29 Nov 2021 | 10:54 | Basketball
Boise State men’s basketball opens the National Invitation Tournament Thursday, in a first-round matchup against SMU at Comerica Center in Frisco, Texas. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. CT on ESPN. The Broncos are a No. 2 seed in the 16-team tournament.
WATCH LIVE: Thursday’s game will be televised on ESPN, available locally on Sparklight channel 133, DirecTV 206 and DISH Network 140.
Play-by-Play: John Schriffen
Analyst: Fran Fraschilla
LISTEN LIVE: Radio coverage of the game will be broadcast on the Bronco Radio Network, with 670 AM KBOI serving as the flagship station, and online through TuneIn. The pregame show begins at 6:30 p.m. MT.
Play-by-Play: Bob Behler
Analyst: Abe Jackson
ABOUT SMU: The Mustangs enter the NIT with a No. 3 seed after posting an 11-5 record, including 7-4 in American Athletic Conference play to finish fourth. SMU is guided by Kendric Davis who leads the AAC in scoring (18.8 points per game) and assists (7.4 assists per game). The Mustangs have played only one game since Feb. 8, a 74-71 loss to Cincinnati in an AAC Tournament quarterfinal, March 12.
SERIES HISTORY: SMU leads the all-time series 6-5. The teams have met twice in Leon Rice’s tenure as head coach, meeting in 2016 and 2017 and splitting the pair as each team won on its home floor. The previous nine matchups came as league opponents in the Western Athletic Conference between 2001 and 2005.
BRONCOS IN THE NIT: Boise State is making its seventh all-time appearance in the NIT, owning a 4-6 record, including 1-2 under Leon Rice. The Broncos have been selected to three of the last four tournament fields (2017, 2018, 2021). The 2020 edition was canceled prior to the bracket being announced. Boise State previously appeared in the tournament in 1987, 1989, 1991 and 2004. The Broncos won two games in the 2004 tournament, which was a 40-team field.
EARNING A BID: Boise State has now qualified for 16 national postseason tournaments in the program’s 53-year history as a four-year institution. Six of those appearances have come under head coach Leon Rice, currently in his 11th season, including two trips to the NCAA Tournament and a third NIT berth. Rice led the Broncos to the 2013 and 2015 NCAA Tournaments by earning the only two at-large bids in school history.
ALL-DISTRICT HONORS: Derrick Alston, Jr. was named to a pair of all-district teams, Tuesday. Alston was honored by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) for the first time and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) for the second straight year. Alston’s USBWA nod is the eighth in program history by seven different Broncos. Chandler Hutchison (2017 and 2018) is the only two-time recipient. Eight different Broncos have combined for 10 NABC All-District accolades in the award’s history, with Alston joining Hutchison as the only two-tome honorees.
GOOD COMPANY: Derrick Alston, Jr. is one of five players in the country to score 450 points this season while shooting at least 44 percent from the field, 39 percent from beyond the arc and 85 percent at the free throw line. Alston is joined on that list by Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert, Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham and the Oral Roberts duo of Max Abmas and Kevin Obanor.