Bronco Basketball Enters WAC Tournament as No. 2 Seed

The Boise State men's basketball team finished second behind Utah State in their final regular season game in the Western Athletic Conference last Saturday night, paving their play into the Mountain West Conference as a much improved basetball program. They won their seventh game in a row in front of 6,286 fans at Taco Bell Arena over San Jose State in the regular-season finale. The Broncos (19-11, 10-6 WAC) finished as the second-best team in the WAC and clinched the WAC tournament's No. 2 seed after losing six of seven during the conference schedule.  Only one of those six losses was by more than 3 points.

Boise State will hit the boards in tournament play tonight at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.  Tip-off is scheduled for 10 p.m. (MT) for those that are interested, and it will be televised on ESPN2. 

Anderson_-bsu-_photo_by_ethan_miller__getty_images_medium 

And why should a WAC game be of interest to MWC fans?  Because the Broncos will be a MWC team next season, and the better they do now, the more prestige they bring to their new conference. They might also reveal a little insight to next years competition and offer MWC fans a chance to see their future competition in action.  From a PR point of view, if the Broncos do well in post season play, all the major news outlets are bound to mention they are the latest additon to the Mountain West Conference.

The Broncos are riding high under first year coach Leon Rice, formerly a coach at Gonzaga, and he has started to put his saddle on the Broncos.  He has shown he will go to the ends of the earth for his players.  No, really.  Two of Rice's prized 2011 recruits are from the land down under: he landed Australian wing Anthony Drmic, and fellow Australian Igor Hadziomerovic.  They round out a 2011 class made up of Michael Thompson, Darrius Hamilton, Derrick Marks and Joe Hanstad to form what Bronco Country's Kevin Hiatt is calling the "best Freshmen class of recruits to ever pledge to Boise State." 

While BSU fans are excited to have a new coach and a good team this year, they are very aware that the MWC is the #4 ranked RPI conference.  The MWC has two teams ranked in the Top-10 again this year with still another ranked in the Top-25, while the WAC has only Utah State receiving a top 25 vote. Unquestionably, the MWC will be a whole new level of competition for the Broncos.

The big question everyone is asking: can Boise State hang with the MWC pack and help the conference in the coming years?  Or is it destined to be a perennial MWC basketball bottom feeder?  If you ask a Bronco fan, they think Rice and his staff are going to present a significant challenge to their MWC mates.  

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