Wildcats prepare for Bracketbuster

The seniors on Weber State University men’s basketball team will be honored on Saturday in the Sears Bracketbusters game, which will be shown nationally on ESPN 3.

After a tough win against Montana State University, the WSU men’s basketball team will return home to play its final home game of the regular season against the University of Texas at Arlington.

The Mavericks are riding a 16-game winning streak, which is currently the nation’s second-longest winning streak. UTA knocked off Stephen F. Austin University on Wednesday for its 20th win of the season.

In the game against SFAU, the Mavericks were led by LaMarcus Reed who scored 16 points in a narrow win. The Mavericks rallied from 15 points down and took a 51-47 victory. UTA struggled shooting in the first half with only a 24 percentage at the break.

This season, UTA has only lost to four teams, including the University of Texas. Its last loss was in December against Utah State University. USU is the only common opponent of the two teams.

Against USU, the Mavericks matched up well with nearly equal, but the Aggies had an advantage when it came to 3-point shooting.

Earlier this season, the Wildcats knocked off USU by ten points at home.

This will be the first meeting between the Wildcats and the Mavericks. WSU’s Scott Bamforth said the team is excited about the opportunity to face a new team.

“We are excited to play a new team,” Bamforth said. “We will be ready to go on Saturday.”

The Mavericks are currently leading the Southland Conference West Division. They also have a better record than McNeese State University, the top team in the east division.

This will be UTA’s final season in the Southland Conference. It will join the Western Athletic Conference next season.

WSU is 3-3 overall against teams from the Southland Conference.

In 2008 the Mavericks won the Southland Conference Championship and made it to the NCAA tournament for the only time in school history.

In a press release, Maverick Head Coach Scott Cross said he is looking forward to the matchup between the two schools.

“I’ve heard a lot of great things about Weber State,” Cross said. “I know they’re an extremely fundamentally-sound basketball team.”

Following the game against UTA, the Wildcats will step back into Big Sky play when they travel to the University of Northern Colorado the following week.

WSU is tied at the top of the Big Sky with the University of Montana. The two teams will face off in the final game of the season, which likely will decide the regular season conference champion and host of the Big Sky tournament.

Before the game on Saturday, the Wildcats will also honor graduating seniors Kyle Bullinger and Daren Mahoney.

Bracketbusters regulations state that the teams paired against each other this year must return a regular-season game in either 2012-13 or 2013-14.

The Sears Bracketbusters is in its 10th season and includes 142 schools from across the country, including all nine Big Sky Conference schools competing.  A total of 13 games are televised nationally.

The game will get underway at 6 p.m. at the Dee Events Center.