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The City Journals

Weber State Has a Tough Road to Make NCAA Tournament

Mar 10, 2016 01:24PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Branigan Faurschou

Ogden - Participating in the Big Dance is the goal of all 351 Division I NCAA teams, but doing so is only achieved by 68 of them. The rest have to settle for other tournaments such as the CBI and NIT.   Some conferences have an easier path getting their teams into the tournament. The Group of 5 conferences all look like they will have between four and eight schools in the tournament, maybe more. The smaller conferences usually only get their automatic bid in.

Each of the NCAA’s 32 conferences get an automatic berth into the tournament, and the remaining 36 spots will be filled with at- large bids. To get an automatic bid into the tournament a team must win its conference tournament. Winning the conference tournament is especially important to the smaller conferences such as the Big Sky.

In the history of the Big Sky, the conference has never had an at large bid, and that will likely hold true again this year. So what does this mean for the Weber State Wildcats? Well frankly, it means that they must win their conference tournament to get into the Big Dance.

The Wildcats are having a fantastic season and finished the regular season in first place with a 15-3 conference record. But the regular season can take a back seat to the postseason. Even a smaller school can win the regular season title and be left out of the tournament. What matters is can the Wildcats win the Big Sky Tournament.

For the first time in its conference history, the tournament will be played at a neutral site in Reno, Nevada. Usually, the tournament is held at the home gym of the regular season title.   

Winning the conference regular season title will allow the Wildcats to play the winner of eighth place Portland State and ninth place Northern Colorado and avoid rival Montana until the final. It will also give them an important bye in the first round.

The Wildcats have one of their most talented rosters in recent seasons, led by senior Joel Bolomboy. The Wildcats will need Bolomboy to play his best if they want to make the NCAA Tournament. Overall, most analysts give the Wildcats are good shot at making the Big Dance.  But the Wildcats must win their conference tournament first.