Cal Poly (18-13) at Weber State (26-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 20, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Events Center (11,500) -- Ogden, Utah. Television: None. CIT Record: Cal Poly 0-0, Weber State 1-1. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The first-ever meeting between the Cal Poly Mustangs and the Weber State Wildcats takes place on Wednesday night as part of the 2013 CollegeInsider.com Tournament at the Dee Events Center in Ogden.
For Cal Poly, a member of the Big West Conference, this marks the first postseason tournament outside of league play for the program since joining the Division I ranks nearly two decades ago. The Mustangs finished third in the conference standings with a record of 12-6, posting a record of 18-13 overall after being defeated by Pacific, the eventual Big West Conference Tournament champion, in the semifinals last week by a final score of 55-53.
As for the Wildcats, they have the most wins of any team in this tournament (26-6) as they road a 13-game win streak in order to reach the Big Sky Conference Tournament title game before being dismissed by Montana, 67-64, on Saturday night. Winners of all but three games in the last 25 outings, Weber State needs just one more victory to match the most wins in a single season in program history.
While the Mustangs are just getting their feet wet in postseason play, WSU has been here five straight years and was also a participant in this particular event last year when it defeated Utah Valley in the first round before being ushered out by Loyola Marymount in the second game.
The next opponent for the winner of this contest will be determined once all of the first-round games have been decided.
It has been a banner year for Cal Poly in 2012-13, the team establishing a new school record for Big West victories and the most wins at home (13-1) at the Division I level, thanks to the efforts of Chris Eversley and his counterparts. Eversley led the team in scoring with 15.8 ppg and was also first on the glass with just over seven per game, but still the Mustangs managed to generate only 65.5 ppg. Luckily, the defense was often up to the task of slowing down the competition, limiting them to only 62.4 ppg. Dylan Royer, one of the top 3-point shooting threats in the Big West, was responsible for 82 conversions out on the perimeter as he generated another 10.1 ppg for the group. Jamal Johnson (4.3 ppg) may not be much of a scorer, but there's no denying his importance as a distributor with 120 assists.
Once again Weber State had a wildly successful regular season, only to see dreams of an NCAA Tournament berth go by the boards as they dropped a three- point decision to Montana. It was the third time in the last four seasons that WSU has been defeated in the tournament title game, and the fourth year in a row that the Grizzlies were the ones ushering the Wildcats out of the event. Nevertheless, head coach Randy Rahe still has a formidable squad at his disposal, thanks to the efforts of Davion Berry, Scott Bamforth and Kyle Tresnak, each of whom have been instrumental in helping the program generate a solid 75.7 ppg, while holding the opposition to just 61.5 ppg. Berry, a 41.3 percent shooter beyond the arc, accounted for 15.2 ppg and was first with 113 assists and 40 steals, followed by Bamforth (13.2 ppg) who converted 44.0 percent of his 3-point tries. Tresnak (11.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg), along with super- reserve Joel Bolomboy (7.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg) give the group a presence in the paint.
Cal Poly made some major strides during the season and certainly deserved to play into March, but the Mustangs have to accept that Weber State has just too much talent and is a tough matchup at home these days.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Weber State 73, Cal Poly 63
03/20 10:33:10 ET