How high could Boise State climb in the NCAA tournament standings?

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The No. 1-place Boise State men’s basketball team continues to find favor in NCAA Tournament brackets, climbing to the No. 7 seed in the latest screenings.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi bumped the Broncos from a No. 8 to a No. 7, predicting they will face No. 10 North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in San Diego.

And Boise State could go even higher, as Lunardi shared his projections ahead of the Broncos completing a San Diego State sweep Tuesday night.

The Mountain West will apparently get three or four teams in the NCAA Tournament this season. Most bracketologists have Boise State, Wyoming, and Colorado State firmly in the field, with San Diego State on the bubble.

“This league is good,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said after Tuesday’s 58-57 win over the Aztecs. “If we’re talking about that old-school eye test, it’s two teams that passed the eye test tonight. That’s what always drives me crazy. Now (San Diego State) n isn’t worthy (of an NCAA Tournament bid) because one game splits us into two games? It’s always a goofy thing to me, because this team is an NCAA Tournament team.

Boise State has a 1.5-game lead over Wyoming in Mountain West’s regular-season championship race with three games remaining on the Broncos’ schedule. They are also one win away from tying the program record for single-season wins in the league, going 22-6 overall and 13-2 at Mountain West.

Rice’s team — which continues to receive votes in the Associated Press Top 25 and coaching rankings — has compiled a strong case for a global offer, should the Broncos need it.

Boise State’s best wins are against San Diego State (#31 NET), Wyoming (#39), Washington State (#49), Utah State (#62), and Fresno State (#66). The Broncos’ losses to Wyoming and Colorado State could be considered “good” losses, and a win over Ole Miss gives them two wins over teams from the Power 5 conferences.

The only “bad” loss suffered by the Broncos this season was the loss to CSU Bakersfield (No. 279) at home on November 26. They also lost on the road to UC Irvine (#114). The overtime loss to St. Louis became less of a problem, as the Billikens moved up to 60th in the NET.

If the playoffs started today, here’s where pundits think the Broncos would land:

Joe Lunardi, ESPN

Plant: No. 7 (automatic qualifier)

Opponent: No. 10 North Carolina

Region: West (San Francisco)

First round location: San Diego

Total bids in MW: Four (Boise State, Wyoming, Colorado State, San Diego State)

Jerry Palm, CBS Sports

Plant: No. 8

Opponent: No. 9 Davidson

Region: West (San Francisco)

First round location: Portland

Total bids in MW: Four (Boise State, Wyoming, Colorado State, San Diego State)

Brian Bennett, The Athletic

Plant: No. 8

Opponent: Seton Room No. 9

Region: Midwest (Chicago)

First round location: Greenville, South Carolina

Total bids in MW: Three (Boise State, Wyoming, Colorado State)

Bill Bender, Sports News

Plant: No. 8 (automatic qualifier)

Total bids in MW: Three (Boise State, Wyoming, Colorado State)

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