2023 NCAA Tournament First-Round Preview: Northwestern vs. Boise State
No. 10 Boise State Is Set To Face No. 7 Northwestern
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Boise State making second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance
No. 10 Boise State is set to open the NCAA Tournament against No. 7 Northwestern in Sacramento, California. Thursday’s game will be Boise State’s second consecutive appearance in March Madness.
As the lower seed, Boise State will look to pull off the upset over Northwestern. In the Mountain West Tournament, Boise State made it to the semifinal round before falling to Utah State, 72-62. Naje Smith and Marcus Shaver Jr. led the Broncos in scoring with 14 points in the conference tournament loss.
Friday evening’s loss to Utah State marked two-straight losses to the Aggies in less than one week. The Broncos will have six days between the end of the conference tournament and the start of the NCAA Tournament. The semifinal loss likely cost the Broncos a higher seed in the tournament.
Entering the tournament, Boise State lost three of its last five contests. The last win came against UNLV in the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Boise State is in a position to begin a new season in the NCAA Tournament. If the Broncos want to make a run in the tournament, they will need to get past Northwestern in the first round.
Northwestern had an early exit from the Big Ten Tournament with a 67-65 loss to Penn State on Friday. Northwestern guard Boo Buie enters the Boise State matchup as the Wildcats’ leading scorer with 17.1 points per game. Senior guard Chase Audige is the second and only other Wildcat in double figures.
As a team, Northwestern averages 67.7 points per game. Northwestern ended the regular season with a 21-11 record. This will be Northwestern’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2016-2017 season. Chris Collins, who has been Northwestern’s head coach since 2013, will be making his second trip to the tournament.
For Boise State, a win in the NCAA Tournament would be the program’s first win in the tournament. This will be Boise State’s ninth NCAA Tournament appearance.
The game is set for Thursday at 5:35 p.m. MT at the Golden 1 Center.