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Broncos make early tournament exit again—solitary fan reportedly stunned

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NCAA Basketball: Mountain West Conference Tournament- Nevada vs Boise St. Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

They say that change is inevitable (unless you’re using a broken vending machine), but another thing that surely occupies the same general headspace is the Bronco men’s basketball team making an early exit from the Mountain West tournament. Most years, the pain of the faceplant is somewhat dulled by the fact that it falls between death and taxes on the near guarantee chart. This year, the Broncos really needed to post just one non-stinker in Vegas to feel more secure in a March filled with less thumb-twiddling (are there other digits one can twiddle, btw). Sadly, what most fans expected to come to pass did come to pass and #5 seed Nevada—behind what felt like a 90% shooting percentage—sent the listless #4 Broncos packing—and if you’re counting, their fourth straight loss (I was).

It seems like ages ago the Broncos were riding high after an unexpected sweep of Utah State that had them back in the MWC driver’s seat. Seriously, was that like a year ago...I lost all track of time starting last April. Well, they fought the good fight at Viejas Arena and nearly stole a victory from the regular season champ Aztecs, but ultimately returned from San Diego 0-fer then famously um...dirtied the bed by dropping their home finale in a makeup game with Fresno. Still, hope sprung eternal for some folks that just started watching the Broncos this year apparently and getting at least one win in Vegas seemed like a doable prospect and a very necessary event. Oh, you rubes and your “hope”...the Broncos now need perhaps a quite literal miracle to garner anything beyond an NIT invite and hey, with the way things have gone...maybe the NIT will just fold like a tent under the weight of daily PCR tests and Covid bubbles.

A few years back, during Boise State football’s so-called “golden era”, a Fresno Bee reporter quipped that the Broncos beating the Bulldogs had taken on the inevitability of a New England winter. The Boise State basketball team, for all their strengths, had their clutch gene surgically extracted some time after joining the Mountain West and bear a similar air of inevitability come March. Old habits DIE HARD.

For the record, I don’t know what the fix for all of this is. One thing about inevitability is it definitely takes the edge off, but even when Covid is in our rearview, if you want fans at ExtraMile Arena, someone’s gotta figure it out. In the interim...spring football starts tomorrow!