BSU New Mexico BASKETBALL05.JPG

Boise State guard Emmanuel Akot (14) goes in for a layup against New Mexico on Dec. 21, 2020, at ExtraMile Arena in Boise.

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BOISE – The Boise State men’s basketball team will host the Saint Louis Billikens on Nov. 30th at ExtraMile Arena, sources told the Idaho Press Wednesday.

SLU finished No. 52 in the NET last year, one spot ahead of Boise State, and was a No. 1 seed in the NIT. The Billikens are expected to contend for the Atlantic 10 title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament next season.

It’s a two-game, home-and-home series with the Billikens. Boise State is scheduled to make the return trip to St. Louis during the 2022-2023 season, according to sources.

The addition of SLU strengthens what is becoming a nice nonconference schedule for the Broncos. Tulsa (No. 127 NET) and Santa Clara (No. 131 NET) are also scheduled to play the Broncos at ExtraMile Arena, while Boise State will play a neutral site game in Spokane against Pac-12 foe Washington State (No. 84 NET).

Boise State also is in the prestigious Charleston Classic in November with West Virginia (No. 22 NET), St. Bonaventure (No. 31 NET), Clemson (No. 45 NET), Ole Miss (No. 54 NET), Marquette (No. 93 NET) and Temple (No. 160 NET).

Other nonconference games are still being finalized.

It’s the first time since 2008 that Boise State will play three top-135 teams at home in nonconference play (using last year’s numbers). Washington State (10th at KenPom), BYU (35th at KenPom) and San Diego (120th at KenPom) all visited Boise during the 2008-2009 season.

The Billikens (14-7) were ranked in the AP Top 25 and in a strong position to make the NCAA Tournament before they were shut down for 33 days due to COVID-19 protocols.

They lost their first two games back from the month-long break, including to a La Salle team that finished 209th in the NET. That loss ultimately was a key factor in the Billikens missing out on the NCAA Tournament and instead landing in the NIT.

Saint Louis returns a strong nucleus led by Javonte Perkins and Yuri Collins and adds transfers Jordan Nesbitt (Memphis), Francis Okoro (Oregon) and Rashad Williams (Oakland). It should serve as a strong resume-building opportunity for the Broncos, who are looking to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015.

B.J. Rains has covered Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press since 2013 and is a three-time winner of the NSMA Idaho Sportswriter of the Year Award. He appears on KTIK 93.1 FM The Ticket every Friday at 4 p.m. for the Blue Turf Sports report.

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