BOISE, Idaho — The Big Sky Conference Tournament made an announcement on Thursday night that they will hold their conference tournament in Boise for the next five years.
This year was the final year of a three-year deal that started with a fan-friendly zone in the Grove Plaza and each team having their own restaurant or bar to gather at.
That seems like a distant memory because last year the tournament began, but had to be canceled during the pandemic.
"We flew in at (7 a.m.) and obviously got the news that the tournament was going to be canceled," said Eastern Washington fan Kelsey Hatch-Brecek. "We got to spend like three extra days exploring the city, it’s beautiful, it’s clean.”
The fans we talked to told us they like having the tournament at Idaho Central Arena in downtown Boise as it provides a centrally located spot for the Big Sky Conference.
“My wife and I have been here all three years and it’s a great facility for the Big Sky," said Montana State fan Gomez Ruthier. "It’s a great town, a great place to walk and a great place to get a beer.”
Both Montana State fans and Eastern Washington fans were happy to be back in Boise after the tournament was canceled last year, the Bobcat women were the favorite and the Eagle men were the favorite to earn an NCAA tournament bid.
"We had high hopes to go to the tournament," said Hatch-Brecek. "We had some stud seniors that your heart breaks for them because their dreams essentially got cut short so we are just happy to be back.”
The Montana State fans told us this was the first time they got to watch their team in person and the tournament also provided them with a way to leave snowy Montana and enjoy some golf in the City of Trees.
“It’s a great town and we are going to be here until the Bobcats win the men's championship," said Ruthier.
The Idaho State women defeated Idaho to earn a bid into the NCAA tournament and on Saturday night it will be Eastern Washington against Montana State on the men's side.