I was at the Northern Colorado/Montana State game last night, so I didn't actually get to watch any of the other games... but here are some thoughts based on the box scores and things I read about them.
- It was a good night for freshmen. Joel Bolomboy for Weber State got perhaps his biggest role of the year in a win over Southern Utah, and he made the most of it. He had 13 points (on three FG attempts), 17 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Venky Jois for Eastern Washington is leading the conference in rebounding, and had another big day, going for 14 and 14 in a win over Northern Arizona. It wasn't DeWayne Russell's fault that NAU lost - he had 17 points on 5/11 shooting, and grabbed seven steals to boot. Did I mention these guys are all freshmen?
- On Monday night, Southern Utah's opponent (Sacramento State) shot 55 free throws. Yesterday, their opponent (Weber State) only shot 49 free throws. I guess that's progress?
- I said that if I had to pick a midseason all-conference team, Jackson Stevenett would likely be on it. He made that prediction look good, scoring an efficient 29 points in the Thunderbirds loss.
- Even with a 3-0 Big Sky start, I (and I'm not alone here) have been slow to buy in on Southern Utah this year. But, they were impressive in defeat. At this point, you have to say they are a very legitimate contender for the third spot in the conference.
- Gabe Rogers finished 3/15 for Northern Arizona, and is shooting 30.6% from the field. That is why, even though NAU is much improved from last season, they are going to struggle to make the Big Sky tournament in Jack Murphy's first season. You just wonder where they are going to get enough offense night in and night out.
- Collin Chiverton with 22 points in 20 minutes (and four rebounds, three assists, two steals, three blocks). When he is on, not many guys in the Big Sky are capable of matching his scoring prowess. It is good to see him fully back into things, and he makes the Eagles a dangerous team.
- He only played 13 minutes, but interesting to see that Andy Martin got the start for Montana in their win over North Dakota. You get the sense that Wayne Tinkle is open to anything up front. Mathias Ward was the star of that game, scoring 27 points on 11/16 shooting. I don't know that there is a better midrange shooter in the Big Sky.
- North Dakota looks really limited offensively with the exception of Troy Huff. They have their work cut out for them if they want to make the conference tournament, because they really are not playing good basketball right now.
- I will see Montana in person on Saturday and I am excited for that. Even though they are 5-0 there are questions. Who gets the tough rebound for them when it matters? Who can they count on for production other than Cherry/Ward/Jamar?
- Portland State has not exactly been known for their three point shooting the last couple years, but it was key for them in a home win over Sacramento State. They hit seven of them over a three and a half minute stretch, and finished the game 12/18 from deep. Combine that with the nice inside duo of Aaron Moore and Renado Parker, and slowly things are coming together for the Vikings.
- The Hornets have to be wondering what has happened to Joe Eberhard. He was quietly one of the best players in the Big Sky last season, but his scoring has dropped four points per game and his shooting has dropped 10 percentage points. They need him.
- As always, the logjam after Montana and Weber State is still there. I hope everyone at the Big Sky is familiar with the tiebreaker rules, because I have a feeling there will be a lot of logjams in the 3-11 spots at the end of the season.
Anything else you saw?
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