Yesterday we did the first part of our predictions for Thursday's games, and now it is time to take a look at the other two games that will be on tap.
This is a must-win game for the Bears, as a loss will make things very difficult for them to make the tournament. They have been playing pretty solid basketball lately, but they have lost a couple tough games that they had a great chance of winning. They need to take care of the ball, as that has been a big problem for them this season. It is not known for sure yet whether Tate Unruh will play, but I have a feeling that he will be on the court, which is a nice boost for the Bears.
For Weber State, they have to be careful not to look ahead to their finale against Montana. UNC is only 5-9 in conference, but they have a lot of talent and will have plenty of motivation. Damian Lillard should have a big day, because the Bears sometime struggle with athletic players. It will be interesting to see what types of defenses the teams play. Weber State had trouble with UT-Arlington's different looks, and the Bears have used the press effectively at times. The Bears have also struggled offensively to take care of the ball, so we may see more pressure from the Wildcats in this game. I think this will be a lot closer than people think, but Lillard is the difference. WEBER STATE 79, NORTHERN COLORADO 74
Eastern Washington @ Idaho State
This is perhaps the biggest game of the day. With a win, Idaho State can basically clinch a first-round home game, an idea that would have been unthinkable two months ago. Eastern Washington, on the other hand, still needs wins to guarantee that they make the Big Sky tournament. They need Cliff Colimon and Collin Chiverton to both play well in the same game, which hasn't always happened for them this year. They will try to get up and down the court, as they are a little deeper than the Bengals and should be able to tire them out.
ISU got Chase Grabau back last game, and that is a huge boost for them. He is one of the most versatile guys in the league, and adds a lot to them on both sides of the ball. We know what he will bring, and Kenny McGowen has also been a consistent threat for them, but a key is Melvin Morgan. At his best, he is a dangerous offensive player with tons of range. When he's not at his best, he can turn the ball over and take bad shots.
This should be a tight game, but I think there is something positive about Idaho State this year. They seem to have more confidence than EWU does right now, which will serve them well at home. IDAHO STATE 72, EASTERN WASHINGTON 70
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