For the second time in as many seasons, Weber State will host a first-round tournament game against a team making its first-ever postseason appearance.
After 19 seasons at the Division I level, Cal Poly, a team that finished third in the Big West Conference, and owns an early-season victory at UCLA, visits the Dee Events Center on Wednesday at 7 p.m. for the opening round of the 32-team CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
All CIT games are at campus sites with the championship broadcast by CBS Sports Network.
The Mustangs (18-13), who play football in the Big Sky Conference, won six straight before losing to eventual Big West Tournament champion Pacific in the semifinals Friday.
For Randy Rahe and the Wildcats (26-6), it’s all about recovering from three intense games in three days and a stomach-turning three-point loss to Montana in the Big Sky Conference finals Saturday.
“If I have to sell our team [on the CIT], then maybe I don’t have the right people in the locker room,” Rahe said. “It comes down to you get another chance to compete with another quality opponent on our home court. They need to be excited to play.”
Last season, WSU opened with a CIT victory against Utah Valley before losing in overtime at Loyola Marymount.
The second round will be Thursday to Saturday, with the quarterfinals scheduled for March 24-26. Following the semifinals March 28-30, the championship game is set for April 2.
“This is a great opportunity for our program to keep making history and a reward for our three seniors who committed their hearts and souls the last four years,” said fourth-year Cal Poly coach Joe Callero in a statement. “The journey isn’t over for us yet and we love that we’ll have a chance to continue competing.”
Rahe will spend Monday looking at Cal Poly, which owns victory against opponents UC Irvine and BSC foe Northern Colorado.
“It’s a big challenge,” WSU senior guard Scott Bamforth said. “Obviously, our goal was to be in the NCAA Tournament. That didn’t happen. We’ll be ready to play.”
Weber State vs. Cal Poly
P Wednesday, 7 p.m.
TV • None
About Cal Poly
Location: San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Coach: Joe Callero, 63-62 in 4th season
Record: 18-13, 12-6 Big West (3rd place0
Top player: Chris Eversley, 15.8 points, 7.1 rebounds per game
Did you know?: This marks Cal Poly’s first postseason appearance in 19 years as a Division I program.