Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Brian Murphy: Boise State hoping to make NCAA Tournament memories

Air Force Boise St Basketball

Boise State's Ryan Watkins (0) and Thomas Bropleh, right, celebrates a 3-pointer by Anthony Drmic, left, against Air Force during their game Feb. 20 at Taco Bell Arena. Boise State won 77-65.

Joe Jaszewski ? jjaszewski@idahostatesman.com

For Boise State junior Thomas Bropleh, it is Carmelo Anthony's run to the NCAA title as a Syracuse freshman in 2003.

For Bropleh's teammate and classmate Ryan Watkins, it is Kemba Walker carrying Connecticut to the 2011 championship.

Those are their favorite NCAA moments.

For now.

The Broncos - Bropleh and Watkins and all the rest - could very well have their own tournament memories at this time next week.

Boise State will find out its NCAA Tournament fate Sunday evening. Most mock brackets place the Broncos in the 68-team field. The team will be watching nervously together as the brackets are unveiled.

"Praying and going to church on Sunday," junior guard Jeff Elorriaga said. "It's something every college in America wants - to play in the NCAA Tournament. Hopefully we get there."

The Broncos have reached the tournament five times, the last in 2008. All came as an automatic qualifier for winning the conference tournament.

So Boise State has never had to sweat out the bubble. Never had to face Selection Sunday knowing it could bring ultimate elation or real dejection. Never had to wait it out with hearts beating faster and faster as CBS drags out its show, its talking heads gabbing and cutting to commercial.

"It'd be unbelievable. Growing up as a kid and seeing all those moments," said Bropleh, who wasn't even a teenager when Anthony and the Orange had their one shining moment. "It would be unbelievable just to be in the tournament."

No current player has ever laced it up in the tournament. Bropleh, Elorriaga and Watkins were on the 2010-11 squad that reached the WAC Tournament championship game in coach Leon Rice's first year. The Broncos fell to Utah State.

Watkins, then a freshman, didn't realize at the time how hard it would be to get back in that position. Now - after a move to the rough-and-tumble Mountain West and last year's 13-17 struggle - the Broncos' starting center has a much better appreciation.

"I know how hard it is to get there. It's tough to get there," Watkins said. "It would be amazing."

Tough is a good way to describe the past few days for the Broncos, who lost to San Diego State on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Tournament. They've gone from out to in on many brackets as the rest of the bubble teams (it is a very weak bubble year) lost in their conference tournaments.

Will four wins against top-50 teams be enough? Will an 8-8 record against top-100 teams be enough? Will having a winning record in the No. 1-ranked conference in the country be enough?

"We did all that we could," Rice said. "Did you go out and schedule? Did you go out and play a lot of high-level teams? ... What the committee wants you to do is play a lot of good teams, not dodge teams."

The only opinions that matter now are those of the 10 members on the selection committee. And the only thing Boise State players can do is wait and pray and hope and sweat and dream.

Wait for the brackets.

Pray to see their name.

Hope to make their own memories.

Sweat. Just sweat.

And dream. Dream of playing on the same stage Carmelo and Kemba once did. Dream of actually doing what every college basketball player dreams about. Dream of making their own moments.

Brian Murphy: 377-6444, Twitter: @MurphsTurph

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/IdahostatesmancomBreakingNews/~3/UzkVbBlJM2o/broncos-hoping-to-make-memories.html

lisa vanderpump

No comments:

Post a Comment