by Zachary Knecht
Featured Image: Photo by Weber State Athletics
Weber State Eastern Washington Preview
The road trip will continue for the Weber State Wildcats, traveling to Eastern Washington to play the Eagles. Two of the behemoths in the Big Sky will meet in what will hopefully shape up to be a great game.
The Wildcats are coming in hot, winners of their last three, but the Eagles are on another level with their 11-game winning streak. As we stand in the middle of the season, this contest will help shape up the Big Sky standings, with two of the top three teams duking it out in Reese Court.
The odds are not in Weber State’s favor according to ESPN Analytics, giving them a 16.8% of winning the game. They are 4.5-point underdogs, and the over/under stands at 141.
Who to Watch
Dillon Jones. Enough said.
Jones is the heart and soul of Weber State’s operation. Without him, there’s no telling where this team would be. Every time the ‘Cats need a big play or a big performance, the star forward always seems to be there to answer the call, and this will be his tallest task yet. Jones is coming off a 21-point, 14-rebound performance, and a duplicate of this may be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Wildcats’ offense.
Steven Verplancken Jr. also has found his groove, putting up 17 points against Idaho Thursday. If he stays hot, the ‘Cats can pull out of this contest with a W. And never count out Dyson Koehler. Every time Weber State needs a hand, he always seems to produce.
For the Eagles, their roster is immensely deep, but Steele Venters and Angelo Allegri, their top two producers, must be watched. Eastern Washington has the second-ranked scoring offense in the Big Sky (76.0 PPG), and slowing these two down will be a priority for the ‘Cats.
The Wildcats will have their hands full with this Eagle offense. Eastern Washington has terrorized opposing defense this season with their 47.9% shooting from the field, but Weber State needs to slow this down, or at least try to keep up. Statistically, the ‘Cats don’t size up against their opponent, but their shooting has taken over games in the past, and continuing this momentum can keep this game in reach.
Weber State also sports the third-ranked defense in the Big Sky, allowing 66.5 PPG, so they can battle with the best of them. The Eagles allow 70.5 PPG, so there are holes in their defense that can be taken advantage of.
One of the greatest disparities between these two teams is their rebounding numbers. The Eagles have dominated this category, grabbing 37 rebounds per contest, giving their already impressive offense more opportunities at buckets. Weber State needs to play aggressively to prevent this. They are only averaging 31.3 rebounds per night this year and mainly to the credit of Dillon Jones, so they will need to play aggressively and step up their game to stand a chance.
The ‘Cats will head to Eastern Washington Saturday at 3 pm MST to duel the Eagles in Eastern Washington.
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