College hoops fans in the state of Utah don’t need to hang up their high tops just yet. And if BYU and Weber State have their way, the season will not end for at least another week.
Both teams won their opening pair of games in their respective tournaments, and will advance to the quarterfinals. BYU defeated Washington and Mercer to earn a date against No. 1 seed Southern Mississippi. Weber State trounced both Cal Poly and Air Force to advance in the collegeinsider.com tournament.
Both also played last night in their quarterfinal game. BYU traveled to Southern Miss while the Wildcats hosted Oral Roberts at the Dee Events Center.
BYU rode the momentum provided by a raucous home court advantage to their two wins, the latest on Monday night when they dominated Mercer from the opening tap. Mercer got as close as four in the second half, but could not stop the Cougars three-point barrage. BYU finished with 10 threes on 24 shots, many at key times in the game.
Weber State dominated its opening two games, beating Cal Poly by 42 points and Air Force by 21. They have won 15 of their last 16 games, the only loss being a three-point defeat at Montana in the Big Sky championship game. One of the hottest teams in college basketball right now, the Wildcats hosted an Oral Roberts team they already defeated this season.
The Wildcats and the Golden Eagles met in Tulsa in February. Weber State earned a 70-66 win.
The season is likely the most successful in Weber State history. The 28 victories mark the most in school and Big Sky history. A trip to the tourney finals would set the record with at least 30 wins.
The semifinals will be played either Friday or Saturday, and the Finals are scheduled for Monday. Should the Wildcats make the finals, the game will be seen on CBS Sports Network.
A BYU victory would propel them to the NIT semifinals to be held in Madison Square Garden. Despite their impressive home wins, and their overall home record in the NIT, the Cougars have never won an NIT game away from the Marriott Center.
However, the team is 6-2 in neutral court games, all at the Garden. History has not been too kind to BYU as the school attempted to make it to New York, but should it get there, the Cougars will be a tough out.
NIT semifinals and finals are scheduled for Monday and Wednesday, both days airing on the ESPN networks.
With basketball season ending, sport fans are changing in their sneakers for cleats.
The state’s softball and baseball teams started conference play last week with mixed results.
In softball, BYU and Weber State were the most successful. BYU swept a four game series from San Diego while Weber State took two of three from North Dakota.
BYU will step out of conference play this weekend, hosting Houston for three games Friday and Saturday while the Wildcats host Portland State.
Utah and Utah State were both swept in their conference opening series, the Utes to California and the Aggies to San Jose State. Both will return to Utah this week, the Utes hosting perennial powerhouse Arizona while Utah State hosts New Mexico State.
In baseball, the Utes and Cougars faced off Tuesday night in their first game of the year. The Utes came off a road series where they took two of three from the preseason PAC-12 favorite Stanford, earning them their first PAC-12 wins of the season and putting their overall record greater than .500 for the first time since early in the season. BYU took two of three from BIG 12 school Kansas over the weekend, and a win against Utah would pull them to .500 on the season.
The weekend will see the two start key series in conference play. The Utes will travel to Arizona for a three-game set starting Friday while BYU hosts Pepperdine, looking for its first West Coast Conference victory of the season.
Bids for the NCAA gymnastics regionals were announced Monday. The Utes and Cougars will head for the Tuscaloosa Regional hosted by Alabama while Utah State will send three individuals to the Columbus Regional hosted by Ohio State. The regionals will take place Saturday, April 6th, with the top two finishing schools in each regional advancing to the NCAA Championship.
The Utes earned the second seed in the Tuscaloosa Regional while the Cougars will be the fifth seed. While Utah State did not earn a team bid, their three individuals can earn bids to the NCAA championship by finishing in the top two overall in the Columbus Region in their respective events.