Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thursday Night Predictions

Almost all teams have two games left (UND and UNC have one each), which basically means that every single game the rest of the way will have major implications on the Big Sky tournament race. So, on the penultimate night of the Big Sky regular season, of course we'll break down the games and offer some predictions on what happens.

North Dakota (12-7) @ Southern Utah (0-18)
Southern Utah is down to two more chances to get a win and salvage something at the end of the year. They have lost 26 games, but it isn’t for lack of trying, so you know they’ll at least give it all they’ve got. North Dakota, meanwhile, knows that with a win and a Montana loss in either of their last two games, they will clinch the two seed. Either way, they’ll clinch a top 3 seed with a win, meaning they would avoid Weber State until the title game (if both teams made if that far). When the teams met in Grand Forks, SUU probably should have won, but UND snuck it out. This time around, North Dakota is playing a lot better basketball, and I think they should get the win more comfortably.
North Dakota 73, Southern Utah 63

Montana (11-7) @ Sacramento State (9-9)
Sacramento State is desperate and at home, which is usually a good combination for a win. Don’t be alarmed that they dropped two on the road last week – they are still a good team. This will be an interesting game in that it won’t be that high scoring (Montana is 344th in pace, and the Hornets aren’t that much faster), but it should be an efficient offensive game, featuring two good offenses and mediocre defenses. A Hornets win could set up a potential rematch next week in the 3 vs 6 game, which would be a fun one to watch. This will come down to the wire, but I’ll go with the playmaking abilities of Dylan Garrity and Mikh McKinney to pull out the big home win.
Sacramento State 68, Montana 65

Montana State (9-9) @ Northern Arizona (10-8)
Montana State is the toughest team to predict, because there is often no rhyme or reason to when they will perform well, or not perform well. NAU is similar... the last two weeks they lost two at home, and then followed it up by winning two on the road, ending Weber State's record long conference home winning streak. You can throw out any trends coming into this one, because they just don't matter. I do like NAU in this game, however, because I just think they are a better team. I think Quinton Upshur will be the best buy on the court, and Kris Yanku has a knack for making big plays, so that's why I'm going with the Lumberjacks. But I don't really good confident in the pick!
Northern Arizona 70, Montana State 67

Weber State (13-5) @ Portland State (9-9)
Weber State obviously still wants to win the Big Sky title outright, but PSU might have a little break in that they will certainly be more motivated to win than the Wildcats. However, I think Weber is a bad matchup for them... Tresnak and Bolomboy will own the inside.Kyle Richardson has been playing well down low for the Vikings, but he won't have enough help in this game. I like Weber to get a close road win.
Weber State 75, Portland State 70

Idaho State (8-10) @ Eastern Washington (9-9)
Idaho State knows they have to win both of their final games to have a chance to make the Big Sky tournament, and Eastern Washington knows they don't want to rely on beating Weber State in order to make it. So, this one obviously is huge. One thing working against ISU is that they have a tendency to give up good looks on threes with their zone defense, and that is the Eagles strength. I expect EWU will shoot as many as 30 threes in this game, and make enough of them to get the home win, crushing the Bengals postseason dreams in the process.
Eastern Washington 79, Idaho State 75

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  1. I admit I am biased, but I think Jack Murphy has earned Big Sky Coach of the Year. Picked to finish 9th in the Conference at the beginning of the season and just secured a spot in the playoffs and possibly a 3 seed. Given he only has one senior and a ton of newcomers, including many freshmen that start or play lots of minutes, you have to give the coach the credit. Very impressive!

  2. I can't really argue with that at all. He has done a heck of a job this season!