A big win over San Diego State put the Broncos on cloud nine last week.
However, while Boise State had just secured themselves breathing room on the bubble, Utah State was needing a lifeline in the form of a Quad 1 win.
Relief versus survival.
Key Teams Stats of the Night
Boise State - 11
Utah State - 24
Field Goal Percentage
Boise State - 44.6%
Utah State - 57.1%
Boise State - 33.3%
Utah State - 35.0%
Chibuzo Agbo (BSU) - 18 points
Taylor Funk (USU) - 24 points
Marcus Shaver Jr. (BSU) - 7 rebounds
Taylor Funk (USU) - 8 rebounds
Marcus Shaver Jr. (BSU) - 5 assists
Steven Ashworth (USU) - 8 assists
Story of the Game
Despite Utah State being on spring break, nearly 10,000 fans arrived at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum to root the Aggies home and celebrate their seniors. In the early stages, the game was closely-contested, but a 9-0 run elevated the Aggies ahead to an eight-point lead. Bronco Chibuzo Agbo kept Boise State in the fight with multiple three-pointers during crucial situations where Utah State was on the brink of blowing the game open.
Aggies Taylor Funk and Steven Ashworth propelled the Aggie lead even further, reaching 20 points with a shade over one minute left in the first half. A brief 4-0 run gave Boise State a sliver of viability as both teams headed into their respective locker rooms.
In the second half, the Broncos slowly chipped away at the deficit, but each time they did so, the Aggies responded with a critical make that prevented any game-changing run from occurring. With just over four minutes left in the game, Boise State mounted one final charge to see if they could steal a win in Logan. A 7-2 run cut the Utah State lead to six, the closest it had been since the seven-minute mark in the first half.
However, this game had Taylor Funk’s fingerprints all over it, and he wasn’t going to let it slip away.
Funk drilled a three from the wing that shut the door on Boise State and any hopes of a large comeback.
One team wanted it more than the other.
BOISE STATE BRONCOS (23-8, 13-5) 73
UTAH STATE AGGIES (24-7, 13-5) 86
MOUNTAIN WEST TOURNAMENT
The regular season is done and Boise State exceeded the expectations of many pundits and writers, including myself. Losing three of your five starters from a year ago typically leads to substantial regression, but kudos must be given to Leon Rice, Mike Burns, Tim Duryea and the entire coaching staff. Developing this team to where it finished tied for second in one of the best iterations of the Mountain West is remarkable.
Now, it’s time for Boise State to stamp their ticket to the NCAA tournament and have an opportunity to collect that elusive first win as a part of the 68-team field.
The Mountain West tournament started today, March 8th, and as of this piece, #8 Colorado State defeated #9 Fresno State 67-65 to advance and take on #1 San Diego State tomorrow in the quarterfinals.
Boise State will take on the winner of #7 UNLV and #10 Air Force tomorrow, March 9th, at 7:00 MT. This will be televised on CBS Sports Network (CBSSN).
The last game that will be played tonight is between #6 New Mexico and #11 Wyoming. It was announced that Cowboy head coach Jeff Linder will be absent from the contest due to family matters.
For those that don’t want to waste their time looking through endless bracket projections to see where the Broncos are being slotted, I would highly suggest utilizing a tool called the “Bracket Matrix” that is produced by The Bracket Project. This tool places all of the bracketologists and their predictions into one spot and it averages out a team’s seeding so you can see the general opinion of a team and their spot in the field.
Here are Boise State’s numbers:
Average seed - 9.47
Placement in the field - #10 seed (The best of the 10s)
Highest seeding - #7 seed (Bracketologist - Haslametrics)
Lowest seeding - #11 seed (Bracketologist(s) - Bracket Bingo and Bracketville)
Total number of brackets Boise State is included - 94/94 (100%)
For those that glance at the likes of Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm (fine people, of course), they are ranked 88th and 125th, respectively, out of all 148 bracketologists that have been entered into the Matrix for three years or more.
Most, if not all bracketologists, agree that if Boise State wins at least one game in the Mountain West tournament, then they are an official lock for an at-large bid to the Big Dance.
Look for daily updates as Boise State attempts to repeat as tournament champions and improve their seeding come Selection Sunday.