Leading Off

The Well is all well, but it’s not The Nest

Should Sacramento State complete its improbable season and win the school’s first men’s basketball Big Sky Conference championship, it’s a shame the Hornets won’t be able to host the conference tournament in that closet of a gymnasium that has become the best homecourt advantage in the Big Sky.

Other than a five-point loss to Portland in a nonconference game, the Hornets have dominated at The Nest, which has had all the comforts of a closed casket for visiting opponents this season.

The Hornets are 13-1 at home and 10-0 in conference play.

If Sac State (18-8, 12-3) wins the Big Sky and hosts the postseason tournament – with the winner advancing to the NCAA Tournament – the venue will be The Well, the wellness center on campus.

It may not hold the same advantages of The Nest, but for the Hornets this season, there’s been no place like home.

▪ Two years ago when the Hornets played at UCLA, Bruins TV commentators questioned Sac State’s decision to give its coach, Brian Katz, a five-year contract extension through the 2017-18 season.

Now they know why.

Katz has been the ideal mid-major coach for the Hornets, understanding Sac State’s limited resources and history, once likening it to trying to keep the Titanic from sinking. And as he has been able to find the right, heady players to believe in the team and worry less about the cramped facilities, his program has taken off to a season that could end with 20 or more wins.

Now Sac State needs to make sure Katz stays put and continues to build upon the foundation he’s worked upon for the past seven seasons.

A new contract would be nice, but a new, on-campus arena would likely go a lot further.

– Victor Contreras


What to watch

College basketball, Kansas at Kansas State, 6 p.m., ESPN: The Wildcats try to slow the Jayhawks’ drive toward winning their 11th consecutive Big 12 Conference title.

On this date

1980: American speedskater Eric Heiden wins his fifth gold medal at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics.