by Zachary Knecht
Featured Image: Photo by Weber State Athletics
Portland State Weber State Preview
After splitting their road games, the Weber State Wildcats aim to take down the Portland State Vikings at the Dee Events Center. The 8-10 ‘Cats were stifled in their game at Montana State, dropping their conference record to 3-2, while 8-10 Portland State is coming off a heart-breaking two-point loss against Northern Colorado, falling to a 2-3 record in the Big Sky.
This game can swing in either direction. With an over/under of 142, the ‘Cats are favored by four points in Thursday’s contest, but ESPN analytics slightly lean in favor of the Vikings (52%).
Who to Watch
For Weber State, watch out for Dillon Jones. The star Wildcat forward has been on a tear this season, and his performance will play a massive role in the result of this game. Against an offensive juggernaut like the Vikings, Jones can impact both sides of the ball, making him a valuable tool for Weber State’s roster. He averages 14.8 points and 10.6 rebounds per contest. The man is a walking double-double. Stars are made for games like this, so expect Jones to show out in front of his home crowd.
For the Vikings, keep an eye on Cameron Parker. The dominant guard is a force to be reckoned with on Portland State’s offense. He averages 14.7 PPG on an efficient 49.6% from the field and is a facilitator on offense, sporting 5.9 assists per night. He practically lives at the free-throw line, hitting 84.8% of his shots, and having 81 more such attempts than anyone else on the roster despite missing two games this season. The Wildcats’ defense needs to keep him in check and away from the line.
A Tale of Two Sides of the Ball
Weber State and Portland State have been nearly opposite teams this season, statistically. The Vikings lead the Big Sky in points per game (77.7), while the Wildcats sit last in the rankings in the conference (66.1). But Weber State’s defense makes up for this, placing second in points allowed (67.6), and Portland State hanging down at eighth (73.2). Because of this, Thursday night’s game may come down to which team will break first. Will the Vikings’ offense cool off away from home, where they’re only 3-6 on the year, or will the Wildcats’ defense falter in a much-needed home game?
Weber State must be thankful for being at home in this game, holding a 4-2 record in front of the fans at the Dee Events Center. As we approach the midway point this season, these games become more and more vital.
The Wildcats host the Vikings in an important conference game Thursday at 7 pm MST at the Dee Events Center.