2009-10 Opponent Preview: Weber State

As the 2009-10 season men’s basketball season approaches, BYUCougars.com continues to preview each of the Cougars’ opponents. Today’s preview-Weber State.

Game Preview

Weber State will travel to BYU to face the Cougars for the 30th season in a row, with BYU holding a 21-8 edge over that time. Last season, BYU traveled to Ogden and thumped the Wildcats, 92-62. The Cougars have not lost to Weber State since January 2003, having won six straight since that time.

Like the Cougars, Weber State fell in the first round of postseason play last year, losing to MWC member San Diego State in the NIT.

Season Outlook

After winning Big Sky Coach of the Year for the second time, head coach Randy Rahe led Weber State to the conference regular season championship with a 15-1 record. Rahe, a former assistant at Utah and Utah State, has guided the Wildcats to a 57-36 record during his three seasons with the team.

Weber State graduated leading scorer Kellen McCoy, the Big Sky MVP and one of only two seniors on last year’s squad. However, all other contributors return to a team that finished 21-10 in 2008-09.

Player to Watch

Damian Lillard, G, So., 6-2, 180

Lillard broke into the starting lineup for the Wildcats last year as a freshman, averaging 11.5 points per game, second-most on the team. Lillard found his stride during Big Sky Conference play, including a 27-point, seven-assist effort in a win over Montana State. He was named All-Big Sky First Team and the conference Freshman of the Year. In addition to lead the team in assists per game (2.9), the sophomore guard also grabs around four rebounds a game. He’ll look to improve upon a two-point effort against the Cougars in 2008.

Other Key Players

Steve Panos, C

Kyle Bullinger, F

Nick Hansen, G

Game Implications

The game is one of four for Weber State and one of three for BYU against in-state rivals. With the advantage of hosting Utah State, Utah and Southern Utah at home, the trip to Provo will likely be the toughest hurdle for the Wildcats on the road to becoming state champions.

Wildcats at a Glance

Head Coach Randy Rahe
At Weber State 3rd year / 57-36
2008-09 Record 21-10 overall, 15-1 Big Sky
Home/Road/Neutral 10-3, 9-5, 2-2
Starters Ret/Lost 3/2
Lettermen Ret/Lost 10/4

2008-09 Team Stats

Points/Game 70.2
Points Allowed/Game 66.3
Field Goal % .472
Opponent FG % .425
Rebounds/Game 32.2
Assists/Game 12.1
Steals/Game 5.9
Blocks/Game 3.7

Returning Stat Leaders

Points/Game Damian Lillard, 11.5
Rebounds/Game Kyle Bullinger, 4.5
Assists/Game Damian Lillard, 2.9
Steals Damian Lillard, 33
Blocks Trevor Morris, 24
Three-pointers Nick Hansen, 67