OGDEN — When the college basketball schedule surfaced months ago, one date was circled.

Valentine's Day.

It's only appropriate that Weber State and Montana, two bitter Big Sky kingpins with a relationship that even Cupid couldn't fix, would meet on the holiday dedicated to expressing love. The Wildcats (17-5, 12-2) have lost three straight against the Grizzlies (18-4, 14-0), and if they hope to remain in contention for the conference title, winning Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Dee Events Center is the only option.

"They've got a very good team, obviously, they've won a whole bunch in a row. They've got a bunch of guys that have won a whole lot of basketball games up there and they've done an outstanding job with their program," said WSU coach Randy Rahe, whose team fell to Montana 76-74 in Missoula earlier this season. "In the last three years they've been very, very good. I think these last two teams have been the best two teams they've had in school history."

Montana enters with the second longest win streak in the nation (14) and winners of 25 consecutive Big Sky games — the longest span in conference history — dating back to Jan. 14, 2012, when it fell to WSU 80-64 in Ogden.

"We know that it's going to be a big challenge," Rahe said. "We know that we're going to have to play extremely well and in a lot of areas. I do think we're capable — there's no question about it — but it's a good challenge. We're excited about it and we're going to embrace it."

A diverse trio leads Montana: guards Kareem Jamar (13.9 ppg) and Will Cherry (13.3 ppg) and forward Mathias Ward (14.8 ppg).

The two teams combined rank in the top three in the conference in 22 statistical categories. WSU has won seven of the last eight meetings against the Grizzlies at home. Weber State has won four straight games after losses against Montana State and Montana.

Email: tphibbs@desnews.com

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Wildcats on the air

Montana (18-4, 14-0) at

Weber State (17-5, 12-2)

Today, 7 p.m.

Ogden, Dee Events Center

Radio: 1280AM

Online video: bigskytv.org