Preview: Weber State men’s basketball returns home for rematch with Cal Poly
Weber State men’s basketball prepares for its first home game against a Division I opponent this season while looking to bounce back from a flat performance at Utah Valley, welcoming a Cal Poly squad with perhaps an upward trajectory over the last two weeks.
The Wildcats (4-3) turned in a strong first month of the season, with some of the best road (Saint Mary’s) and neutral (Yale) wins in the past decade, but letting leads slip away in one-possession, neutral-site losses to Colgate and Gardner-Webb.
But after more than two weeks between games against Division I opponents, WSU bussed to Orem and, after a hot shooting start, couldn’t find enough points or enough stops to hold back Utah Valley.
Outside shooting is an increasing concern for Weber State. The Wildcats entered Tuesday as the nation’s No. 1 free-throw shooting team but went 6 of 18 in the road game. WSU excels at taking care of the ball but too many of those possessions end with missed shots. Defensively, Weber guards the 3-point line well, both in attempts and percentage, and rebounds well, but sometimes struggles with interior defense.
WSU hosts Cal Poly (3-6) after going on the road last year and thrashing the Mustangs by 29 points — the first signal of the Wildcats’ drastic turnaround last season (2-7 start to the regular season, 15-7 finish).
No doubt Cal Poly remembers that contest, as well as that it was without its best player in that game: 6-foot-8 combo guard Kobe Sanders. He’s averaging 17.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and two assists per game.
Cal Poly was not competitive in early road losses to Denver or Wyoming, but showed signs of life with a home win over a decent San Jose State team and by taking Oregon State to two overtimes Monday. In between those games, however, was a 15-point road loss at Idaho in a game that was 69-40 with 10 minutes left.
The Mustangs struggle to shoot well or defend; their best characteristics involve limiting their own turnovers and forcing them defensively, and shooting a high quantity of 3-pointers. If those 3s start to fall — like a poor-shooting UVU team did against Weber on Tuesday — the trajectory of the game has the potential to change quickly.
ODDS & PREDICTIONS
Ken Pomeroy‘s formula favors Weber State (No. 139) by a 70-56 score at 89% probability over Cal Poly (No. 330).
Betting odds favor Weber State by 13.5 points, with, using the over-under of 126.5, a suggested score of 70-57.
HOW TO WATCH
The game’s video broadcast will be on the ESPN+ subscription service with Steve Brown and Joe Cravens on the call. Steve Klauke and David Patten will have the radio call on 103.1 FM and www.1031thewave.com.
Weber State leads the all-time series 2-0, and both were blowouts: an 85-43 home win in the 2013 CIT, and last year’s 74-45 decision in San Luis Obispo.