Breaking News
More () »

'We expect to win': Boise State eager to make history in NCAA Tournament opener

Tyson Degenhart remembers looking at the court after last year's loss to Memphis. Now, the Bronco standout is "excited to go get a chance to make some history."

BOISE, Idaho — For the second-straight year, the Boise State men's basketball team is dancing in the NCAA Tournament. Now, the Broncos are tasked with accomplishing a list of firsts on Thursday at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. 

As the West Region's No. 10 seed, the Broncos face off with seventh-seeded Northwestern at 5:35 p.m. MT Thursday on truTV. The first-round showdown marks the first meeting between Boise State and the Wildcats. 

Last year, the blue and orange's historic season came to an end with a 64-53 opening-round loss to Memphis in a tough eight-nine seed matchup with Penny Hardaway's squad. Despite losing key contributors like Abu Kigab, Emmanuel Akot and Mladen Armus, the Broncos are back after earning an at-large bid.

Ever since last year's loss to the Tigers, getting back to this moment has been the focus for Boise State. With an 0-8 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament, the Broncos are hoping to make history with a win over the Wildcats Thursday.

"I just remember I looked at the court, and I'm like, 'man, I wanna get back here.' One of my college goals was to play in the NCAA Tournament, and accomplished that my freshman year," Tyson Degenhart said. "I was like, 'man, I wanna win a game now.' I'm just excited to go get a chance to make some history with my team."

Sure, back-to-back trips to the big dance is a massive milestone in itself. However, with first-round exits under head coach Leon Rice in 2013, 2015 and 2022, the milestone to reach is now punching a ticket to the round of 32.

Each of the Broncos' starters have played in a NCAA Tournament game. On the other side, Northwestern is making just its second March Madness appearance, after the Wildcats recorded the second-most wins in a season in program history. 

Boise State has never defeated a Big Ten team. Northwestern finished the regular season tied for second in its conference, the Wildcats best Big Ten finish since the 1958-1959 season. 

So, the table is set, the stakes are high, and it's go time in Sacramento. 

For redshirt senior guard Max Rice, someone who has witnessed the Boise State men's basketball program grow first hand, the mentality is 'why not us?' Not only is it time to stay in Sacramento through Saturday, Rice believes the Broncos have an opportunity to make some serious noise in March.

"Every year, you expect more, and you expect to do more. So, I think it's becoming the norm in this program that we expect to go to the NCAA Tournament," Rice said. "Now, obviously, we expect to win a game in the tournament. We expect to win multiple games in the tournament. So, kind of how I view this program going up and getting these different milestones is super cool, and hopefully we can get another one Thursday."

Credit: KTVB

Watch more Boise State Basketball:

See all of our Boise State basketball coverage in our YouTube playlist:

KTVB is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. Download the apps today for live newscasts and video on demand.

Download the KTVB mobile app to get breaking news, weather and important stories at your fingertips.

Before You Leave, Check This Out