Thursday, January 29, 2015

Big Sky Thursday Night

We've got a relatively light four games on tap Thursday night, so let's take a look at each with a short preview and prediction, like we do for all of the Thursday games.

Montana State @ Sacramento State
We know that teams can score on the Hornets, and MSU can have a chance to keep things interesting if they can hit shots from the outside as they have several capable shooters. However, it's hard to see them slowing Sac State down enough on the road to get a win. The Hornets have been eviscerating teams in conference play to the point of 1.22 PPP, and we all know about Mikh McKinney and Dylan Garrity. The Bobcats just don't have the difference makers right now to win a road game like this. Sacramento State 75, Montana State 61

Montana @ Portland State
During conference play, Montana has been stifling teams defensively, and relying a lot on Martin Breunig to provide balance for their offense. PSU should have the bodies up front to at least slow Breunig a bit, with Braxton Tucker and Tiegbe Bamba looking more and more comfortable each game. The other reason I like PSU here is that Montana's biggest strength defensively has been forcing turnovers - they lead the Big Sky in that category. However, the Vikings are fifth in the country in turnover percentage as an offense, and they have multiple ballhandlers capable of taking care of things. These teams always seem to play close, hard-fought games, and this will be no different. Portland State 74, Montana 71

Idaho State @ Northern Colorado
We all know that ISU likes to slow these types of games down with their zone defense, forcing the defense to work the ball around. Good shots will prevent themselves, but teams have to be patient enough to wait for them. That is the key for the Bears... they have plenty of shooters and ballhandlers, and they should be able to put up good offensive numbers, it's just a matter of picking their spots. On the other end, I think Jeffrey Solarin will get a double-double and get some putbacks, but the Bengals will struggle to score enough against an offense as explosive enough as UNC. In Greeley, I like the Bears to hold home-court. Northern Colorado 69, Idaho State 63

Weber State @ North Dakota
Before the year, you would have thought this a foregone conclusion as a Weber win, but right now it looks pretty even on paper. The Wildcats have lost three straight, while UND split a tough roadtrip against Idaho and EWU (leading EWU at the half). Somewhat surprisingly due to the presence of Joel Bolomboy, the Wildcats have been susceptible to teams that score inside, and UND is first in conference play in two-point shooting percentage. That is something to watch. Still, possibly due to the fact that I can't get rid of my preconceived notions, I just can't see Weber State dropping four straight conference games and falling to 3-6. Somehow, someway, I just trust them a little bit more than I trust UND at this point. We'll see if UND proves me wrong again. Weber State 68, North Dakota 64

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1 comment:

  1. Good ESP on Wildcats...they beat UND 67-60 !