Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thursday Night Big Sky Predictions

With five games again on the docket for Thursday night, let's dive in and make some predictions about how the games will turn out.

Sacramento State (2-4) @ North Dakota (3-3)
North Dakota has to be feeling a lot better about themselves after beating Montana State on the road, knowing that a win over the Hornets at home pushes them over .500 and keeps them right in the middle of things in the Big Sky race. UND and Sac State are similar in that both rely on their guard play. The difference here will be that the game is in Grand Forks, and that UND is finally getting good production from big man Alonzo Traylor. North Dakota 74, Sacramento State 65

Montana State (4-2) @ Weber State (5-1)
Weber State is coming off two close victories, and two more home games means six of their first eight conference games will be taking place in Ogden. They need to continue to capitalize on that favorable schedule. As we have talked about, the Bobcats biggest strength this year has been not giving opponents second chance opportunities. However, Weber State doesn't thrive on that like, say, Northern Colorado does. I think the Wildcats will be able to get good looks against MSU, and I'm not sure the Bobcats can keep up. Weber State 72, Montana State 66

Montana (2-4) @ Idaho State (3-3)
Early on, this is a big game for Montana. Sitting at 2-4 with roadtrips to Idaho State and Weber State is not where anyone thought they would be. The Bengals are coming off a tough loss on the road on Monday night, and their lack of depth could hurt them playing this game just three days later. I keep expecting Montana to win games that they drop, but I think they can win this one. One big key for Montana will be keeping Jeffrey Solarin off the offensive glass. If they don't body him up, he could get a ton of extra possessions for ISU. However, the Grizzlies know the predicament they find themselves in. I think they get enough outside shots against the Bengals zone to get a key road win. Montana 75, Idaho State 73

Southern Utah (0-6) @ Eastern Washington (2-4)
There will be games where EWU is undone by its lack of depth, but this should not be one of them. The Eagles have played well at home this year, and that should continue against a feisty SUU team. The Thunderbirds have shown they can hang with anyone, but the Eagles won't be looking past them, with no game on Saturday and knowing that they have to have a victory here. Eastern Washington 82, Southern Utah 59

Northern Arizona (5-1) @ Northern Colorado (5-1)
Suddenly, this is the marquee game of the night. Everyone is curious to see if the Lumberjacks are for real. I can say this... they have had the benefit of a soft early schedule, but they also could be the best defensive team in the Big Sky, and their offense is coming along. Some teams have come into Greeley and been affected by the altitude, but that obviously won't be a problem for NAU. If there is an area that the Lumberjacks have struggled, it is in taking care of the ball, and I would expect the Bears to extend their pressure early on in the game. The Jacks have the athletes to hang with the Bears in this game, but I think UNC is able to make a couple more plays defensively to win this game. Northern Colorado 74, Northern Arizona 68


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1 comment:

  1. Idaho State's zone defense eventually doomed the Bengals tonight. In addition, Montana controlled the temp and made it a half court game. ISU wins when they push the ball in transition and that did not happen tonight. Good call in predicting the Grizzlies beating the Bengals. I did not think that would happen tonight.