The Boise State women's basketball team will get a rematch with Louisville this fall.
The Broncos host the Cardinals on Monday, Nov. 19, in a nonconference matchup at Taco Bell Arena.
Louisville defeated Boise State 74-42 in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at the KFC Yum! Center in March on its way to a third Final Four appearance since 2009.
That meeting helped facilitate the upcoming game in Boise, plus a return game to Louisville for the 2019-20 season.
"I think we're rising," Boise State guard Riley Lupfer said. "We are becoming a school that is ready to make an NCAA run. We're stepping up and getting the big games so our preseason can get us ready for a good postseason run."
Boise State loses one starter from a team that went 23-10 overall, winning the Mountain West regular season and tournament championships. The Broncos have advanced to the NCAA Tournament three of the past four seasons, but those accomplishments didn't do much to impress the tournament selection committee.
The Broncos were given a No. 16 seed and forced to play top-ranked Louisville on its home court.
"They play fast-paced, and I think that really sped up our shooting. We didn't shoot very well," Lupfer said. "So I think second time around we'll be more composed. We played with them pretty good for 20 minutes, and hopefully we'll expand that to 40."
Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said the contest will be "one of the biggest home games in my tenure here."
A strong showing during its nonconference slate also could help the Broncos obtain a more favorable seed should they qualify for the NCAA Tournament again in 2018-19.
"I feel like last year we didn't have a very good preseason," Lupfer said. "We were scrambling trying to find our spots, and I think that was a big reason why we got such a low seed last year. We didn't win as many games as we should have (in the preseason).
"So getting these home games and getting these big games — and if we get the wins — then maybe in the NCAA Tournament we won't get a 16 seed."
BSU men maximizing limited time
NCAA rules limit basketball teams to eight weeks of weight training and skill-related instruction over the course of the summer break.
Only eight hours in total are permitted each week, which amounts to a 64-hour, crash-course introduction to the Boise State men's basketball program for the seven new faces joining the Broncos for the 2018-19 season.
Every last minute together is being maximized.
"I think we have a really good chance to be really good this year," Boise State guard Justinian Jessup said. "But it's going to take a lot more work and a lot more growth than it did last year."
At this time last summer, Jessup said he felt "super good" about the Broncos' progress. His feeling about this year's team is "obviously a lot different," but not in a bad way.
Coach Leon Rice agrees.
"These practices are valuable, especially when you have a team with seven new guys," Rice said. "... Everybody else is in new roles, so we're kind of adjusting, figuring things out and going along slowly. But they're working so hard and I love the team spirit and team attitude."