Monday, February 11, 2013

A Rundown of the Big Sky Standings

Well, only six games remain for each team in Big Sky play. Of the eleven teams, only seven will make the conference tournament and have a chance to dance. Let's take a look at where each team stands and a look at where they might finish.

1. Montana (14-0)
Their path is the simplest - they control their own destiny. If they lose one game or less, they will be the one seed, get a bye in the first round of the Big Sky tournament, and host the tournament. If they lose two games, the door is open. Potential stumbling blocks are at Weber State (but if they win, they are all but guaranteed the top seed), at Montana State, and at Southern Utah.

2. Weber State (12-2)
First, they have to beat Montana on Thursday. That is a must. From there, they need to win out (potential stumbling blocks are at Sacramento State and at Northern Arizona) and get help, and then hope the tiebreakers go in their favor. Suffice to say, things don't look good for the Wildcats and the #1 seed. At the very least, they are just about locked into the two spot.

3. Southern Utah (8-6)
With their record, it's hard to see them falling lower than the sixth spot, even if they struggle down the stretch. It's possible that they will struggle, because their schedule is not easy. They have four road games, and their home games are against Montana and Montana State. KenPom has them favored to win just one of their final six games. Safe to say, the three spot is still very much up for grabs.

4. North Dakota / Montana State / Sacramento State (7-7)
Of the three teams, it looks like Sacramento State has the toughest road ahead. They have four road games remaining (against North Dakota, Northern Colorado, and the two Montana schools), and one of their home games is against Weber State. At best they can probably hope for 3-3. UND/Sac State will be a big game on Thursday. UND's three road games are Northern Colorado, Portland State, and Eastern Washington... plus, they are done playing Montana and Weber State for the year. That would seem to give them an upper hand here. Montana State finishes with three at home, but they play both Montana and Weber State.

7. Northern Arizona (6-8)
The schedule will not be easy for NAU. They have a huge game this Thursday against UNC, which became a lot bigger once they lost to EWU. Then they travel to North Dakota, who is 3-0 at home on Saturday Big Sky games this year. They have a home date against Weber State, and end the year in Missoula. They really need this game on Thursday.

8. Northern Colorado / Eastern Washington (5-9)
It is a close to a must win for the Bears against NAU, because a loss would put them two back of the Lumberjacks, and they wouldn't have a tiebreaker. A Saturday date with Sacramento State is enormous as well. The schedule is in their favor down the stretch... their two road games are at PSU and EWU, and they are finished up with Montana/Weber State. Things don't look too bad for the Eagles either... they end the year at Weber State, but there are five winnable games other than that. The Eagles have a really good chance to be factor down the stretch.

10. Idaho State / Portland State (3-11)
There is no sugar coating... things look bleak for both clubs. They are both three games out of the final tournament spot, and neither appears poised to make a run to end the year. Each teams have four home games left.

If I had to choose as of today, here is my guess for the final order:
1. Montana
2. Weber State
3. North Dakota
4. Southern Utah
5. Montana State
6. Sacramento State
7. Northern Colorado
8. Northern Arizona
9. Eastern Washington
10. Portland State
11. Idaho State


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  1. Great rundown Jon. You think 8 wins is enough to get into the BSCT? I’m hoping the Hornets can steal a road win somewhere, but it won’t be easy. Most likely we finish the BSC season at a 1-5 mark. That is cutting it awful close.

    As far as seeding goes I don’t think it matters much. The only thing to hope for is to avoid the 7th seed as that sets up an opening round game against Weber. Other than that anyone can beat anyone as far as the 3-6 seeds are concerned.

  2. I think it's very possible that 8 will leave you in a tiebreak scenario for that last spot... it's tough to see NAU winning more than 2 games with their tough schedule, while it's tough to predict UNC/EWU to go more than 3-3 down the stretch no matter their schedule. Thus, I think 8 wins is the mark that will get you in a tie for the last spot, and 9+ would be the magic number.

    To the second part, I couldn't agree more. You don't want to face Weber in round 1, because that team will likely get beat soundly... beyond that, anyone can beat anyone, with no real exceptions at all.

  3. Weber needs to beat Griz then see what happens. Rahe is 6-0 at home vs Griz in reg season. WSU have won 15 straight home Big Sky games. Rahe is 55-6 at home in all Big Sky games.

    Huge game on Thurs!!

  4. Montana isn't going to go undefeated to close out the season. If they do, I'll eat crow. Montana has had a fairly favorable schedule, but now it'll hit them. Road games in Ogden, Cedar, and Bozeman? And playing at Davidson could be a confidence killer. Who knows though. Nice of the Sky to have Montana visiting Ogden on a Thursday (first half of a road trip when Weber had to visit on the second half), right in the midst of a shortened week for the Cats and 4 games in 8 nights. Nice job Sky...way to favor the Griz.