Ogden • Weber State will have a couple local connections when it travels to play Northern Iowa in the semifinals of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Tipoff is 6 p.m. (MDT) Saturday.
First, Wildcats coach Randy Rahe was born about three hours away, in tiny Bancroft.
“I’ve only been to Cedar Falls one time in my life,” Rahe said after WSU’s victory against Oral Roberts on Wednesday. “My dad didn’t let me get off the farm much.”
Also, Frank Tresnak, the father of Weber State center Kyle Tresnak, is a Northern Iowa alum. He’ll be in Cedar Falls rooting on his son.
“So there’s a little bit of extra excitement there,” Kyle Tresnak said.
“We’re just excited, pumped up, ready to play and to bring it back here for the championship.”
Should Weber State (29-6) defeat Northern Iowa (21-14) of the Missouri Valley Conference, the CIT championship will be played in Dee Events Center on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
And that’s part of what is pushing the Wildcats, that as well as playing new opponents. In winning three tournament games, WSU has had to play teams not typically on its schedule, including Air Force.
“It’s kind of fun, it’s refreshing,” Rahe said. “You beat up on your conference. In the preseason we play BYU, Utah State and the normal teams. But it’s fun to see different teams from different leagues. … It’s a good experience for the kids. You see different styles, you see different talents, different coaching.”
And, of course, Weber State’s opportunity to play for a championship has also been a big motivator. The Wildcats are the first Big Sky Conference school to reach the semifinals of any postseason tournament.
“It would be fun, wouldn’t it,” Rahe said. “It would be cool. So, we win one more and we get to come home to play a championship game. It would be great, the kids deserve it. It’s a big hurdle to get over, a huge hurdle.”
Weber State at Northern Iowa
O McLeod Center (Cedar Falls, Iowa)
Tipoff • Saturday, 6 p.m. MDT
TV • None. Radio • 106.9 FM
Records • WSU 29-6; UNI 21-14
Series history • First meeting
About the Wildcats • WSU advanced to the CIT semifinals after beating Oral Roberts 83-74. … Scott Bamforth’s 94 3-point goals are a WSU single-season record. … WSU leads the nation with a 50.8 field goal percentage.
About the Panthers • UNI defeated Bradley 90-77 to enter the CIT semifinals. … The Panthers have home wins against Saint Mary’s, Wichita State and Creighton. … Anthony James averages 13.5 points.