Postseason Tragedy: Boise State Men’s Basketball finishes season with back-to-back losses

The ending of the 2023-24 Boise State men’s basketball season was anything but picturesque. 

Heading into the 2023-24 season, the Bronco squad seemed to be gearing up for victory. 

With incredible offseason transfers, the growth of budding stars in Chibuzo Agbo and Tyson Degenhart, and Max Rice entering his last season as a Bronco, the team looked all too prepared to have a remarkable season. 

Opening up, the Broncos started out hot, racking up a plethora of Quad 1 wins and building their NCAA Tournament Bid resume early in the season. Despite losses to non-conference teams such as Clemson, the Broncos looked like one of the stronger teams in the Mountain West Conference (MWC). 

In a season that establishes the MWC as a true basketball powerhouse, the competition was one of the fiercest it had ever been. 

Programs such as San Diego State University (SDSU), Utah State University (USU), Colorado State University (CSU), University of New Mexico (UNM), University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and BSU all comprised a conference that had some of the fiercest competition in the nation. 

Heading into March, there was a toss up for who would be crowned the MWC Champions. With every team settling into their respective roles, it seemed as though there were no “clear cut favorites”. 

Entering the tournament, Boise State fell into the third seed and was slated to face the UNM Lobos after their first round bye. 

After what seemed like what should’ve been a “locked in” win, the Broncos fell short and were out of the tournament in the second round of the tournament. 

After the win against the Broncos, the Lobos did not let off the gas and defeated both CSU in the semifinals and SDSU in the championship game. 

The Lobos and tournament MVP Jaelen House put on a clinic in order to secure their spot in the NCAA Tournament. 

Though the Broncos had a lock on a spot in the NCAA Tournament, there was no guessing where the Broncos would land in the seeding. Most analysts projected the Broncos to be ranked anywhere from a sixth to ninth seed in the tournament. However no one was prepared for what would happen on the highly coveted ‘Selection Sunday’. 

On March 17, the Bronco squad gathered in the Stueckle Sky Center in Albertsons Stadium and watched the NCAA Tournament selection show. 

Despite all the predictions, no one could’ve seen this coming. 

Shock overtook the Broncos faces as their name was announced for the 10 seed play-in game against University of Colorado. 

So much shock filled the room, that fans of rivalry teams took to voice their opinions on the unfair ranking of the Broncos. 

The Broncos were selected to play in the ‘First Four’ which put the Broncos in a must-win position to even enter into the 64 team group that would participate in the NCAA Tournament. 

The Broncos made their way to Dayton, Ohio and faced Colorado to secure their seat in the tournament. 

In the play-in matchup, the Broncos were unable to secure their seat and fell to Colorado 60-53. 

“Just saying goodbye to this team is the hardest thing,” head coach Leon Rice said. “Every team is special for their own reasons. This team, the way they were with each other and just in rain or shine they showed up with great attitudes. I’m going to miss this group a ton.”

Despite the despair and heartache that the Broncos faced during Selection Sunday, the Broncos made history as the first time the Broncos were selected in back-to-back-to-back tournament selections. 

However, that wasn’t the only record they broke. 

After the loss to Colorado, the Broncos now hold the worst record in the NCAA Division 1 Tournament with an astonishing 0-10 record. 

Though the season looked as though the Broncos had all the potential and star power to conjure up the programs first NCAA Tournament, the team fell short and proved why they were given a much lower seed than they anticipated. 

With the Broncos season ending in two back-to-back losses, the Broncos off-season will look much different. The exit of Max Rice and the uncertain future of head coach Leon Rice will be something to look for during the offseason.

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