Checking in on… the Big SkyPosted by rtmsf on December 11th, 2009
Glenn Junkert of GrizzlyJournal.com is the RTC correspondent for the Big Sky Conference.
BIG SKY CONFERENCE STANDINGS (ALL, CONF) STREAK
- Northern Colorado (8-1, 1-1) W1. Assuming role of conference favorite.
- Montana (6-3 1-1) W1. Tough homecourt loss in conference play.
- Montana State (4-4 2-0) L1. Leads conference standings with two home wins.
- Portland State (4-4 1-0) W3. Leads conference in most offensive categories.
- Weber State (4-4 1-0) W3. Soph point guard Damian Lillard assuming leadership role for Cats.
- Sacramento State (4-6 0-1) L2. Lose last 4-of-5 after hot start.
- Eastern Washington (3-5 0-1) L1. Eagles hit road on tough 2-week, five-game swing.
- Northern Arizona (2-5 0-2) L3. Jacks face brutal 4-game road swing through hollidays.
- Idaho State (2-7 0-0) L3. Injuries, suspensions affect Bengals front-court.
Northern Colorado – Earned a Mid Major Poll rank of 22nd (153 points) with a road breakthrough at 2nd place Montana, the only other Big Sky team with Mid-Major votes (8).
HOT & NOT
Portland State Vikings – after starting the season at 0-3 under first year head coach Tyler Geving – the Vikings have gone 4-1 since, a tear that includes an 86-82 win at Mid-Major 10th ranked Portland and a 23-point, 98-75 conference opener over Eastern Washington.
The road has been long and winding for the 2-7 Idaho State Bengals, who have played seven of nine pre-season games on the road. The Bengals notched one of their two wins on the road, edging UMKC 68-65, but dropped a 79-67 verdict to in-state rival Boise State in Pocatello.
The Northern Colorado Bears, at 8-1 and by far the most impressive team in the Big Sky so far this season, notched a crucial conference road breakthrough against Montana (59-48) one night after suffering their first loss of the season, an 87-63 setback to the Montana State Bobcats. The Bears next face Wyoming Dec. 12 in the Wyoming Shootout tourney.
Montana, the Big Sky’s best defensive team got a bit of its own medicine from the Bears, who held UM to 48 points and a miserable 32.1 shooting percentage on their home floor. UNC held the Big Sky’s second-best scorer, Anthony Johnson (18.6 ppg) to seven points on 2-of-10 shooting. Montana, ranked among the top three in every team defensive category, leads the Big Sky in points allowed (58.6), nearly five points per game better than the second-ranked Bears (63.1).
The Sacramento State Hornets – after starting the season strong – has now lost four of its past 5 games, including a 15-point home-court conference loss to Weber State, and a recent 51-36 loss at USC.
Portland State leads the conference in several offensive categories, including scoring (77.1 ppg), field goal percentage (50.6%), and 3-point FG percentage (42.5%). Weber State’s sophomore phenom Damian Lillard leads the league in scoring average (20.6 ppg), while Eastern Washington senior Brandon Moore is clearing the boards with 9.7 rebounds per game. Portland State’s Dominic Waters has the most 3-point conversions (26), while Eastern Washington newcomer Alden Gibbs has 18 steals, a 2.3 per game average.