that stuff, it will sort itself out.”
Boise State could pick up a second Quadrant One victory in the coming weeks. The Broncos dominated Loyola Chicago 87-53 at Taco Bell Arena on Nov. 28, and the Ramblers currently sit at No. 33 in the RPI rankings. For a home victory to fall into Quadrant One, a team must rank 1-30.
BSU women to honor seniors
Boise State seniors Shalen Shaw and Brooke Wheeler play their final game in Taco Bell Arena beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday against San Diego State.
Shaw will leave her mark in Boise State’s career record book, as she currently ranks 13th in scoring (1,136 points), 11th in field goals made (448), third in rebounds (846), tied for seventh in blocks (78) and 11th in assists (263).
“We would love to see (Shaw) go out a winner. She’s done a lot for our program,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said. “She’s played all five spots. She’s come off the bench. She’s started. She’ll do whatever it takes to be successful, and it’s been an honor and a pleasure to coach her.”
Wheeler, who suffered an ankle injury in practice on Jan. 12 and has missed the last 11 games, has played 44 games in her Bronco career after transferring from Snow College ahead of the 2016-17 season.
The Broncos (18-9, 12-4 MW) sit one game back of conference co-leaders Wyoming and UNLV with two games remaining. The Broncos would need to beat Wyoming in their Friday finale and have UNLV lose at least one of its two remaining games to earn a share of the regular-season conference crown. The Broncos have already locked up at least the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament.
The Broncos aren’t the only Gem State basketball teams chasing titles this season.
IDAHO MEN: The Vandals (20-8, 12-4) are tied with Weber State for second in the Big Sky standings with two games to go. Should Idaho win out, the Vandals would be guaranteed at least the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. The Vandals would need two wins and two Montana losses to move into first in the standings. Idaho closes out the regular season with home games against Northern Arizona on Thursday and Southern Utah on Saturday.
IDAHO WOMEN: The Vandals (15-12, 11-5) hit the road for their final two Big Sky regular-season games at Northern Arizona on Wednesday and at Southern Utah on Friday. Idaho is currently alone in second place in the conference standings, two games back of first-place Northern Colorado and one game ahead of Idaho State.
IDAHO STATE WOMEN: The Bengals (18-9, 10-6) beat Idaho 62-52 on Feb. 22 and sit just a game back of the Vandals with two regular-season games to go, giving ISU an opportunity to leapfrog Idaho should the Vandals stumble down the stretch. The Bengals host Montana State on Wednesday and Montana on Friday.
NORTHWEST NAZARENE WOMEN: The Nighthawks extended their winning streak to 13 games and claimed their first GNAC regular-season title with an 89-66 victory over Alaska Fairbanks on Feb. 24. NNU (22-3) will be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, opening play at 7:15 p.m. MT Friday against the winner of Thursday’s Montana State Billings-Central Washington quarterfinal. The GNAC Tournament is being held at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.
COLLEGE OF IDAHO MEN: The fourth-ranked Coyotes (26-6) host No. 13 Warner Pacific (23-8) in the Cascade Conference Tournament championship game at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the J.A. Albertson Activities Center in Caldwell. The game will be broadcast on ROOT Sports (DirecTV channel 687, Dish Network channel 426) and on 99.1 FM. Thanks to their regular-season league title, the Coyotes have already secured a spot in the NAIA Division II National Championships set for March 7-13 in Sioux Falls, S.D.