January 6, 2010

Bears look to make statement Thursday against Weber State

Northern Colorado notes | Big Sky Conference notes | Weber State notes

GREELEY, Colo. -- Northern Colorado (13-3, 2-1 Big Sky) continues to write one of the best starts to a season in school history and is one of the biggest stories in the NCAA mid-major world.

And the Bears have authored most of that success on the road, playing 12 of their first 16 games away from Greeley to lead the country with nine road or neutral-site victories. In that span, NC has become one of this season's best free-throw and three-point shooting teams in all of Division I.

Now, the schedule gets a little friendlier, with six of the Bears' next eight games tipping off inside Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion. Northern Colorado, 4-0 at home this season, has a great chance in front of it.

Emerging from the vistitors' locker room on Thursday night, though, will be the Weber State Wildcats (9-6, 3-0), one of the best teams in the history of the Big Sky Conference and winners of 15 straight regular-season conference games and 10 straight conference road victories.

A victory against the Wildcats would not only continue Northern Colorado's early-season momentum, it would also earn the Bears a certain level of respect still not earned in Big Sky circles. NC has won nine straight home games -- the fourth longest stretch in school history -- but its last loss came against Weber State.

Northern Colorado senior Will Figures also has a chance Thursday night to become just the third Division I 1,000-point scorer in school history and 13th overall.

A lot is on the line in this game, and the highly anticipated contest figures to be one of the best games early on in this year's Big Sky Conference race.

Date: Thursday, Jan. 9
Tip: 7:05 p.m. (MT)
Location: Greeley, Colo.
Venue: Butler-Hancock (2,977)
Radio: 1310 KFKA (Greeley)
Play-by-play: Troy Coverdale
Web stream: 1310kfka.com
Television: BigSkyTV.org
Play-by-play: Troy Coverdale
Analyst: N/A
Sideline: N/A
Live stats: uncbears.com

This isn’t the Big Sky “Game of the Week,” but it’s hard to ignore the hype and the stakes on the line in this one. NC is one of the nation’s surprises; WSU is one of the best in Big Sky history.

This will be the seventh all-time meeting between the Bears and the ‘Cats. The Bears have fallen short in all but one (1-5) of those previous six games and are 1-2 against WSU at home.

Tad Boyle (44-61) is in his fourth year with Northern Colorado and fourth year overall as a head coach. Randy Rahe (66-42) is in his fourth year at Weber State and four year overall.