Following a tough home loss to Sacramento State, Eastern Washington is still in playoff position, but you can't help but look ahead to next Wednesday's (Feb. 15) home game against Northern Colorado as a defining moment for the Eagles. There are five conference games to play, but this one should be pivotal. And here's why:
The Eagles (5-6 in the Big Sky, 11-13 overall) are a game ahead of the Bears with five to play. EWU visits league-leading Weber State on Saturday, while the Bears host the Montana Schools. Then comes the showdown game at Reese Court, and you have to figure that the teams will either be tied or EWU has a one-game lead.
Remember that UNC beat Eastern earlier this season in Greeley, Colo., so a win on Feb. 15 would give the Bears a season sweep. An EWU win, on the other hand, could mean a one- or two-game lead with just three to play. The loser could still make the six-team field for the Big Sky tournament, but it would be very difficult.
AROUND THE BIG SKY - Speaking of showdowns, the season finale of Weber State at Montana on Feb.28 could decide the regular-season title. The Griz were picked for second in the preseason polls, but are in fine form right now. Weber will have plenty to say about that.