Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Big Sky Thursday Night Preview

After having just four Big Sky games on Thursday night the past couple of weeks, we are back to six this Thursday night! Let's take a quick look at all the games, with a little prediction for each.

Sacramento State @ Idaho State
This one will be closer than you'd think for the first place team playing the 11th place team, though I still like the Hornets to win. Sac State doesn't play at too fast of a pace, and ISU's zone causes the pace of the game to slow down (though they do look to push it offensively), which could lead to a relatively low scoring game. The difference will be the Hornets ability to hit from outside, as opponents get off tons of three-point looks against the Bengals. Look for a bounce-back day from Dylan Garrity who has had a couple slow games. Sacramento State 68, Idaho State 62

Northern Colorado @ Eastern Washington
This should be the most "fun" game of the night, as both teams have explosive offenses and struggling defenses. Tyler Harvey leads the nation at 23.2 PPG, and it's hard to see how the Bears will slow him down. If Venky Jois doesn't play (I haven't heard one way or the other, though my guess is that he will play), that would give the Bears a much better shot, but I just think the Eagles are going to score too much for the Bears to keep up, especially in Cheney. Eastern Washington 85, Northern Colorado 77

Northern Arizona @ Montana
Unlike the previous matchup, this one will be a defensive battle, as Montana is first in the Big Sky in defensive during conference play, while NAU is third. The Jacks have the bodies down low to slow down Martin Breunig, which helps their chances. NAU is one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the Big Sky, but Montana is the best at defensive rebounding. In Missoula, I like the Grizzlies to find a way to win. Montana 68, Northern Arizona 64

Portland State @ Weber State
The Wildcats are reeling a bit after losing to Southern Utah, but get to come back to the Dee for a date against PSU. While the Wildcats defense hasn't been up to his past couple years level, it is still better than PSU's - a defense that can be a bit of a slump buster. Opponents have been able to score in the lane or outside against the Vikings, and I like Jeremy Senglin to have a nice day in this game. Look for Weber State to get back on track. Weber State 75, Portland State 66

Southern Utah @ Montana State
After winning two straight, SUU is suddenly full of confidence as they try and get to .500 in conference play. Meanwhile, MSU had to have figured a week ago that this game could be their best chance for a conference victory. While momentum may or may not exist, I think a certain level of confidence has come over the Thunderbirds, which will help them here. They have been playing well offensively, and I'm not sure the Bobcats have the offense weaponry to take advantage of SUU's deficiences on that end. Southern Utah 74, Montana State 69

North Dakota @ Idaho
The Vandals dropped two straight road games last weekend, but return home to take on a UND team that has lost four straight. The Vandals should light up UND's defense - they have been great from behind the arc, and Sekou Wiggs should live in the lane. If any game is going to be a blowout on Thursday night, this looks like the one to me. Idaho 85, North Dakota 69


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  1. I actually agree with all your picks this Thurs Jon! Only one I am sketchy on is the PSU/Weber matchup. Portland State can have some pretty darn good games...just don't know when. The Weber crowd will be tough so like you I lean that way. #1JacksFan

  2. This will sound like sour grapes but don't get me wrong. The Griz beat the Jacks straight up, but man Grizzly basketball is a hard thing to watch and they got NAU sucked right into that choppy way of playing. Good for them, but I am not sure I could be an every day fan of that kind of play. Grinding is the only way I can describe it. I think they got offense really from just two guys and boy did they do the scoring alright. My lord. #1JacksFan

  3. So about that UND game.... :)

  4. Good call on the Sac State - ISU score. Hornets were in a grind and probably would have lost if Hansen played in the 1st half.

  5. Amazing stat line for freshman Arkadiy Mkrtychyan of Idaho...ten minutes of play he had 13pts, 8 rebounds and 3 steals. Weird that he did not get more PT

    1. Looks like he may have had a bit of foul trouble, but still would have expected to see him in there more... he is a really talented guy, one of the best freshman in the conference this year!

  6. I will go on record in saying that Montana State is much better than their record indicates. If they are hot from outside you will be in for a "cat" fight for sure. Lots of outside pop on that team so expect them to steal a few more wins this year when it's least expected. #1JacksFan