Weber State 2009 NIT Tournament Preview
Weber State Wildcats -
Big Sky (21-9, 15-1)
Big Wins: 12/11 Long Beach State (72-63), 1/8 at Portland State (80-66), 2/14 Portland State (78-68)
Bad Losses: 12/23 vs Southern Miss (49-68), 1/15 Montana State (70-75), 3/10 vs Montana State (61-70)
Coach: Randy Rahe
Probable Weber State Starters:
Kellen McCoy, Senior, Guard, 14.1 ppg, 2.8 apg, 3.6 rpg
Damian Lillard, Freshman, Guard, 11.5 ppg, 2.9 apg, 3.8 rpg
Nick Hansen, Junior, Guard, 8.7 ppg, 1.5 apg
Kyle Bullinger, Freshman, Forward, 8.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg
Steve Panos, Junior, Center, 9.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg
Key Weber State Roleplayers:
Daviin Davis, Senior, Forward, 9.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Darin Mahoney, Freshman, Forward, 2.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg
Trevor Morris, Sophomore, Center, 4.t ppg, 3.9 rpg
Why The Wildcats Can Surprise:
Weber State does not have a superstar on the team, but this is a group that plays well together and shoots quite efficiently. It is their ability to hit three-pointers that has made this a dangerous team that could beat a bigger, more athletic team. The diminutive Kellen McCoy is the team’s leading scorer who can hit the outside shot and use his quickness to get to the basket. McCoy’s backcourt mate, Damian Lillard, is not the most consistent shooter on the team, but he is an effective scorer.
Nick Hansen, a 6-4 wing, is the pure shooter of the bunch. Just about all of his shots will come from beyond the arc and he connects on over two per contest. The emergence of power forward Kyle Bullinger has added another dynamic to the offense. He is a great outside shooter and is always a threat to score inside or outside. For opposing big men who do not like to defend outside of the paint, Bullinger causes a major headache.
Why The Wildcats Can Disappoint:
If the Wildcats hope to pull off an upset or two, they cannot afford to turn the ball over. McCoy, Lillard and small forward Daviin Davis are all decent passers, but they also turn the ball over way too much. The team as a whole commits 14.4 turnovers per contestand that number has to go down. This is not a team that scores 80 points per game and likes to run; the problem is simply inexperience and poor decision making. McCoy is a senior and it will be mostly up to him to keep the ball under control.
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Who To Watch:
Generally teams in the Big Sky will have depth problems in the paint, but that is not the case with Coach Randy Rahe’s squad. Center Steve Panos and Bullinger are the starting frontcourt. Panos has developed into a relatively consistent scorer in the paint and his presence makes it so the defense cannot simply defend the three-point line. Davis is the versatile player who will do a little bit of everything. He is undersized at 6-4, but he will make up for it with his athleticism. If Weber State needs more size on the floor they will look to 6-8 redshirt freshman Darin Mahoney and 6-9 sophomore Trevor Morris.
Weber State By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.2 (115th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.2 (129, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.0 (21, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.5 (127, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.9 (40, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.4 (20, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.2 (40, 1)
Rebound Margin: 0.3 (176, 5)
Assists Per Game: 12.4 (217, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.4 (214, 6)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Round loss to San Diego State
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer
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