March Madness 2013: Boise State playing for more than themselves

Boise State is used to getting the short end of the stick when it comes to committees, computers and the like, but on Selection Sunday 2013, the NCAA Tournament selection committee gave them their due respect

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That’s because on Tuesday, the Broncos, like many times before in their football program, deserved to be recognized. This time around on the basketball side, however, the powers-that-be happened to agree rather than snub them as a second-tier school.

That means that they put together a season worth revisiting. 

For starters, Boise State played in the Mountain West Conference, which for the first time in its history is sending five teams to big dance. Not only does that speak to the power of the conference itself, but it makes the accomplishments by the Broncos stand out even more. Though they were 9-7 in conference play, they had big wins over tourney-bound teams San Diego State, UNLV, Colorado State and played New Mexico tough in two losses against the Lobos. Their RPI of 44 doesn’t do justice to the fact that they competed in such a tough conference. 

But the Broncos, led by dynamic sophomores Anthony Drmic (17.3 ppg) and Derrick Marks (16.3 ppg) can score in bunches, and that makes them a threat to win any game against the best competition. The biggest question is whether or not they can defend and rebound. They ranked 205th in rebounds per game going into the tournament, and will need to clean that up if they want to advance. 

There’s more to it all, though. The Pac-12 and Oregon were each slighted when the Ducks were given a No. 12 seed as champions of the conference. Meanwhile, UCLA was given a sixth seed despite not having a roster at full-strength. Is the flip-flop an oversight, or a knock on the conference itself by the committee and a potential showing of East Coast bias? 

There’s no way to know, but if Boise State wins on Tuesday and can string together a couple of more in Rounds 2 and 3, they’ll validate the committee’s decision and more importantly, college hoops out west.

That’s a cause that any West Coast sports fan can get behind.

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His credits include Yahoo Sports and Bleacher Report, among others.


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