Two months ago, anyone puting NCAA Tournament and Weber State in the same sentence would have been laughed at if the words `not a chance' weren't also included.
Now, after the Wildcats started the season with a miserable 2-9 beginning, Weber State is the second seed at the Big Sky Tournament with plenty of momentum and confidence going into Friday's semi-final game against the lowest seed remaining after today's opening round."Obviously, the big advantage is only having to play to win the championship," said WSU coach Ron Abegglen. "Flagstaff is a difficult place to win three in a row."
Northern Arizona - by virtue of its regular season title - earned the right to host the Big Sky tourney. Abegglen is quick to call the Lumberjacks the favorite but also knows his team has a bit of confidence should the two top seeds meet.
Only two weeks ago, with the top-seed in the tournament on the line, Weber State pushed NAU to the limit before falling in overtime. "They have the homecourt advantage plus they are on a nice winning streak right now," Abegglen said.
The Wildcats are also on a bit of a streak. After the 2-9 start, WSU sprinted to the end of the regular season by winning 12 of 15.
"I've been pleased with our play on the defensive end the last couple of weeks," the seventh-year Wildcat coach said. "We are starting to take that end more seriously. We've had some great play off the bench which has carried us in a couple of games."
Leading the Cats into Friday's game will be two-time all Big Sky player Damien Baskerville and Alex Fisher. Fisher, 11.5 points per game, topped the 1,000-point mark in career scoring in the last game and Baskerville, 15.0 points per game, are the top scorers on the team, but several other Wildcats have taken turns leading WSU to victory.
BIG SKY NOTES: The Pepsi Big Sky Tournament will be broadcast live in Weber and Davis counties. TCI will broadcast the 6:30 p.m. Weber State game on channel 9 in Weber County and channel 12 in Davis County...Abegglen is 6-5 in Big Sky tourney games in his seven years at WSU.