Weber State coach Randy Rahe is relieved to have this stretch of the Wildcats' schedule over with.
Even a solid win over Montana State on Saturday didn't feel like a great performance for Weber State, despite shooting 64.1 percent from the field, because of the fatigue that Rahe said was beginning to set in from the combination of a long road trip, a week off and then four games in eight days at home.
"I was worried about this," Rahe said. "We go on that Montana State-Montana trip, we bused it the whole way around and obviously it didn't go great, then we've got to get on a plane and go up to North Dakota/Siberia, where ever the hell we were at, we get there, we've got to compete and then you fly down to (Northern) Colorado, you've got to go through that one ---- and then when you get back, you've got to go through four games in (eight) days."
Temperatures in Grand Forks, N.D., dropped as low as negative 17 with a windchill colder than 30 below, so the Wildcats could only get hotter after winning there on Jan. 31. That was a start of a six-game winning streak so far for Weber State, which now has a week to prepare for a non-conference BracketBusters game against Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Okla., next Saturday.
WSU is on a roll now, but it's still a good time to rejuvenate and recharge for the stretch run of the Big Sky Conference race.
Rahe said he's proud of the Wildcats for getting through the last several weeks to get to where they are now: 19-5 overall, 14-2 in the Big Sky.
"If you look at these last four games we've had at home, three of them are rivalry games: Southern Utah, Idaho State and Montana, those are pretty big rivals," he said. "It took a lot of emotion."
And the fourth, Montana State, was a revenge game, if not a primary rivalry. The Bobcats handed Weber State their first loss of the Big Sky season, a defeat that still has WSU chasing league-leader Montana for the conference title despite thumping the Grizzlies on Thursday.
The Wildcats led from start to finish Saturday against Montana State, but there was a sense that they hadn't played with the same precision and intensity that they brought on Thursday versus Montana.
Rahe said he welcomed expectations for his program being high enough that there is sometimes dissatisfaction even after a good win.
"I'd rather have it that way than people thinking we can't win a game," he said.
Expect the Wildcats to remain ranked No. 1 in the nation in field goal percentage again when the stats are updated by the NCAA for last week.
Shooting 64.1 percent against Montana State on Saturday helped Weber State jump from 50.9 percent shooting, where they started the week, to 51.3 percent on the season.
Individually, the Wildcats have three of the top 10 shooters in the league. Senior forward Frank Otis leads the Big Sky Conference in shooting at 68.8 percent, while junior center Kyle Tresnak is fourth (56.3 percent) and junior forward Davion Berry is ninth (50.4 percent).
Meanwhile, Berry, who scored 21 on Saturday and has reached double digits in eight straight games, has moved up to fourth in the conference in scoring (14.9 points per game).
Weber State Five-O
Weber State's athletic department and the Wildcat Club are planning a celebration March 8-9 to honor the 50th anniversary of Division I basketball at the school. The fifty greatest players of the past 50 years will be named. WSU, which has won 19 Big Sky championships and played in 14 NCAA Tournaments, has the 23rd best winning percentage in college basketball history.
For more information on the 50th anniversary celebration, contact the Wildcat Club at 801-626-6576.
Roy Burton covers Weber State sports for the Standard-Examiner. Follow @RoyBurton on Twitter, read more about the Wildcats at blogs.standard.net/wsu-sports-blog or reach him at email@example.com.