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Weber State Notes

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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:

Weber State's long history of Big Sky championships has created an aura of high expectations in Ogden and respect around the conference. But after a 10-17 record sealed Joe Craven's fate last summer, this year's worst-to-first Wildcats have exceeded all hopes and surprised the Big Sky. Even with the graduations of the squad's top two scorers from a year ago, new sideline-pacer Randy Rahe molded his remaining talent into league champions. Weber used a 7-6 nonconference slate as a feeling-out process before winning eight of its final 10 games to claim its 14th NCAA appearance, powered by the nation's 12th-best field-goal percentage ( 49.1 percent) and solid defense out of its backcourt. David Patten, a 6-8 senior, was a shrinking violet who shied away from the paint in 2005-06, but he's blossomed into a purple people-eating Big Sky Player of the Year (14.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg) under Rahe's tutelage.
Patten is a great story of course. But there are also other guys in the Weber State teams, who have played a big role in getting their tickets punched for the Big Dance. Here is Sportline’s take on Weber State:
Strengths: Weber State completed a worst-to-first finish in the Big Sky thanks to tremendous team chemistry, which is a direct reflection of first-year head coach Randy Rahe. The Wildcats are a solid defensive team and show great hustle at that end of the floor. Transition offense can be a strength, thanks in part to the quickness of Harris. Silveira is dangerous when he zips into the lane. Patten is effective on the blocks and on the perimeter.
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.
(Juan Pablo) Silveria and (Dezmon )Harris are two capable guards in the Weber State backcourt, who are respectively averaging 11.2 and 10.9 points per game [Mid Majority Report]. For more on these two guys check out the UCLA v. Weber State "Pants Party" over at Deadspin:
Dezmon Harris, the junior point guard who's not really a point guard. You'll recognize him by his ball-handling skills, his fearless drives to the basket and his absolutely gigantic head. A head that size should be on a 7-footer's body; Harris is 6-1. Sophomore guard Juan Pablo (JP) Silveira of Uruguay has scored in double figures eight of his last nine games. He also is smoking hot and has developed a devoted female fan base in Ogden and among the ladies of Deadspin.
Now that was from Jen Philon, some Weber State fan. Not to be outdone, Trevor Gribble, one of our BNers is letting the world know about couple of secret weapons from the arsenal of Ben Ball warriors:
Orange County, brah! A lot of people make a big deal out of the fact that UCLA has 2 Cameroonians, a Canadian and a Serbian pimp (Facebook pictures don't lie) on the roster. That's just fine and dandy, but in all seriousness, what college team doesn't have a full UN committee on their roster these days? The real void in the college basketball demographic can be found by taking the 405 South about an hour from the UCLA campus. How many kids can you name who just two years ago were busy partying with the cast of Laguna Beach and are now playing D1 ball? If you're a talented high school athlete in the 949, your priorities typically look like this: Surf, girls, surf, girls, volleyball practice brah!, surf, girls, hair gel, water polo practice, surf, girls, girls. High School Basketball in the OC?? Give me a break! Only the most baller of ballers can pull that off, and UCLA has not one, but two of them on the team: Mike Roll and James Keefe. Two OC studs who could have just as easily been majoring in Vagina Acquisition at USC, but instead chose to help lead UCLA to dominance.
How can I follow that? We are all so proud of you Trevor!

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.