Monday, February 17, 2014

Big Sky Power Rankings

With another weekend in the books, let's take a quick rundown of the Big Sky picture, along with how many games the teams have at home and on the road remaining.

1. Weber State (11-2, 2 Home/5 Away) - We can quite hand them the Big Sky yet, because they could still reasonably lose three more games this year. But let's be honest, it would be a major surprise if the Big Sky tournament is anywhere other than Ogden.

2. Northern Colorado (9-5, 2H/4A) - As expected, they bounced back with two home wins, although neither one was easy. If they can beat Northern Arizona Thursday, they should basically have a top three seed locked up, but since this is the Big Sky, expect NAU to win that game! They continue to struggle mightily defensively (they allowed 1.23 PPP and 1.14 PPP in two games last week), but their offense is the best in the Big Sky, which has allowed them to overcome that to a degree. They have two road wins this year - Kansas State and Montana - and have lost their other 8 road contests. I'll let you figure that one out.

3. Montana (7-7, 4H/2A) - They lost two straight road games, but they were hard-fought games against Northern Colorado and North Dakota, so that's understandable. Here is how tight things are - if they beat Weber State at home on Thursday, they're in great shape for a top 4 seed. If they lose, they'll be sweating things out in the final weekend, possibly needing a win to make the conference tournament. They can't rebound, and they don't defend well, but their offense is explosive enough that they are a tournament darkhorse.

4. North Dakota (8-6, 3H/3A) - They are like Jekyll and Hyde. For 25 minutes against Montana State, they looked pitiful, trailing by 20 early in the second half. Then they kicked things in gear, and cut the lead to three, but couldn't quite overcome the Bobcats. They could give Weber a run for their money in the Big Sky tourney, or lose in the first round - sometimes it seems like there is no in between for them.

5. Northern Arizona (8-6, 4H/2A) - They would have liked a better showing at EWU, but they got a road split out of the weekend, which is all you can ask for. There are no gimmes left on the schedule, but with 8 wins already and four more home games, they should be safe. One thing to watch is that they are going small more often, as they are trusting freshman Kris Yanku more and more off the bench.

6. Eastern Washington (7-7, 3H/3A) - It was an impressive showing last week for the Eagles, as they easily dispatched Sac State and NAU, both playing well. If they can take out SUU on the road and PSU at home, all of a sudden we need to start talking about them in the top 4 seeding range. Their offense has been really clicking the last five games, and that's a scary thought for the Big Sky, because when it's at it's best, it has five guys that can score 20 points in a game.

7. Sacramento State (7-7, 4H/2A) - After a road win over Portland State, they are suddenly in good shape, though it's a tough schedule down the stretch even though they have 4 home games (they play UND, UNC, Montana at home, and Weber State/Idaho State on the road). With their win over Weber State, two wins might be enough to get in, pending the Weber/ISU game Monday night. With three wins, they'd almost certainly be in.

8. Montana State (7-7, 3H/3A) - It was a great roadtrip for them, beating UND and then playing well at Northern Colorado. It was one of their best two-game stretches offensively all year long, and shows that they have a nice ceiling when they are playing well on their end. Of course, this is Montana State, so there is no predicting what happens from here on out. They host ISU and Weber this week.

9. Idaho State (6-7, 3H/3A) - They have a tough one against Weber State Monday night... if they can somehow win that, we'll have a legit 9 teams battling for seven spots, and nine teams that are .500 or better, which is crazy to think about. If they lose, they face an uphill battle because there are no gimmes the rest of the way. They are a good team, and it would be a shame to see them miss the conference tournament, but that is potentially where we find ourselves.

10. Portland State (6-8, 2H/4A) - They really needed to win both of their home games, and instead they went 0-2, losing to Northern Arizona and Sac State. That might spell doom for the Vikings, who will only be favored twice more this season. More than any other time this season, there's another team in addition to SUU who looks like it has very long odds to play postseason basketball.

11. Southern Utah (0-14, 4H/2A) - Despite two home games, they weren't too close to getting a win, though they played ISU tough. Next up is home games against PSU and Eastern Washington... this Thursday against Portland State could be their best chance for a win the rest of the way.


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  1. UND beat Montana this week. I agree UND is Dr. J or Mr H. being a Sioux fan I would like to see more Dr. J. I am new to following the conference. But, I really enjoy Big Sky conference basketball it is really crazy some weeks.

    1. True, but it was in GF, and they had just lost to Montana State. As of this moment, i think I'd take Montana on a neutral court over UND... obviously subject to change! And being a Sioux fan too, I'd like to see them on more... they have such potential!

  2. Looks like we have 9 teams battling for 7 spots. Go Bengals!

  3. Any ideas how the tie breaker would work out with multiple teams tied for the final tourney spots? For example, what team had the inside track for 5th / 6th / 7th

  4. Here is a good primer on how the tiebreakers work -