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The NET Effect: Boise State men at No. 21

The Broncos remain the highest-ranked Mountain West team in the NET rankings, even after an overtime loss at New Mexico.
Credit: Boise State Athletics/Alex Bell
Boise State junior guard Chibuzo Agbo (11) in a game against the University of New Mexico Friday, Jan. 20, 2023, at The Pit in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

BOISE, Idaho — The Boise State men's basketball squad holds on to a considerable amount of respect after last Friday's tough loss to New Mexico in overtime.

The Broncos remain the highest-ranked team in the Mountain West in the NET rankings, checking in at No. 21 on Monday. Considering the overall quality of the league this season, that is a significant feather in their cap.

Average NET Ranking by Conference:

1. Big 12: 27.7
2. Big Ten: 55.1
3. SEC: 72.4
4. Big East: 76.3
5. Mountain West: 89.6
6. Pac-12: 93.8
7. ACC: 106.5
8. WCC: 118.7
9. American: 127.7
10. C-USA: 143.7

How does that compare to a year ago at this time?

On Jan. 23, 2022, the Mountain West ranked 8th on this list with a cumulative average of 107.6, and Colorado State (27) and Wyoming (31) were the lone programs inside the top 35.

The Mountain West currently has five programs inside the top 35 of the NET rankings. Only the Big 12 has more at the moment.

Top 35 NET Teams by Conference:

1. Big 12: 7
T2. Big Ten: 5
T2. Mountain West: 5
T4. Big East: 4
T4. SEC: 4
6. ACC: 3
T7. Pac-12: 2
T7. WCC: 2
T9. AAC: 1
T9. C-USA: 1
T9. MAC: 1

With Selection Sunday less than seven weeks away, the question looms: How many teams will the Mountain West get into the NCAA Tournament this year?

Last year they put four programs in The Dance, and this year the league, statistically, appears much better.

 The Bronco Roundup

Boise State is about to get a break.

The Broncos just completed a five-game gauntlet that could hold up as their most difficult stretch of conference play this season. Four of the five games they played were against Quad 1 opponents at time of tip-off.

Why add the “at time of tip-off” clarification?

Well, when you win, that usually means your opponent will drop in the NET rankings.

After Boise State beat Nevada (NET33) and Utah State (NET34) in Boise, both programs slipped outside the top 30. For the time being, those two victories count as Quad 2 wins.

The Broncos also had a blowout win over UNLV (NET82) in Las Vegas. In order to reclaim Quad 1 credit for that game, the Runnin’ Rebels have to climb back inside the top 75 since it was a road contest for Boise State.

A look at the upcoming slate of games for the Broncos:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 24 – vs Fresno State (NET 182)
  • Saturday, Jan. 28 – vs Colorado State (NET 118)
  • Tuesday, Jan. 31 – at Air Force (NET 141)

A leaner schedule shouldn’t dismiss the importance of these games though, as a slip-up could damage Boise State’s at-large NCAA Tournament chances. The Bulldogs will be a Quad 4 game, while the Rams and Falcons are currently Quad 3 contests. If Air Force can move up four spots by Jan. 31, then that will be a Quad 2 opportunity. It won’t be easy though, as the Falcons play at San Jose State (NET 122) and at New Mexico (NET 28) prior to hosting the Broncos.

NET Gains: Opponents on the Rise 

Texas A&M: The Aggies dropped as low as No. 113 in the NET rankings as recently as Dec. 22, but since have won seven of eight games and have climbed all the way to No. 52. If that Aggies can move into the top 50, the Broncos will gain a Quad 1 win.

  • Result vs. Boise State: L, 86-71
  • This week: at Auburn (NET23) – Wednesday, Jan. 25; vs Vanderbilt (NET85) – Saturday, Jan. 28

Saint Louis: The Billikens are on a five-game winning streak and have jumped from No. 108 to No. 86 in the NET rankings over the last two weeks. Their immediate upcoming schedule remains favorable, with three Quad 3 contests and one Quad 4 matchup before they go to Dayton for a Quad 1 game on Feb. 10. If Saint Louis can climb 11 more spots in the NET rankings, then Boise State will be credited with a Quad 1 victory.

  • Result vs. Boise State: L, 57-52
  • This week: at Davidson (NET164) – Friday, Jan. 27

Utah Valley: The Wolverines have enjoyed a steady climb, and now have joined the top 75. As a results, Boise State’s victory over Utah Valley has finally turned into a Quad 2 win. One of the more difficult games left on the Wolverines schedule looms this week. They travel to Southern Utah on Thursday.

  • Result vs. Boise State: L, 87-69
  • This week: at Southern Utah (NET119) – Thursday, Jan. 26; vs New Mexico State (NET207) – Saturday, Jan. 28

South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits handed the Broncos their most damning type of defeat this season: A Quad 4 loss at home. The good news? In the last month, South Dakota State has jumped from No. 213 to No. 161. If the Jackrabbits can move into the top 160 and stay there, then the biggest blemish on Boise State’s March Madness resume will pop.

  • Result vs. Boise State: W, 68-66
  • This week: at St. Thomas (NET205) – Thursday, Jan. 26; at Western Illinois (NET230) – Saturday, Jan. 28

Caught up in the NET: Opponents Falling in the Rankings

UNLV: The Runnin’ Rebels, who went 11-1 in non-conference play, are just 1-6 in Mountain West games. Their one win? Against New Mexico at The Pit. UNLV has fallen from No. 52 to No. 82 in the NET rankings over the last two weeks. Boise State will need the Runnin’ Rebels to reverse course and climb back into the top 75 to be credited with a Quad 1 win. For now, it’s a Quad 2 victory for the Broncos.

  • Result vs. Boise State: L, 84-66
  • This week: vs Wyoming (NET199) – Tuesday, Jan. 24; vs Nevada (NET33) – Saturday, Jan. 28

Who To Root For Tonight

Maybe Nevada, I guess. The Wolf Pack (NET33) host New Mexico (NET28) tonight. If Nevada wins, there is a chance Boise State would pick up a Quad 1 win.

Watch more Boise State Basketball:

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