Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thursday Night Preview and Predictions

We have four games on tap for Thursday night, so let's take a look at each of them, and then I'll give my prediction (likely so we can laugh at how horribly wrong it is...)

Montana @ Weber State
While not quite generating the excitement that this game has had in years past, this should be a great game, and important one for Weber State, who is 0-2. Not many guys in the Big Sky can match up with Martin Breunig, but the Wildcats have one that can in Joel Bolomboy. Two things point to a Weber State win for me. First, the game is in Ogden, where Weber State is very tough to beat. Two, both teams rely on the three-point shot (42.9% of Montana FG attempts have been threes, which is 24th in the country, while Weber State is at 41.9%, 30th), but Weber State, as always, predicates the defense on limiting opponent chances from deep. I think that's enough for Weber State to win. Weber State 74, Montana 67

Sacramento State @ North Dakota
Grand Forks is always a tough place to play, and that will probably especially be true today when the high is 10, and the low is -6 (and don't even look at Saturday's temps...) Other than the venue, North Dakota's best reason for optimism comes because where they struggle defensively is to stop guys in the paint, where DI opponents are shooitng over 55% on twos against them. However, the Hornets are a perimeter oriented team, with the best duo of backcourt teammates in the conference. However, UND is at its best when it is able to force turnovers, but the Hornets take care of the ball well. I just don't see UND scoring enough to win this game. Sacramento State 71. North Dakota 65

Portland State @ Northern Colorado
Both teams could really use a win after uninspiring opening weeks, but I think the Bears are the better team right now. While both defenses have been abysmal this year, the Bears have shown a higher ceiling offensively, with the ability to hit shots, and multiple ball-handlers to take care of the ball. This will be a fun game because of the scoring potential, and because both teams are filled with great athletes in the frontcourt rather than a ton of size. But based on what I have seen so far, I trust that UNC is the team that can hit shots and get good looks when they need. Northern Colorado 79, Portland State 72

Montana State @ Idaho State
If ISU wants to compete for a Big Sky tournament spot, a home game like this against an opponent near the bottom is an almost must-win game. However, the Bobcats will stay in this game because ISU will give you looks from downtown, and the Bobcats have guys that can hit those shots. MSU can't score inside, which makes ISU their ideal opponent in a way. At times, the Bengals best offense is letting Jeffrey Solarin and Ajak Magot clean up the offensive glass, but the Bobcats have done a good job limiting second chance opportunities. ISU is probably the better team, but I'm going to take the Bobcats to get an upset road win. Montana State 64, Idaho State 61

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