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Boise State Seeks 1st March Madness Tournament Win



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Now, Rice desires to do the identical for his Boise State workforce that’s searching for its first tournament win when the Tenth-seeded Broncos tackle the seventh-seeded Wildcats in a West Area recreation in Sacramento on Thursday.

“I believe the final couple years we’ve performed loads of checking off packing containers that this program has by no means performed earlier than,” Rice stated. “That’s one of many final packing containers I believe can be enormous for this program, to verify off an NCAA Match win. I do know Northwestern did {that a} couple years in the past, I believe. I keep in mind watching that. That’s one thing that has been our objective all 12 months.”

In a West Area crammed with powerhouses like defending champion Kansas, UCLA, Connecticut and Gonzaga, the Wildcats and and Broncos are clearly missing.

Northwestern (21-11) has made it to this stage for simply the second time, beating Vanderbilt within the first spherical in 2017 earlier than dropping to Gonzaga.

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Boise State (24-9) has been to this stage much more, making its ninth journey. However the Broncos have misplaced their opening-round recreation the earlier eight instances, including 64-53 to Memphis final 12 months.

“It could imply a lot for our followers,” coach Leon Rice stated. “I need it so dangerous for our gamers to maintain them going. I need to maintain this group collectively so long as I can maintain this group collectively.”

After making the match for the primary time again in 2017 in what coach Chris Collins stated was seen by many followers like a Last 4 at different faculties, success has been more durable to come back by.

The Wildcats adopted that up with 5 straight dropping seasons earlier than breaking by once more this 12 months with a second-place end within the Large Ten that Collins hopes lays the groundwork for extra seasons like this.

“I believe coming a second time, it’s gratifying as a result of for those who go as soon as, it’s nice, however it may well nearly be like type of the one-hit-wonder sort of deal,” Collins stated. “To have the ability to now stamp it and be again a second time, hopefully that can assist us as we proceed to construct for the long run.”

Within the different video games Thursday within the West Area, second-seeded UCLA (29-5) takes on No. 15 seed UNC Asehville (27-7) in Sacramento; whereas in Des Moines, Iowa, top-seeded Kansas (27-7) takes on Howard (22-12) with hopes that coach Bill Self will return from a stint within the hospital, and No. 8 seed Arkansas (20-13) faces ninth-seeded Illinois (20-12).

Terrence Shannon Jr. will get one other crack at Arkansas within the NCAA Match, this time with Illinois.

Two years in the past, when he was at Texas Tech, Shannon scored a team-high 20 factors in a 68-66 second-round loss in Indianapolis.

Shannon leads the Illini with 17.1 factors per recreation and has wowed crowds with electrifying dunks.

Davonte “Devo” Davis is the one present Arkansas participant who appeared within the recreation towards the Purple Raiders. Davis led the Razorbacks with 15 factors that day.

“As soon as I came upon we had the Arkansas matchup, he’s the primary individual that got here to thoughts as a result of he hit massive photographs my sophomore 12 months once I was at Texas Tech, and he’s the most effective defenders within the nation,” Shannon stated.

Davis, who guarded Shannon two years in the past and expects to be assigned to him once more Thursday, stated the Illini level guard’s recreation has modified because the final time they met.

“Now he’s acquired the ball in his hand extra and he’s ball dominant,” Davis stated. “It’s not simply me guarding him, it’s the entire workforce.”

Final 12 months’s match is entrance and heart for UCLA and UNC Asheville.

The Bruins need to keep away from one other first-round scare after surviving 57-53 against Akron on the way in which to the Candy 16.

The Bulldogs try to repeat the run St. Peter’s went on as a fifteenth seed, making it to the Elite Eight.

“Who wouldn’t need to be in that state of affairs? That they had an ideal run final 12 months,” ahead Drew Pember stated. “Might we be the Cinderella workforce? Solely the Lord is aware of that. It might occur.”

Whereas UNC Asheville has by no means superior past the spherical of 64, they function a lineup that features the varsity’s all-time main scorer in Tajion Jones and Pember, who averages 21.2 factors.

“They’re not scared,” Bruins guard Tyger Campbell stated. “They’re right here for a cause. So we’re going into this recreation, we simply acquired to arrange prefer it’s any common recreation.”

Howard is the opponent for No. 1 seed Kansas on Thursday, on the five-year anniversary of UMBC’s victory over Virginia that is still the one win by a No. 16 seed in a non-play-in recreation in NCAA Match historical past.

The Bison would like to be the subsequent one, however they’re taking part in for an even bigger objective because the maybe probably the most outstanding member of the nation’s Traditionally Black Schools and Universities.

At his information convention in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday, coach Kenneth Blakeney proudly listed the entire faculty’s well-known alumni – from Kamala Harris to Thurgood Marshall – and his efforts to guide his gamers in social justice causes and different experiences off the court docket.

“I simply actually really feel we now have to develop and we now have to have well-rounded younger males,” Blakeney stated. “If we’re not doing that off the court docket, then I’m not doing my job.”

Illinois freshman Jayden Epps, who collapsed in follow on Feb. 28 and later was identified with a concussion, is “good to go” towards Arkansas, Illini coach Brad Underwood stated.

Epps missed two video games and performed two minutes and scored three factors in a 79-76 loss to Penn State within the Large Ten Match final week.

Epps collapsed after he took an elbow to the jaw in follow and was hospitalized in a single day.

UCLA shall be with out defensive stopper Jaylen Clark (Achilles) for the match, however might get massive man Adem Bona (shoulder) again after he missed the Pac-12 title recreation.

AP Sports activities Writers Dave Campbell and Eric Olson in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report

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