Weber State men’s basketball already set records this year for the most wins for both the team and the Big Sky. Tuesday night they continued to stake their claim when they hosted East Carolina in the final of the collegeinsider.com Tournament.
No Big Sky or Weber State team in history played for a championship in any postseason tournament. The 30-6 Wildcats rode their nationally top-ranked offense to the championship game, ranking first in both field goal percentage (50.6 percent shooting) and 3-point shooting (41.6 percent).
Their defense is also held up, limiting opponents to 27.9 percent from three. It leads the NCAA in that category. In fact, the Wildcats are the only team in the nation leading the entire NCAA in three separate categories.
The game will be a recruiting boon for head coach Randy Rahe. Televised nationally on CBS Sports Network, the team continues to ride the exposure NBA star Damian Lillard started last year and still gives the team.
If this keeps up, do not be surprised if, in the near future, Rahe is mentioned for head coaching openings in the higher-rated conferences.
After failing to earn an NCAA Tournament bid, no one would have blamed BYU to fold up in the NIT. Instead, the Cougars played some of their best basketball of the season, reaching the NIT semifinals in New York City.
The last time the Cougars were in New York, they had a poor showing in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn, losing their two games against Florida State and Notre Dame by an average of 14 points. Baylor is one of the top offensive teams in the nation, so the key for BYU will be solid defense on NBA prospects Pierre Jackson and Isaiah Austin.
Should BYU win its Tuesday night match, the Cougars will face the winner of Iowa and Maryland tonight at 7. It airs on ESPN.
The diamond continues to be hot for the Cougars as well. In baseball, BYU wrapped up its series with conference leader Pepperdine by taking two of the three games.
Thursday starts a three-game set at Santa Clara, which sits at the bottom of the WCC. A series victory will get the Cougars (13-14, 2-4), which sit seventh in the nine-team league, back in the conference title race.
In other events happening on college campuses this week, Utah gymnastics will kick off the NCAA Regionals Saturday in Alabama. The event will be streamed live. The link will be available on the University’s athletic website.
In softball, Houston swept BYU last week, but will try to get back on track against Utah Valley on Friday and Saturday.
Utah, coming off its first home series and first PAC-12 win of the season, will try to get another victory while traveling to Oregon for a three game set. The team will also host UCLA Saturday and Sunday in another three-game series.
Utah State softball, winless so far in WAC play, will host Texas-San Antonio this Friday and Saturday in a three-game series. Weber State, after a double header last night at Utah Valley, will host Idaho State this weekend.
Also, this is the time of year spring football winds down. BYU will finish spring practice this week, but held its annual spring game last Saturday. Weber State will hold its spring game April 13, while Utah and Utah State have their spring games on April 20.