March Madness is here! Today, a few of our writers will be giving their thoughts on the Big Sky Conference Tournament.
#8 Weber State vs. #9 Sacramento State
#6 Northern Arizona vs. #11 Idaho State
#7 So. Utah vs. #10 Idaho
#1 Eastern Washington vs. #8 Weber State/#9 Sacramento State
#4 Portland State vs. #5 Montana State
#3 Montana vs. #6 Northern Arizona/#11 Idaho State
#2 Northern Colorado vs. #7 So. Utah/#10 Idaho
Who will win the Big Sky Conference Tournament?
Aram: #3 Montana (18-13, 14-6 in the Big Sky)
Montana ended the season on a two game losing streak, but not too long ago they were riding six game winning streak. Sayeed Pridgett, Montana’s leading scorer, had a combined 42 points in the two combined impressive wins over Eastern Washington this season. I expect that they’ll meet them again in the Championship this year, and take them down once again.
Pat: #2 Northern Colorado (22-9, 15-5 in the Big Sky)
The Bears were great during conference play, taking care of business against just about everyone outside of top seeded Eastern Washington, who they lost to twice. The Bears are strong on both ends of the court, and if they face the the Eagles in the title game, I can’t see them losing a third time.
TJ: #1 Eastern Washington (23-8, 16-4 in the Big Sky)
Eastern Washington is the #1 seed and boasts a 16-4 conference record while winning their last seven. Coach Shantay Legans made waves by leading EWU to a fourth straight postseason tournament in the CBI in the 2017-2018 season and this year they look to build off of that. The Eagles are lead by a one-two punch of Jacob Davison and Mason Peatling who average 18 and 17 PPG respectively. The Eagles dominate the glass and look to be poised for a tournament run.
Which team is a Dark Horse Candidate to take home the title?
Aram: #5 Montana State (16-15, 10-10 in the Big Sky)
This is a wide open conference that anyone can win. So, why not Montana State? Harald Frey, why not having AS good of a season as he did last year, is still a bucket. He can score with anyone and with Jubrile Belo and Amin Adamu (haven’t heard if that hamstring is healthy yet) contributing at a high level, this team can make a magical run.
Pat: #4 Portland State (18-14, 12-8 in the Big Sky)
The Vikings enter this tournament red hot, winners of their last six. Point guard Holland Woods was a big reason for that run and the team goes as he goes. If Woods and the Vikings can stay hot for a couple more games, they’ll be able to punch their ticket to the big dance.
TJ: #4 Portland State (18-14, 12-8 in the Big Sky)
Portland State have won their last six. They are hot to end the year and hot teams always have a chance. The Vikings are led by Holland Woods and Matt Hauser on the year and Sal Nuhu leads the team in rebounding. Portland State does a good job at forcing turnovers and you have to roll with a hot team so Portland State has my vote.
Who is one player that NBA teams should keep an eye on?
Aram: Sayeed Pridgett, Senior G/F – Montana
Sayeed Pridgett is a tough cover and fearless when he attacks the basket. Although he shoots under 25% from deep, it is on low volume and I believe that his form is good enough that he can develop a consistent shot in the future. He’s still an unbelievable finisher at the rim and will get his due if he can lead this Montana team to a title.
Pat: Holland Woods, Junior G – Portland State
As I mentioned earlier, Woods is a huge reason for the Vikings late season push to grab the four seed and he ranks top five in the league in scoring, assists, and steals. The do it all sophomore needs to work on his outside shot, but he’s shown steady improvement each year in college, and there’s so much more to like about his game.
TJ: Mason Peatling, Senior F – Eastern Washington
Forward Mason Peatling is an absolute menace on the offensive boards grabbing over 100 on the year and over 3.4 per game this season. Peatling has averaged 17.2 PPG and over 9 RPG on the year. Shooting over 55% from the field has only helped this year and he has the Eagles leading the conference on the year. Peatling is a 6’8 220 lb senior from Melbourne, Australia and is an intriguing prospect if he continues to develop his game.