As the Boise State men's basketball season winds down, we look to the post-season to see where the Broncos may end up. The obvious preference is going to the NCAA Tournament. But, unfortunately, there is still the whole messy process of getting to the dance.
The Broncos have had a pretty hot-and-cold season. One minute they are on fire and lighting up the board. The next they could not hit the broadside of a barn with a beach ball. They have also had the occasional bad loss to go along with a great win. But they have also given as good as they gotten in a shocking instance.
Kind of depends on the day apparently.
As it stands, the Mountain West Conference is going to be a one bid league for the NCAA tournament. Even though San Diego State has an all right RPI with 48, the consensus is that the only way any team from the MWC is going to go to the tourney is via winning the MWC tournament. (In case you were wondering, Boise State's RPI is 77.)
San Diego State is guaranteed, at minimum, an NIT berth given the fact they have won the Mountain West regular season. If they do not win the Mountain West tournament, they know where they are going.
Boise State, not so much.
If the Broncos fail to win the conference tournament, they have to hope that their strength of schedule (currently ranked 100) and their good wins (Oregon, San Diego State) will be enough to give them enough of a bump to get an invite. The field of 32 could be pretty tight come selection time.
So, in the worst case scenario, if Boise State does not win the MWC tournament and fails to get an NIT bid, what should the Broncos do?
Should they pursue one of the other post-season tournaments such as the College Basketball Invitational (which Boise State has chosen to participate before)? In 2009 the Broncos played Stanford to a 96-76 loss. In 2011 the Broncos had beaten Austin Peay and Evansville to get to the CBI semifinals. In the semifinals Boise State faced Oregon, in Eugene, and lost 79-71. The CBI has had quite a few bigger name teams participate and would probably provide better competition than the CIT. And the finals are a best of three series that could provide a lot of fun for the Broncos and the fans.
Perhaps they should go to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament? This tournament is geared particularly for mid-majors and could be a place for the Boise State seniors to make a run. Though the competition may not be as "top-tier," it could provide the Broncos' seniors an opportunity to end on a high note and for underclassmen to get some confidence, and more practices/games, going into next year.
Or should the Broncos just stay home?
It costs money to participate in both of these tournaments, both in entrance fees and just the operation itself. If Boise State were to host a game, selling tickets would have to be priority number one. In 2011 Boise State played Evansville in front of a crowd of a shade less than 6,000 fans. If the Broncos were to participate, they would need the support of Boise to make it worthwhile.
This is all worst-cast scenario thinking of course. The Broncos could very well make an unbelievable run in the Mountain West tournament and make this whole conversation moot. Let's hope for THAT outcome, yeah?