Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
OGDEN – The drum beats on for Weber State.
The Wildcats will play another game after setting the program and conference record for most wins in a season (28) on Saturday. On Wednesday they’ll play either UC Irvine or Oral Roberts depending on the outcome of that game this evening.
But, in all reality, how much does winning the CIT Tournament actually mean? After all, not only is it not the NCAA Tournament, but it’s below the NIT too. And frankly, relatively few care about the NIT.
The CIT isn’t Hall-of-Fame material. It isn’t worthy of making T-Shirts, either. But, what it can do is prolong the season for seniors. Anyone who has played sports realizes how difficult is to lace up the sneakers for the last time. For Scott Bamforth and Frank “Mook” Otis, it delays the inevitable.
“I think it’s great – it’s fantastic. I think it’s a great reward for our kids,” WSU coach Randy Rahe said. “It’s a great reward for our seniors to keep playing – Mook and Scott have totally given up themselves for the team. Neither one of those kids have had a bad day this year – not a bad practice, not a bad game where they haven’t worked their tails off. So, it’s a great reward for them.”
Is it more than a farewell tour? Can it actually benefit the program and not just the seniors? For Stanford, the NIT champion last season – it didn’t. The Cardinal lost in the first round of the NIT this season.
In the 2012 CIT, Utah State hosted the title game and one year later wasn't invited to postseason play. That being said, the Aggies were more plagued with injuries and sickness than “I Am Legend” this season.
The best comparison for success in the CIT is Mercer. The Bears will play BYU in Provo tonight in the second-round of the NIT after beating the Aggies in the championship last year.
“It’s also great for our younger kids to experience postseason play and then also have some success. It helps them to understand this is what we do here,” Rahe said. “We’re trying to be a winning program and plus we’re getting more games. The more games you get the better you play. It’s great for all these kids that are going to be returning next to get some game experience and postseason experience.”
How important is the CIT, Weber State nation? Can success in the CIT build the foundation for next season with all but two players returning? Use the hashtag “#WeAreWeber” on Twitter and voice your thoughts.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @tphibbsami
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