Weber State men’s basketball gets 3 tough opportunities at Atlantic Slam in Canada
Though attentive college basketball aficionados were aware of Weber State men’s basketball’s potential this season, Sunday boosted attention for the Wildcats after they rallied from 16 down to upset No. 23 Saint Mary’s.
Weber State (2-0) now appears high on the list for anyone nationally who compiles a “mid-major” Top 25 and, in the Associated Press Top 25, two voters put the Wildcats at No. 25, resulting in two ballot points in the poll (which, in one way of looking at it, makes Weber State tied for No. 38 in the national poll.)
And Dillon Jones (27.5 points, 12 rebounds per game) was a national player of the week in the season’s opening line of the calendar.
But 29 regular-season games remain and Weber State’s formidable path of nonconference opponents continues this weekend in Moncton, New Brunswick, for the Atlantic Slam — the first-ever NCAA games played in Atlantic Canada.
Though no teams will have radio calls, all games of the multi-team event will stream on the ESPN+ subscription service.
Here’s a look at Weber State’s schedule and opponents at the Atlantic Slam.
Game: 2 p.m. MST Friday
The Bulldogs were voted to finish fourth in the Big South this season and Weber State will be the team’s easiest, in comparison, Division I opponent to date after fairly competitive losses to No. 14 Arkansas (86-68) and No. 15 Baylor (77-62). Gardner Webb sits at No. 170 in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, which predict a three-point WSU (106th in KenPom) win at 62% probability.
GW has struggled in offensive efficiency this season (understandable, given its opponents) but has fared well defensively.
DQ Nicholas, a 6-foot-1 guard, returns after leading last year’s team in scoring (12.5 points per game); he’s at 8.7 points per game so far this season. Returning guards Caleb Robinson and Julien Soumaoro currently lead the Bulldogs, each averaging 13 points per game.
Game: 4 p.m. Saturday
Also the Bulldogs, Yale was picked to win the Ivy League and entered this season expected to be one of the best mid-majors in the country. Yale gave No. 11 Gonzaga a 40-minute battle and then beat Loyola Marymount (83-80) in a true road game. Yale is 65th in Pomeroy’s ratings and is predicted to win by four at 64% probability. The Bulldogs can score the ball and will pose a challenge to WSU’s usually good defense.
Guard Bez Mbeng leads Yale in scoring so far this season at 16.7 points per game. John Poulakidas, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard, is 8 of 12 from the 3-point line for 13.3 points per game, and senior forward Matt Knowling averages 10.7 points and five rebounds per contest.
Game: 11 a.m. Sunday
Colgate was picked to win the Patriot League this season. The Raiders are nearly 2-0, squeaking by Brown at home before leading Syracuse by 24 points early in the second half Tuesday, only to lose by four. Colgate is another offensively tough team. Pomeroy’s ratings have the Raiders at 147th and predict WSU winning by three points at 58% probability.
Keegan Records is a force inside. The 6-foot-10, fifth-year senior is averaging 15.5 points and 10 rebounds per game so far, shooting 54.2% from the field. Sophomore guard Braeden Smith keys the offense from the perimeter; he’s averaging 15.5 points and six assists per game.
Nicolas Louis-Jacques has 12.5 points per game early in the season, while 6-foot-7 stretch forward Ryan Moffat is at nine points per game and is the most likely to lead the Raiders in 3-point attempts.