There's a collision coming in the Big Sky.
Weber State and Montana are steaming through the conference, deadlocked in a tie for first place, and if both can get there without being derailed, the two schools will meet in Missoula, Mont., on the final day of league play, Feb. 28, with the Big Sky championship on the line -- and the right to host the conference tournament.
With matching 12-1 league records, no one else can catch Weber State (20-4) and Montana (19-6) for the top two spots: The Big Sky tourney will either be in Ogden or Missoula on March 6-7, with the 'Cats and Griz guaranteed byes into the semifinals.
Montana's track to the title looks easier, with three home conference games, while Weber State has three league games left on the road, first at Montana State in Bozeman, Mont., this Wednesday, then to Greeley, Colo., on Feb. 23 to face Northern Colorado, then the showdown in Missoula.
Wildcats junior point guard Damian Lillard hopes the last game is for the title, but he's not thinking about Montana yet.
"If we start worrying about what they're doing, we might end up dropping one. The best thing for us to do is focus on ourselves and just try to win games," Lillard said. "That's what we've been doing up to this point and we've been successful that way, focusing on the next game. Hopefully at the end of the season, we'll end up on their court and it will be a battle for first place."
WSU coach Randy Rahe acknowledged the Wildcats keep tabs on what Montana is doing -- kind of.
"A little bit," he said, "but we don't focus on it. ... If you worry about what the other teams are doing, Montana or whoever it is, it just zaps your energy. We need a lot of energy right now. It's mid-February. Our guys know, everybody knows what they're doing, but we don't talk about it. We just try to get to practice, work on what we need to work on, try to get the next game and then hopefully try to keep pace."
Rahe said the Grizzlies have a favorable schedule now, while the Wildcats have the most challenging stretch left in the conference.
"We're going to go embrace it," he said.
"Hell, why not? Let's go take a swing at it and see what happens. That's our mindset."
One postitive sign for the Wildcats: Weber State notched its 20th win of the season Saturday. The 'Cats had won 20 games three previous times in Rahe's six seasons in Ogden -- and each time they also won the Big Sky regular season title.
Weber State will step away from the league chase this Saturday for a Bracketbusters contests against UT-Arlington at 6 p.m. at the Dee Events Center which will be shown on ESPN3. The Mavericks (19-5, 11-0), current members of the Southland Conference and future members of the WAC, have won a school-record 15 straight games.
Weber State's Wildcat Club luncheon will be held today at noon at the Ogden Marriott Hotel on 24th Street. The luncheons are open to the public; cost is $10 per person. For more information, call the Wildcat Club at 801-626-6576 or visit weberstatesports.com.
Roy Burton covers Weber State sports for the Standard-Examiner. Follow @RoyBurton on Twitter and read his WSU posts at blogs.standard.net/wsu-sports-blog.