Checking in on the… Big Sky

Posted by rtmsf on December 13th, 2008

Jordan Freemyer is the RTC correspondent for the Big 12 and Big Sky Conferences.

The non-conference season is winding down in the Big Sky, and teams throughout the league have had a varying degree of success in their tune-ups for the all-important conference season. Four teams in the Big Sky still hold winning records.

Conference Standings:

  1. Portland State (7-1)
  2. Eastern Washington (6-2)
  3. Montana State (4-3)
  4. Montana (5-4)
  5. Weber State (3-4)
  6. Northern Colorado (2-4)
  7. Northern Arizona (2-5)
  8. Idaho State (2-7)
  9. Sacramento State (1-8)

Portland State has continued their hot start to the season, taking third place in the Great Alaska Shootout over Thanksgiving weekend. The Vikings are led in both scoring and rebounds by junior forward Jamie Jones, a transfer from cross-town rival Portland. Portland State’s schedule ramps up in the next two weeks as they open up conference play against Montana and face both Washington and Gonzaga.

Key Upcoming Games:

  • Sunday at Washington
  • 12/20 vs Montana
  • 12/23 at Gonzaga

Montana has also heated up lately, winning their last three games to move to 5-4 on the season. The Grizzlies have been bolstered by the three-point shooting of junior guard Ryan Staudacher, who is hitting a remarkable 63 percent from beyond the arc. Staudacher was six-of-seven from downtown in Montana’s 20-point win over North Dakota last Tuesday.

Key Upcoming Games:

  • Sunday at Fresno State
  • 12/20 at Portland State
  • 12/22 vs Utah Valley State

Eastern Washington
has already started conference play with a 61-55 win over Montana State on Saturday. The Eagles are 6-2 overall on the season. Junior guard Benny Valentine leads the EWU in both points and assists with 19 points per game and 2.9 assists per game. The Eagles have a fairly light schedule as the year ends before continuing Big Sky play in 2009.

Key Upcoming Games:

  • Sunday at Hawaii
  • 12/20 at Washington

Despite the loss to Eastern Washington, Montana State still has a winning record this season at 4-3. The Bobcats scored a big, comeback win of Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday, beating the Titans 74-60 after being down nine at halftime. The game was the first of two meetings between the two teams this season. Sophomore forward Bobby Howard and senior center Divaldo Mbunga provide the inside presence that has been key for MSU this season.

Key Upcoming Games:

  • Tomorrow vs Washington State
  • 12/20 at Long Beach State
  • 12/22 at Cal State Fullerton
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