Boise State's Men's Basketball Continued Failure to Surpass the Football Team's Success

By Chris Coutts
Mar. 09, 2018

7 seconds left as Utah State's guard Koby McEwen made his second free throw to put the Aggies up 78-75. Two Utah State timeouts later, Boise State's star guard Chandler Hutchison passes the ball into Boise State's point guard Lexus Williams who is swarmed and trapped by two Utah State defenders. Williams passes the ball near half court to Hutchison, the two-year first-team All-Mountain West player, took a few dribbles and put up a slightly contested three to tie the game. The ball hit the back of the rim and fell into a Utah State player's hands as once again Boise State's dreams of an NCAA tournament appearance were dashed.

Throughout the broadcast, the play-by-play announcer reminded the audience at least three times that Boise State had never been beyond the semifinals in the Mountain West tournament since they joined the conference in 2011. I was shocked. I began to think of the years Boise State's team were lead by the three-headed scoring attack of Derrick Marks, Anthony Drmic, and Jeff Elorriaga. Then there was the James Webb III led teams that began to shape a new era of Boise State basketball that used athleticism and shooting to relentlessly attack their opponents at both ends. Recently, Chandler Hutchison and a team filled with senior transfers and young role players dominated most of the Mountain West, making it seem, to anyone who watched the team, that this was finally going to be the year that they could make it to the Mountain West Championship. Making it to/winning the Mountain West Championship would have all but guaranteed Boise State its first NCAA tournament appearance since the 2014-2015 season and its third appearance in the last 7 years. However, as coach Leon Rice continues to have regular season success with the Broncos, there is a similar lack of post season success that is hard to overlook.

However, Boise State's team should not be considered a total failure this year. They finished with the second-best record in the Mountain West and finally began to look like a complete team that could stir things up in the NCAA tournament. Bronco teams in years past had obvious talent, but this year's team had fewer weaknesses than any of those aforementioned teams. Boise State's football team is the most known faction of the university outside of the state of Idaho (and honestly inside the state of Idaho as well). The football team brings in the majority of the university's popularity and revenue. According to collegeraptor.com (https://www.collegeraptor.com/college-rankings/details/SportsProfitability/State/ID), Boise State football brought in about $11 million to the university last year alone. Boise State's basketball program has brought in about $350,000 this last year. Those two numbers are just some of the many pieces of evidence that Boise State football reigns supreme in the city of Boise and at Boise State. Don't get me wrong, Boise State football has obviously had great success over the years, and continues to move in the right direction. Although this year's Chandler Hutchison, Lexus Williams, and Christian Sengfelder led basketball team could not complete its ultimate goal of making it to the NCAA tournament, their regular season success and post season hopes have turned a new page in the program's history. One can only hope that new page begins with a win past the Mountain West tournament quarterfinals next year.