The Mountain West took some flak for getting multiple teams into this past season’s NCAA tournament, and the criticism was seemingly borne out as the league’s five bid-earners went 2-5 overall in tournament play. Boise State was one of the disappointments, losing out to La Salle in the preliminary games in Dayton.
So, the Broncos are looking to be a tougher out next season, and head coach Leon Rice knows from his time as an assistant at Gonzaga that mid-major credibility is built by playing anyone, anywhere, any time. He’s shooting for the moon as he attempts to fill out next season’s non-conference slate, trying to get a one-off date with the pre-pre-pre-season favorites, the Kentucky Wildcats, according to the Idaho Statesman.
The Broncos lose only one senior and return their top six scorers, making them a potential Top 25 and NCAA Tournament team. Rice noted that the November victory at then-No. 11 Creighton “was the gift that kept on giving” as the Broncos rode the tournament bubble and eventually made the NCAA field last month.
“We think we’re going to have a pretty good team coming back, so we want to give them some high-level games and high-level opportunities,” Rice said Thursday.
Of course, scheduling these types of games is only half of the equation. Winning at least one marquee matchup, as the Broncos did in Omaha last season, is key. If the Wildcats play like they did in their most recent NIT-flameout season, rather than their 2012 national championship-winning form, anything is possible.
Wichita State senior forward Anton Grady received some positive news on Saturday as a neurosurgeon reviewed MRI results, which are negative for spinal cord trauma.
According to a release from Wichita State, doctors believed Grady suffered a spinal cord concussion during a collision on Friday after he was taken off the floor in a stretcher and taken to a hospital in an ambulance. CT and MRI scans on Friday both turned up negative, but the news of Saturday’s results are an even more encouraging sign for Grady.
The injury for Grady occurred during a Friday loss to Alabama during the AdvoCare Invitational as the senior’s condition has improved since the collision. Grady will receive physical therapy over the next few days and doctors will check his progress before he is released from the hospital.
Grady has been alert and responsive to questions and had feeling in his extremities on Friday, but the use of his arms and legs was limited. By Saturday morning, Grady had improved the use of his extremities.
The 6-foot-8 Grady has averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds per game this season in his first season with the Shockers. The Cleveland State transfer is shooting 39 percent from the field.
Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.
During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.
In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.
“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”
Miller also released his apology in the same release.
“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.
For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?