The Weber State University basketball team has been invited to its second consecutive BracketBuster tournament game. The Wildcats will host the University of Texas Arlington on Feb. 18.
The Sears BracketBuster provides programs with an opportunity to play top non-conference opponents roughly three weeks before Selection Sunday.
Each conference selects its participating teams before the season, and the match-ups for the event are determined by ESPN in conjunction with the conferences.
WSU will face the Mavericks for the first time on Feb 18. The game will be televised on ESPN 3. The Wildcats currently sit at 17-4 overall and 9-1 in Big Sky play. Junior Damian Lillard leads the nation in scoring at 24.4 points per game.
The Mavericks are currently 15-5 on the season and 7-0 in the Southland Conference and have won 11 straight games. Their last loss came on Dec. 20 when they lost 73-69 at Utah State University.
Senior LaMarcus Reed leads the team and is fourth in the conference in scoring at 16.1 points per game. UT Arlington is coached by Scott Cross, who is in his sixth season as head coach. They are currently ranked 19th in the latest Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major poll with WSU ranked 17th. The Mavericks will join the Western Athletic Conference this summer.
The Wildcats are 3-3 all-time against teams currently in the Southland Conference. This will be the first ever meeting between the two schools. Even though both teams have never met, coaches and players are expecting a good match-up since both teams are closely ranked.
“We don’t know much about the other team,” said junior Scott Bamforth. “It feels good to be a part of this game, and even though we don’t know much about them, it should be a really good game, and we look forward to the challenge.”
The Sears Bracketbusters is in its 10th season and includes 142 schools from across the country, including all nine Big Sky Conference schools. A total of 13 games are televised nationally.
“This is our second time going to the Bracketbuster,” Bamforth said. “We have an opportunity to play another team that has a similar record to us going into the tournament.”
The nation’s leading scorer Lillard has been moved into the top 11 players nominated to receive the Bob Cousy award this year.
The Cousy award is named after former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy and is given to the top performing point guard in college basketball. Lillard is also a finalist for the John Wooden award.
Other notable match-ups for the tournament include the University of Hawaii vs. the University of Montana. UM are currently 2nd place in the Big Sky conference.
Also, Montana State University will take on California State University Fullerton. MSU is currently 4th place in the conference.
All BracketBuster games will take place from Feb. 17th — 18th on various ESPN channels and include several Big Sky conference games.