OGDEN -- Though WSU has had flashier wins on the national hoops scene in its illustrious history, in at least one sense, this is the deepest Weber State has ever gone into the postseason.
No Wildcats basketball team has ever played on a date as late as March 27, as the 2012-13 squad will tonight when it faces Oral Roberts at 7 p.m. at the Dee Events Center in the quarterfinals of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
With the school and league record for most wins in a season already under its belt, Weber State (28-6) will also set a Big Sky Conference records for most games played and most points scored tonight.
Last year, Utah State was the in-state team making noise in the CIT, going all the way to the championship game. This year, it's Weber State carrying the banner for the state in the CollegeInsider.com tourney.
'Cats coach Randy Rahe says his players love the game as much as any team he's coached and they're just having fun keeping their season alive by beating Cal Poly and Air Force in the first two rounds of the CIT.
And it might help ease the sting of not making the NCAA Tournament after losing to Montana in the Big Sky Tournament championship game for the third time in the past four seasons.
"A little bit. It's never going to replace it," Rahe said. "We lost a 3-point game on the road at Montana in a tough ballgame we felt we had a chance to possibly win. That's always going to be there, but these kids have gotten to play on. They've had success and I think any time you win more games it eases the pain."
What they've accomplished is a 28-win season and a chance for seniors Scott Bamforth and Frank Otis to continue their college careers.
"These kids have gone on and they've shown a lot of character to come back after a tough loss to play really well in the Cal Poly game and they did it again against Air Force," Rahe said. "You want the prize of going to the NCAA Tournament, we all do, we're gonna get there, it's gonna come, but for these two seniors, it was their last go-round, so it was pretty hard for those two guys and hard for our team. But the more you win ... the more these kids realize what they've accomplished this year has been pretty successful."
More games equals more experience, which can only be a good thing for WSU looking toward the future, Rahe said.
Tonight's contest will provide a rare rematch between two non-conference opponents who met once this season already in a BracketBusters game, with WSU picking up a big road win over Oral Roberts 70-66 on Feb. 23 at the Mabee Center in Tulsa, Okla.
As part of the BracketBusters terms, the Golden Eagles (20-14) will also have to play a return game at the Dee Events Center within the next two seasons, though the game has not been scheduled yet.
In their previous meeting, WSU junior center Kyle Tresnak scored a game-high 20 points and Bamforth added 16 while the Wildcats rallied in the second half and kept ORU's top three players under their averages. Senior guard Warren Niles and senior center Damen Bell-Holter were all-Southland Conference players, while University of Utah transfer Shawn Glover, a junior forward, was named to the second team.
Oral Roberts' Big 3 really has to be the Big 4, Rahe says, with junior forward Stephen Roundtree coming off a 21-point, 13-rebound double-double in Oral Roberts' second round win over UC Irvine on Monday night.
Given a chance to advance to the CIT's final four, Weber State has to continue to defend its home court, where it's won twice so far in the tourney. WSU is 16-1 at the Purple Palace and could reach 17, another first in school history, with another victory.
Overall, Weber State has won 15 of its last 16 games.
The other three CIT semifinalists were determined in games played Tuesday night.