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Weber State loses Big Sky title; will it cost us a chance to see Damian Lillard?


Mike Miller

There’s an argument to be made that Damian Lillard is the best point guard in the country.

Better than Kendall Marshall, better than Scott Machado and maybe even better than the Tyshawn Taylor that has graced our presence over the last month and a half of the season. He may be the best NBA prospect as well. Jonathon Givony over at Draft Express has him slotted at 17th on his current 2012 mock draft, a spot ahead of Marshall as the first point guard taken and, overall, just the fourth guard taken, behind Austin Rivers, Brad Beal and Jeremy Lamb and in front of the likes of Taylor, Dion Waiters, John Jenkins and Darius Johnson-Odom.

In simpler terms, the kid can flat out hoop. But you’ve never seen him because he plays his college ball for Weber State out in the Big Sky Conference. And on Tuesday, the chances or you getting an opportunity to see him try and to follow in the footsteps of Harold “The Show” Arceneaux took a major hit.

The Wildcats went into Missoula on Tuesday night in what amounted to the title game for the Big Sky. Both Montana and Weber State came in with matching 14-1 records in the league for the regular season’s final game, but thanks to an uncharacteristic 3-26 shooting performance from beyond the arc -- Weber State shot 39.1% from three on the season, good for 18th in the country -- the Grizzlies were able to use a 19-3 run in the first half to take control of the game and never look back, winning 66-51.

Not only did this seal up a regular season title for Montana, it ensured that the conference title game would be played on their floor, regardless of who is playing in it. If you couldn’t figure it out, this is bad news for a team with tournament aspirations that just got smoked by 15 points on the very court where the league’s automatic bid will be earned.

With all due respect to the Grizzlies -- who are a good basketball team; Will Cherry lit up Lillard to the tune of 23 points and four assists on Tuesday -- it would be disappointing if Lillard is unable to showcase his ability with the nation’s eyes on him.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.