won the Big Sky's player of the year award. (Rick Bowmer/AP)
As part of its preview of the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team's national rank. For more teams, click here.
Record: 19-11, 14-6 in Big Sky
Adjusted offense / Adjusted defense: 105.6 (155th) / 106.5 (210th)
Seed: No. 16 in West
Impact player: Davion Berry, senior guard. 19.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 7.1 fouls drawn per 40 minutes.
The Case For:
Davion Berry, the Big Sky’s player of the year, can fill it up. The senior guard is averaging 19.1 points on 48 percent shooting and has posted one of the top 30 true shooting percentages (which takes into account free throws) in the country. Berry has proven he can score against teams from bigger conferences; he dropped 23 points against BYU in November and 14 against UCLA in December. He is the fulcrum of an offense that shoots 52.2 percent inside the arc and 39.4 percent outside it, both of which rank in the nation’s top 50.
Weber State, and Berry in particular, also excel at getting to the free throw line. The Wildcats’ free throw rate (a ratio of free throw attempts to field goal attempts) is 50.0, good for 23rd in the country. Berry, meanwhile, is drawing an average of 7.1 fouls per 40 minutes, a top-40 mark nationally, and converting 81.6 percent of his free throws. If Berry is making his shots, the Wildcats could be a tough out in the opening round.
The Case Against:
Weber State has not proven it can beat teams from bigger conferences. Even with Berry's strong outings, the Wildcats lost to BYU and Utah State in November and UCLA in December. Weber State is highly rated in several offensive categories, but its deficiencies on the other end of the floor are impossible to ignore. The Wildcats force opponents to turn the ball over on just 13.6 percent of their possessions, which ranks 347th out of 351 Division I teams. And while they excel at defending the three-point arc – just 22.4 percent of opponents’ shot attempts have come from three-point range, the lowest percentage in the country – they are vulnerable on the inside. Weber State has blocked only 5.8 percent of opponents’ two-point field goal attempts, which also ranks 347th in the country.
The Wildcats also lack size and depth on the interior. Forwards Joel Bolomboy (6-foot-9) and Kyle Tresnak (6-foot-10) are the only players in Weber State’s rotation who are taller than 6-foot-7. One more reason why you shouldn’t be bullish on Weber State: Damian Lillard is not walking through that door.
SI prediction: Lose to Arizona in second round
View complete bracket predictions from SI.com's panel of experts