Checking in on the… Big Sky

Posted by rtmsf on December 1st, 2008

Jordan Freemyer is the RTC correspondent for the Mountain West and Big Sky Conferences.

(ed. note: this post was originally scheduled for publication on Friday 11/28, but due to unforeseen circumstances, we had to delay publication until today.  Please accept our apologies.)

In the early going this season in the Big Sky, there are only four teams with less than three losses. Two of them are preseason favorites proving themselves and the others are teams picked near the bottom of the conference but have surprised.

Portland State was the preseason favorite in the Big Sky, and they are showing everyone why that is. The Vikings are 4-0 on the season, with wins over quality opponents including a 76-75 win over Cal State Fullerton.  Senior guard Jeremiah Dominguez is scoring 14 points per game, an average helped by a 24 point effort in PSU’s opener at Rice.

Key Upcoming Games:

  • Tonight vs Hampton  (Hampton 77, PSU 71 (OT))
  • Tomorrow at Great Alaska Shootout  (PSU 81, Seattle 67)

The only other Big Sky team with a winning record is a surprise to many. Eastern Washington is 3-2 on the young season, and both of their losses have come to Big Ten teams Illinois and Minnesota. Junior guard Benny Valentine, a transfer from Texas Tech, leads the Eagles with 20.2 points per game, including 29 in the loss to Minnesota.

Key Upcoming Games:

  • Wednesday at Portland
  • 12/6 vs Montana State

The Big Sky’s other surprise team has been Montana State. The Bobcats are 2-2 with a pair of overtime wins against power conference foes Colorado and Oregon State. Sophomore forward Bobby Howard has averaged 18.3 points per game for MSU and senior center Divaldo Mbunga has grabbed 7.8 rebounds per game to lead the Bobcats.

Key Upcoming Games:

  • 12/6 at Eastern Washington
  • 12/9 vs Cal State Fullerton

Also of note is the start of Northern Colorado. The Bears are 1-2 this season with close losses at Oregon and Colorado State and a 71-66 overtime win at Denver.  Senior forward Jabril Banks scored 20 points in the win over Denver and leads the Bears with 13.7 points per game.

Key Upcoming Games:

  • Saturday vs Texas State  (N. Colorado 105, Texas St. 93)
  • 12/6 vs Air Force
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