Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thursday Night Predictions

It's Thursday, which means Big Sky basketball is here! Four games on the docket for the day... let's take a look at them.

Eastern Washington @ Montana
The game of the night in the Big Sky, featuring a good Montana team hosting an even better Eastern Washington team. One concern for Montana... they have thrived defensively on forcing turnovers, but nobody has been better in the Big Sky at taking care of the ball then EWU. Montana needs to be able to pressure the basketball and force miscues, but it will be tough against the Eagles. On the other side, I'm not sure EWU has anyone to slow down Martin Breunig. Venky Jois is a great shot blocker, but Breunig doesn't seem to be the best matchup for him. The Grizzlies need to feed him the ball, and they need him to stay out of foul trouble. I'm taking the road team in this game. A lot of the Grizzlies success has come on the defensive side of the ball, but I think the Eagles are the type of team that can hurt them. Eastern Washington 81, Montana 76

Northern Colorado @ Northern Arizona
These teams have been flying under the radar a bit, but UNC is 6-3, while NAU is 5-3. Both are in the top half of teams in the Big Sky, which will make this a good game. The Bears gave been great on the offensive glass, but the Jacks are stingy in allowing opponents to get second chances. That will be something to watch. The other interesting plot will be that NAU has struggled to get easy baskets, and nothing seems to come easy for them on that side of the ball. UNC has allowed teams to get easy putbacks, and open shots from deep. While the Bears will be able to score against a good Jacks defense, I think NAU is able to get enough for the home win. Northern Arizona 77, Northern Colorado 68

Idaho @ Montana StateAt 3-5, this is not a game the Vandals can afford to lose. Idaho has shown that they can hang with anyone (two close losses to EWU, and a close road loss to Sac State), but they have also shown the ability to lose to anyone. The Bobcats have been surprisingly good defensively in Big Sky play, but they have shown a susceptibility to three-point shooters, which could bode badly against a team with Connor Hill, Mike Scott, and even Perrion Calladnret capable of hitting from deep. In the end, I think the Vandals superior talent wins out in a close game in Bozeman. Idaho 71, Montana State 65

North Dakota @ Southern Utah
Both of these are firmly in the discussion to make the conference tournament, but they could both use a win in a game like this to help them out. Anything more than nine losses will put you on the bubble, and they each have six already. Somewhat surprisingly, in conference play, UND is third defensively, while SUU is fifth, a big change from previous years. Both are OK pushing the pace, which could make this game fun to watch. It is almost a pick'em to me, as North Dakota looks like a slightly better team, but the game is in Cedar City. When in doubt, I go with the home team. Southern Utah 73, North Dakota 69


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  1. Even though I'm a huge EWU fan, I think you have that prediction wrong. EWU has been playing very sloppy defense as of late, allowing almost any team to score north of 80 points. Montana has been a house of horror for Hayford. Tyler Harvey is clearly not 100% and Jois still isnt 100% either. I think the Griz win this one fairly easy. I see this game being like EWU's game vs Sam Houston State. Griz 75 - EWU 63.

  2. I agree with the above post. I have the Griz winning in a lower scoring game...but I think it will go down to the wire 75-73. The Griz play a really irritating elbow game that I think is going to lead to a lot of free throws,which will keep EWU in the game (best FT shooting team in the conference). The Griz will pull this off with defense, slowing the game way down, and containing EWU's league leading 3 point shooting with its lead leading 3 point defense. I will say though as a caveat...if Gregory doesn't show up for the Griz, EWU will steal this game. I agree that the Jacks will likely win, but I think it will go down to the wire (UNC always gives NAU fits). I think your other two pics are solid so that makes 4 close games for the night. Should be fun. #1JacksFan

  3. #1JacksFan - This week's games are on Fox Sports AZ.

  4. WOW! I was wrong on EWU losing. And without Harvey, had I known that I think I would have given EWU no shot.... Go Eags!