by Zachary Knecht
Featured Image: Photo by Kristin Murphy of Deseret News)
Conference play has arrived for the Weber State Wildcats as they host the Northern Colorado Bears on Thursday night. Weber State comes into this game after dropping their last contest, but the Wildcats have been looking solid as of late, while the Bears come in on a two-game skid. This game will be for the taking of WSU as they are 4-point favorites coming into the action.
The ‘Cats have started finding their rhythm after a rocky start, and they will hope to capitalize on this at home. There are a couple of keys to the matchup the ‘Cats should be mindful of to leave with a W.
Take Advantage of the Defense
The Bears showcase a poor defensive front, allowing nearly 80 points on the season (79.7), while the Wildcats’ offense has still been subpar statistically despite the late surge (66.5 PPG). Weber State needs to attack this feeble defense to pull this one out. The ‘Cats have some dangerous scorers that can take advantage of a team like this. Dillon Jones leads the team with 14.4 points per game, with Steven Verplancken Jr. sticking close behind with 12 PPG. Junior Ballard has been a stud this season with 8.9 PPG, while Alex Tew and KJ Cunningham have put in the work with 6.5 PPG and 6.4 PPG, respectively.
Weber State has more than enough firepower despite what the stats say and can use a matchup like this to turn the burners back on after a slew of impressive shooting performances.
Contain the Duo
Dalton Knecht and Daylen Kountz will be at the top of the drawing board for the ‘Cats since they have been a potent duo for this Bears offense. Both players shoot for 17.8 points per game and will wreak havoc if they aren’t contained. Matt Johnson II (13.4 PPG) and Caleb Shaw (8.3 PPG) are also efficient scorers for this offense, meaning the ‘Cats’ defense will have their hands full all night. Weber State’s defense has been solid to this point though, only allowing 68.7 PPG, so it is a task they are more than capable of fulfilling.
Otherwise, these teams size up very evenly. Their shooting percentages are nearly identical as well as their rebounds, assists, and blocks per game. The Wildcats have a few less glaring holes than this Northern Colorado team though.
Weber State will host the Bears at the Dee Events Center at 7:00 p.m. MST where they will hope to capitalize at the beginning of conference play.