If you're a fan of the Weber State men's basketball team, you may be glad to know the Wildcats are nice guys.
In fact, perhaps a little too nice for coach Randy Rahe's taste.
Wait ... what?
Yes, this deserves an explanation. See, Rahe loves his players and wants them to be good representatives of the school, their families and the basketball program. On the other hand, he wants them to be ruthless when they're on the basketball court.
He said as much last week following the Wildcats' victory over Idaho State.
While giving the Bengals credit for their effort in disrupting the Wildcats' momentum after a solid first-half effort, he expressed a bit of frustration at the way his guys failed to capitalize on a 21-point lead.
"When you get somebody down, you've got to put them away," he said. "You've got to have a little bit of nastiness when you get somebody down. We would get (the Bengals) down and it was like we wanted to be a bunch of nice guys and we'd let them back in. That's not going to work (in Big Sky Conference play)."
If the 'Cats are going the realize their high potential this season - if they're going to realize all their goals - developing not only a killer instinct, but a certain swagger, is a must.
They responded with a better effort Saturday afternoon, beating Sacramento State by 11 at the Dee Events Center.
"You could see it in their eyes," Rahe said. "We were a little more focused, we were a little more intense."
Still, the 'Cats at one point led by 16 and could have blown the game open. Instead, the Hornets scrapped their way back into the game. In the end, though the guys from WSU were just too good, too big in the post and too talented around the perimeter.
In theory, that's how it should be every night. On paper, they're the best team in the Big Sky. Of course they still have to go out and earn that respect on the court.
Rahe, who isn't big in stature, is an excellent example to his players. He's nothing if not scrappy and after Saturday's game he admitted he loves the challenge of taking his guys through a tough conference schedule, especially when they've got to go on the road and play in front of hostile crowds.
It should come as no surprise his players have adopted that same attitude.
"It just means that we have to practice harder and always be ready," junior Scott Bamforth said after Saturday's win. "We can have a night where we're not ready to play. Every team is going to give us their best and if we don't come ready to play, they're going to take advantage of us."
In each of the last four seasons the 'Cats have been picked to win the Big Sky. They won back-to-back championships in 2009 and '10. Last year, with point guard Damian Lillard out with a broken foot, they finished third.
This year, they've once again been picked to bring home the title.
"That's good," Rahe said. "We want everybody's best shot. If you are able to be successful when you get somebody's best shot, then it hurts that team even more."
But the question remains: Can they do it? Can this bunch of "nice guys" make themselves nasty enough to rip through the rest of the conference? Can they handle wearing a bullseye on their backs?
Without a doubt the 'Cats have a chance to blow through the Big Sky this season, especially if they hold themselves to a high standard of excellence. If they realize those expectations and still fall short, well, that's one thing. But if they fail because they lacked a vision of just how good they can be -- if they never develop that nastiness -- it'll be their own fault.
Stay tuned. This is definitely a show worth watching.
Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner's sports columnist. He also covers the Utah Jazz and the NBA. He can be reached at 801-625-4265 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets at http://twitter.com/jmb247