NCAA Tourney in Boise: Is There Any Magic Left?
The last time Boise played host to the NCAA men's basketball tournament was 2009. Before that Boise State hosted in 1983, 1989, 1992, 1995, 1998, 2001 and 2005. It all stopped when the NCAA required a minimum seating of 12,000 for first and second round games. Boise States Pavilion, now Taco Bell arena was below that mark when configured to accommodate media. The minimum is now 10,000 so Taco Bell is back on the NCAA menu. The tournament returns in 2018 to host first and second round games march 15 and 17 but my question is this, can future tournament games capture the magic of past tournaments in Boise? Remember 1983 and what a thrill it was to watch Virginia and 7 foot Ralph Sampson and his teammate Olden Polynice play Washington State. Virgina eventually lost to North Carolina State in the Elite 8. How about 1992 when Shaquille O'Neal of LSU walked into the house and he wasn't alone. Indiana brought their team and head coach Bobby Knight who ignited a post game press conference that made every highlight reel in America. Did I mention Georgetown with head coach John Thompson and star Alonzo Mourning were in town as well. Fast forward to 1995 and I can still see UCLA's Tyus Edney going coast to coast in 4.8 seconds to beat Missouri 75-74. Ed O'Bannon was on that team as well and UCLA went on to win the National Championship beating Arkansas 89-78 and it all began in Boise! in 2001 Maryland was part of the Boise bracket but it was Hampton who stole the show. Hampton upset Iowa State 58-57 shocking the Cyclones and their head coach former Idaho leader Larry Eustachy now at Colorado State. I'm here to tell you there was some magic in Boise in the post season and for one I'm glad Boise State gets the chance to host again. The game is a little different now with so many players leaving after one or two years it's hard to get to know them before they're gone but for one I'm glad to see the potential for post season mystique returning in 2018 March 15 and 17.