As pretty much everyone knows by now, once again the Weber State University men’s basketball team dropped a crucial game to the University of Montana.
The loss to the Grizzlies left a bad taste in my mouth. Losing always sucks, but losing to the Grizzlies just seems worse.
The Wildcats fell to the Grizzlies on Tuesday, and now the conference tournament will be held in Missoula. Some people have written off WSU’s chances, but I still think WSU can pull off two wins to secure the Big Sky Championship.
Call me a homer, but in my opinion, WSU is still the best team in the conference. It had a bad game on Tuesday, and anyone who watched the game knows that’s not how the team normally plays.
Throughout most of the game, the players were rushing down the court, taking quick shots and not setting up properly on defense.
The Wildcats also had a horrendous shooting performance from beyond the arc. The normally dangerous Scott Bamforth was ice cold as were Gelaun Wheelwright and, for most of the game, Damian Lillard.
I expect that if the Wildcats and Grizzlies meet in the conference tournament, it will be a different story.
For one thing, I expect Lillard will be back with a vengeance. Earlier this season following WSU’s first loss, Lillard dropped 40 points on Portland State University.
He is one of the hardest working people I know, and I expect him to look for revenge in the event that WSU meets up against the Grizzlies in the tourney.
Another thing that could help the Wildcats in the tournament is having Frank Otis back. Otis played on Tuesday, but it was his first game in a long time following an injury. He only played nine minutes and didn’t contribute much.
Hopefully, after getting some playing time, he will be able to make a bigger impact in the championship game should WSU get that far.
I would expect the Wildcats to be calmer during the tournament. Tuesday was a very nervous performance by WSU, but hopefully the team is past that now.
Following the game, Bamforth said that the team will focus on togetherness and try to play more as a team during the tournament. That will help WSU as it tries to book a trip to the NCAA tournament.
In all likelihood, the final of the Big Sky Tournament will be a rematch of Tuesday’s game. I’ll be there in Montana to watch it, and I think the outcome will be different.
If the team relaxes, slows down and plays the kind of basketball that has been successful for it all season, it should be able to get the win.
I still believe that WSU has the best team in the conference. It has the best coach and the best player and should knock off the Grizzlies.
If the Wildcats are able to win the Big Sky Tournament, they will have the chance to play in the NCAA tournament. Even if they don’t win a game in the tournament, it would be a great reward for the team, especially Lillard, to get a chance to step onto the big stage.
This is one of the most talented teams I’ve ever watched play, and it would be sad to see its season end in Montana. Here’s to hoping that it can bounce back next week.