The time has finally come... the season is almost here! I will be posting a large season preview tomorrow (tell your friends and/or neighbors), but for now, let's make a prediction on each team's opener!
Montana 65, @ Colorado State 62 - Both teams lost their star big men (and this is especially true if Derek Selvig is out), so this could come down to a battle of the guards. If it does, I like Will Cherry, Kareem Jamar, and Art Steward a little more than Dorian Green, Jesse Carr, and Wes Eikmeier.
Portland State 72, @ Denver 68 - Denver won the Sun Belt West last year, so they have become a solid program. If you judge based on last year, Denver should be favored (and Ken Pom does have them favored). But I think good things are going on in the Vikings program, starting with a road win against a solid Mid-Major opponent.
@ Sacramento State 71, Menlo 54 - This one should be no contest, and that is what I expect. It is a nice confidence booster for the Hornets, to begin the year on the right side of .500 and have a chance to get a little more experience and a little better feel for their rotation.
@ Weber State 83, Northern New Mexico 59 - Once again, a game that should be no contest, and if this game is ever in doubt Weber State is doing something wrong. Home fans get their first look again at Damian Lillard in a regular season game, and I suspect they'll like what they see. This one is a warmup for November 15th, when Utah State comes to Ogden.
@ Arizona State 72, Montana State 62 - This is a game that the Bobcats absolutely can win, as they have the talent to match up athletically with an Arizona State team that is not projected to make the NCAAs. I think the Sun Devils will still have a little too much talented (and Herb Sendek will have them ready to play), but believe me, Montana State thinks they are going to win this game.
@ Oklahoma 73, Idaho State 57 - Oklahoma is a program that is still down (it will take Lon Kruger some time), so the Bengals should be able to keep this a game. But they simply don't have the firepower to match up with a Big Six school, especially since this game is in Norman.
Northern Arizona 71, Louisiana Lafayette 65 - This is another Big Sky vs Sun Belt tilt, and this one will be in San Francisco for the Hilltop Challenge. I think Stallon Saldivar will make the difference, as he provides the steady play at PG that every team needs. With three games in three days, we will learn a lot about Northern Arizona this weekend.
@ Gonzaga 79, Eastern Washington 64 - Well, if EWU can pull this off, Jim Hayford will immediately become a hero in Cheney. Unfortunately, even though I am high on the Eagles, I don't think they have the talent level to match up with Gonzaga, who should win the WCC once again. But Gonzaga better not sleep on Eastern Washington, they could get shocked.
New Mexico State 67, @ Northern Colorado 63 - New Mexico State will be one of the top 3 teams in the WAC, and UNC thinks they will be one of the top 3 teams in the Big Sky. It will be one of the most intriguing games of the Big Sky weekend. If these met again later in the year I think UNC wins, but I think they will just need a little time to get things together.
What do you think of the games? Who do you think is going win? Would love to hear thoughts.
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