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The CBI does mean something to Rice and the Broncos

The CBI does mean something to Rice and the Broncos

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant

KTVB.COM

Posted on March 21, 2011 at 7:40 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 3 at 6:10 PM

 

Monday, March 21, 2011.
 
Not every school invited to the College Basketball Invitational this year accepted. In fact, most BCS conference schools with winning records that were passed over by the NCAA Tournament and the NIT politely declined. Boise State was surely not going to go that route. The Broncos host Evansville tonight at Taco Bell Arena in a CBI quarterfinal, and the Evansville media naturally wanted to know how the basketball program, is doing in a football-crazy city. Coach Leon Rice told the Evansville Courier-Press that football is one of the main reasons he came to Boise State, knowing the school is eager to replicate that success in basketball. And he wants the CBI to be the start. "We've won nine of 10 now,” said Rice.  “We've got seven seniors and we want them to have this opportunity, but it's also important to propel this program into the future.  This could be their legacy, the start of a new program."
 
Let’s get an Evansville overview going into tonight’s game. The Purple Aces’ signature win was an overtime victory at 23rd-ranked Butler on Thanksgiving weekend. The Aces and Broncos have one common opponent, Drake.  Boise State lost to the Bulldogs 72-69 on the road in December, while. Evansville split its Missouri Valley Conference series with Drake, winning big at home and losing big on the road. The Broncos appear to match up well with the Purple Aces. Evansville isn’t very big, with the exception of Pieter van Tongeren, a 6-10 center from The Netherlands. 
 
According to the Fresno Bee, Idaho coach Don Verlin has expressed interest in the vacancy at Fresno State. "I love my job here.  I love my team coming back," Verlin told the Bee.  "(But) I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested." Verlin is 50-46 in three seasons with the Vandals, having turned around a team that had suffered through nine straight losing seasons before his arrival. He’s known for the 15 years he spent assisting Stew Morrill at Colorado State and Utah State. But he grew up in the Sacramento area and graduated from Cal State Stanislaus. And with Idaho, he’s 6-0 against Fresno State (and fired coach Steve Cleveland).
 
The Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year ceremony Saturday night was not about Chris Petersen’s win over Virginia Tech, or ESPN College GameDay’s visit, or two previous Boise State Fiesta Bowl wins. The Bobby Dodd award, the one major honor that holds its presentation in the home city of the winner, was about the intangibles of the Bronco program. Petersen said one of his highlights in 2010 was Stephen Kinsey, the cancer-stricken “Coach For A Day,” leading the Broncos on the field before the Hawaii game. To that end, Petersen and his wife Barbara announced a $90,000 donation to Mountain States Tumor Institute pediatrics, with the Bobby Dodd Foundation donating another $10,000.
 
One of the treasured moments of the night for Petersen was the surprise appearance of Jim Socher, his coach and mentor from his days as a quarterback and young assistant at UC Davis. Socher coached the Aggies for 19 years and won 18 consecutive conference championships, two of the latter ones with Petersen as his signal-caller. Today it’s back to the field for Pete, with Boise State’s first scrimmage of spring football set for Wednesday afternoon.
 
The Idaho Steelheads’ musical goalies routine didn’t hit the high note over the weekend. Dusty Carlson, the rookie goaltender out of Ohio State, acquitted himself well Friday night in his debut during a 3-2 shootout loss at Stockton. But he was turned inside out the next evening as the Thunder registered a 5-1 decision. Adrien Lemay got the start yesterday but was pulled less than eight minutes into the game after giving up two goals. Carlson replaced Lemay and yielded two more goals the rest of the way in a 4-0 defeat. Between the pipes at the other end, Stockton’s Tyler Sexsmith was magnificent, holding the Steelies scoreless over the final 101 minutes of the series. Suddenly Idaho has lost eight of its last nine games. The Steelheads have six chances to regroup in time for the Kelly Cup Playoffs, starting with Ontario in Qwest Arena Wednesday night.
 
Mixed feelings for the Boise State wrestling team after the NCAA Championships in Philadelphia. Though they had higher aspirations, the Broncos still came away with their best team result ever, finishing ninth. And they had three All-Americans, including Andrew Hochstrasser, national runnerup at 133 pounds. Jason Chamberlain and Adam Hall also finished in the top five in their weight categories. The Boise State gymnastics team is ecstatic, though, after its dominating performance to win the WAC Championships in San Jose Saturday night. Amy Glass was WAC Gymnast of the Year for the Broncos, who will advance to NCAA Regionals with the goal of making nationals as a team for the first time ever.
 
The Idaho Stampede are running out of time in their bid to recover from that 2-13 start and make the D-League Playoffs. Friday night was encouraging, as the Stampede beat Dakota 112-107 in Qwest Arena. But despite three double-doubles Saturday night (from Luke Babbitt, Jermareo Davidson and Cedric Jackson), the Stamps fell to the Wizards, 112-108. The Stampede are still a game and a half behind Texas for the eighth and final playoff spot—and still trail fellow playoff hopefuls Texas and Austin in the race to get there. Idaho now tours Texas, facing Rio Grande Valley tonight and Wednesday night before visiting Austin this weekend.
 
The College of Southern Idaho basketball program isn’t as legendary as it used to be, but don’t tell the Golden Eagles that now. Saturday night they won their first junior college national championship in 24 years, beating Midland, TX, 72-64. CSI’s Pierre Jackson scored 22 points and was named national tournament MVP. Jackson is being heavily recruited by, among others, North Carolina. North Idaho College gave the Gem State a JC title sweep by winning the women’s national championship Saturday night.
 
This Day In Sports…March 21, 2008:
 
Boise State returns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 14 years and faces No. 3 seed Louisville in the East Regional at Birmingham. It was a game effort by the senior-laden WAC champions, but the Cardinals jumped out early with pressure defense and a hot hand at the other end. BSU was 4-of-17 from three-point range, and UL was 12-of-24, as coach Rick Pitino made that a focal point of his attack at both ends of the floor for this game. That spelled the difference in a 79-61 Louisville victory. Matt Nelson led the Broncos with 17 points and seven rebounds in his final game.
 
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

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