It’s time of the year when all major networks put together neat little capsules on all the tourney teams on their websites flooding basketball junkies with info. from all kinds of angles. Since we are going to keep the focus here on Weber State, thought it would be a good idea to build on our first post on the Wildcats, and start compiling the various crib notes on Ben Howland’s alma mater that are floating around in the internets.
I am sure by now you have already heard Weber State’s history of pulling off big upsets in the tourney. They beat UNC as a 14 seed back in 1999 and just 4 years before that they knocked of Michigan State in the first round as a 14 seed as well. But did you all know this is the second time Weber State is taking on the Bruins in the Big Dance? ESPN has the complete history of Wildcats tourney appearances, which notes Wildcats losing to Coach Wooden’s Bruins in regional semifinals by a score of 90-58 in 1972. Will the history repeat itself?
It’s not going to be that easy. These Wildcats are a pretty resilient bunch. Here is ESPN’s Kyle Whelliston on how Coach Rahe has molded last year’s worst team in the Big Sky conference into champions, despite losing the squad’s top two scorers to graduation:
Weaknesses: This is a relatively inexperienced tournament team. The Wildcats didn't even make the Big Sky tournament field a year ago, and only Patten and Silveira had ever played postseason hoops in a Weber uniform prior to March. The heavy reliance on Patten offensively can be exposed. When their senior leader was in foul trouble in the second half of the Big Sky tournament championship game against Northern Arizona, a seemingly safe Wildcat lead evaporated in a hurry.
They'll keep winning if: When Harris and Silveira are complementing the offense of Patten, the Wildcats are a fine team. Defensively, Weber will be expected to give maximum effort. Weber State is also a decent rebounding team. If the Wildcats pull an upset in the NCAA Tournament, they will have had balanced scoring.
Memorable moment: On Feb. 1 against Northern Colorado, Patten suffered a fractured cheekbone thanks to an errant elbow. Less than 48 hours later, he scored 22 points in a victory over Northern Arizona. The next day Patten underwent surgery. That's not all -- three days later he scored 19 points against Eastern Washington.
Back to our serious tone here. If you are craving for more stats on Weber State check out the team-dated listed in ESPN’s bracketology.
The key to this game is going to be very simple. I know we sound like a broken record here but it will all come down to whether our guards can regain their intensity on defense and hold on to it for entire 40 minutes. I think our frontcourt should be able to handle Patten. However, if AA, DC and rest of their team-mates do not show an urgency D, we may find ourselves in yet another situation where the opposing team has gotten off to a good start. Hopefully the result of all the hard practice we have been hearing about for last few days will come into fruition right from the tip off this Thursday night.