BOISE — A 4-0 record vs. rival Idaho doesn’t have Boise State coach Leon Rice feeling extra confident heading into tonight’s 7 p.m. neutral court battle at CenturyLink Arena.

After all, all bets are off when the two meet up.

“It really is the cliche about throw out the records, throw out the stats,” Rice said. “They are just battles. Our guys have to understand how important of a game this is, and they have in the past. I definitely know we approach it the right way.

“I have a ton of respect for coach (Don) Verlin and his staff and his players. I think he’s a terrific coach and he always gets them ready for this game.”

Boise State (4-0) is the nation’s leading scoring team at 103 points per game and have scored at least 100 in three of their four games. They are third in the country with 11.8 three-pointers per game and eighth with a .465 3-point percentage.

Only once in Boise State history have the Broncos scored at least 100 in four different games in the same season, when they scored 100 four times during the 1974-75 season.

Idaho (3-3) has wins over North Texas, Northwest Nazarene and Western Illinois. They’ve lost to Oklahoma, Portland and, most recently, Columbia on Saturday.

The Vandals are led by senior forward Stephen Madison, who is averaging 15.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.  He recently surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career.

“They can really shoot the ball,” Rice said. “We have to be ready to guard.”

Boise State’s leading scorer is junior Anthony Drmic at 24.8 points per game. Jeff Elorriaga, who leads the country with six 3-pointers per game, is second with 21.7 points.

The crowd is expected to be near a 50-50 split with both schools offering tickets to season ticket holders and the general public.

“It has sort of an NCAA Tournament feel to it where it’s half and half,” Rice said. “This rivalry means a lot to a lot of people, and that’s why Don and I — there’s a lot of outside noise and everybody has an opinion about this game — but we just felt like we’re the guardians of this thing and it needs to continue. It’s important.”

B.J Rains covers Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press-Tribune. He also makes daily appearances on ESPN Boise.


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