BOISE, Idaho — When the Big Sky Conference first came to Boise in 2019 they signed a three-year deal to play their conference tournament at Idaho Central Arena, now the Big Sky enters year number one of a five-year deal.
The tournament will feature 20 games in six days beginning with the women on Monday and the men on Friday as these teams which include Idaho and Idaho State play for an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
"They put their hearts into it because this is their one and only shot to make it to the big dance," said Big Sky Commissioner Tom Wistrcill. "That is what makes the Big Sky special everyone shows up with an equal chance if they win their games in Boise they can cut down the nets and go to the NCAA tournament."
It has been an interesting couple of years the Big Sky tournament was in progress when it got shut down two years ago by the pandemic and last year teams were limited to 100 fans per team so this year they are looking forward to returning to full capacity.
"Our fans love to come to Boise as you know it is a clean city everything is downtown restaurants and bars people stay there and walk to the games," said Wistrcill. "t provides a lot of advantages that we are looking for."
The Big Sky tournament provides an economic boost to downtown Boise, but it also gives basketball fans here in the Treasure Valley a chance to watch some affordable hoops as championship week begins.
"Our student-athletes are very accessible and love to talk to kids," said Wistrcill. "We really create a family atmosphere."
Part of that includes the fan experience with the Big Sky block party in the Grove Plaza on Friday before the women's championship and on Saturday before the men battle it out.