Coming off a 21-11 season, their second consecutive 20-win year under head coach Leon Rice, and the program’s second NCAA Tournament appearance since 1994, the Broncos are upping the difficulty level in scheduling.
The Broncos will face the University of Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington, Kent., on Dec. 10 in the 2013-2014 season. This will be the first time Boise State has faced the eight time national champions.
“We want to continue to build on what Coach Rice and his staff have accomplished in their time at Boise State.” Director of Athletics Mark Coyle said in a release. “Scheduling marquee games that will draw interest nationally is part of that process.”
The Broncos and Wildcats had very different seasons as far as respective program expectations are concerned.
Coming off a 13-17 season in their first year in the Mountain West, the Broncos entered the 2012-2013 campaign under the radar and towards the back of the pack in the MWC. An array of young talent propelled the Broncos to a stellar 13-2 start that including a road upset of ranked Creighton, and a near upset of college basketball powerhouse, Michigan State
The Broncos went 9-7 in conference before dropping their opening MWC tournament game to San Diego State. Their season would be enough to qualify them for the NCAA Tournament however, as they got themselves into the West Region First Four play-in game vs. La Salle University, which they would lose, 80-71.
Kentucky, on the other hand, was beginning their campaign to defend their national championship. A team that has focused on the “one-and-done” mentality in college basketball, the Wildcats began the year as the third ranked team in the nation. Disappointing losses through the season lead to a 21-12 record, capped off by an embarrassing loss to Robert Morris University on national television in the National Invitation Tournament.
Now as the two teams begin prepare for their 2013 campaigns, both squads are in different scenarios again. The Wildcats will once again bring in one of the top recruiting classes in the nation and will likely be one of the favorites to win another national title.
Boise State on the other hand, has the most buzz around the program since the heydays of the late 80s and early 90s under head coach Bobby Dye. The Broncos are now getting looks to be in the preseason top 25 and have been picked by ESPN college basketball analysts Andy Katz, Jeff Goodman and Myron Medcalf to win their in-season tournament in Hawaii, the Diamond Head Classic.
As the season approaches, the hype will continue to build for both Boise State and Kentucky, as they will both be trying to live up to expectations.
“It’s a great opportunity to play a team the caliber of Kentucky on a national stage like that.” Boise State head coach Leon Rice said, “It’s why I came here, it’s why the guys we have on this roster came here. We want to play in those games.”