Win or lose in the Big Sky tournament semifinals, Weber State officials believe they will win a major victory just by tipping off tonight.
The Wiildcats (18-11, 11-5 Big Sky) will play their 30th game of the season and are confident that in doing so, injured star Damian Lillard, last season’s Big Sky MVP, will receive a medical hardship waiver to return next season as a junior.
Lillard was lost for the year with a broken foot suffered in December at Tulsa, in the ninth game of the season. NCAA rules dictate to qualify for a medical redshirt, a player can play no more than 30 percent of the season. Lillard meets the threshold tonight (9 out of 30 games = 30 percent).
With Weber State making the Big Sky semifinals, Friday’s scheduled game against Saint Mary’s becomes unnecessary from the standpoint of getting enough games for Lillard to qualify for the redshirt, but the Wildcats had to schedule the game weeks ahead as a contingency plan.
Saint Mary’s, which lost to Gonzaga on Tuesday in the West Coast Conference tournament finals, was willing to schedule the game to avoid getting rusty between the end of their conference tourney and any potential postseason games.