The Big Sky Conference Tournament kicked off on March 7th, 2017 with a trio of opening round games. Two of the favorites won in the 8th Portland St. Vikings and 7th Sacramento State Hornets, while the 11th seeded Southern Utah Thunderbirds upset the 6th seeded Montana St. Bobcats.
The Big Sky Conference is comprised of eleven teams, all which qualify for the tournament. The top dog this year was the North Dakota Fighting Hawks, who went 14-4 in conference play. They never lost back to back games in conference and had winning streaks of three, four and six.
The schedule are as follows:
Tuesday, March 7 (first round)
Game 1: No. 8 Portland State 80, No. 9 Northern Arizona 67
Game 2: No. 7 Sacramento State 91, No. 10 Idaho State 76
Game 3: No. 11 Southern Utah 109, No. 6 Montana State 105 (3OT)
Thursday, March 9 (quarterfinals), WatchBigSky
Game 4: No. 1 North Dakota vs. No. 8 Portland State
Game 5: No. 4 Idaho vs. No. 5 Montana
Game 6: No. 2 Eastern Washington vs. No. 7 Sacramento St., 5:35 p.m.
Game 7: No. 3 Weber State vs. No. 11 Southern Utah, 8:05 p.m.
Friday, March 10 (semifinals), WatchBigSky
Saturday, March 11 (finals)
Game 10: Winner of Game 8 vs. Winner of Game 9, 5:30 p.m., ESPNU
Prediction: In my opinion, this is a four team race. However, I’m going with the second seeded Eastern Washington Eagles. This would be an easier pick if they still had Tyler Harvey (Who with Damian Lilliard are my favorite players to come out of the Big Sky), but I’m standing by them regardless.
On the season, the Eagles went 21-10 and more impressively 13-5 in conference. The Eagles were solid at home this season, going 15-1. On the road is where they encountered issues, going a measly 6-9. As far as marquee wins, it’s slim pickings, but I guess their victory over a decent San Francisco Dons team ain’t too bad.
According to Ken Pomeroy, the Eagles are the 188th ranked team. They have a turrible defense as Charles Barkley would say, but they do have the 96th ranked offense. In the Big Sky Conference however, they have the second best offense and defense.
The Big Sky Conference Tournament games are taking place in Reno, Nevada. If there’s any home court advantage, it would be probably be the closest teams in the Weber St. Wildcats and Southern Utah Thunderbirds. Anyways, minus the Eagles last outing, they had caught fire with a five game winning streak. Their offense is top notch and their defense has picked up playing lesser competition in the Big Sky. So with that, I like the Eagles to take the Big Sky!