Hatin’ Larry Krystkowiak: Christmas Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) on December 20th, 2013

A Pac-12 adaption of Every Day Should Be Saturday’s Hatin’ Steve Spurrier character. 

credit: The Grizzoulian

Larry is in a Holiday Mood This Week

  • Well, Barry Hinson, you may have gone viral and put Southern Illinois on the map for the first time in a while, but you’re not going to like what’s in your stocking on Wednesday.
  • Washington‘s two-game winning streak will likely come to an end this weekend against Connecticut. Will we see another two straight wins for the Dawgs this season? Are Idaho State and Tulane on the schedule again? The answer is in there somewhere.
  • Oregon State‘s celebrating Christmas in Hawaii for the Diamond Head Classic, meaning it will have played games in the DC area, Chicago, and Honolulu in the first two months of the season. Someone tell Craig Robinson he doesn’t have to schedule every city inhabited by President Obama at some point or another.
  • Time to brag about my team. Nine wins y’all. What’s that you say about the third easiest schedule in the nation? Haters gonna hate.
  • It sucks that Roberto Nelson was ejected for throwing a punch (skip to 1:07 of the video to view) against Towson on Wednesday, but at least that’s the toughest defense the Beavers have played all season. Regardless, Nelson makes Santa’s naughty list.

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Pac-12 Pick’em: Week Five

Posted by Connor Pelton on December 27th, 2012

We are five weeks into our Pac-12 Pick’Em and Adam is slowly running away with the thing. Sure, he’s only one game up on Parker, but with a week with so many similar picks like this one, and with those shorter conference weeks coming up, making up ground will be hard to do. Last week was rough on all of us, thanks to teams like USC and Utah choking away what we thought were sure wins. I was the only one to miss Stanford’s road win at Northwestern; I did come pretty close on the score, however. I had the Wildcats winning 71-69, but they fell 70-68. So now, we enter week five. New Mexico’s visit to Cincinnati and Missouri’s meeting with UCLA headline the list as our games of the week.

Game Connor (40-12) Drew (39-13) Parker (43-9) Adam (44-8)
New Mexico at Cincy Cincy 79-71 UNM 67-65 Cincy 64-59 Cincy 76-66
College of Idaho at Utah Utah Utah Utah Utah
Missouri at UCLA UM 80-75 UM 93-77 UM 84-72 UM 84-72
Coppin State at ASU Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State
Hartford at Colorado Colorado Colorado Colorado Colorado
Towson at Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State
WSU vs Idaho State Washington State Washington State Wash State Wash State
Washington at UConn Connecticut Connecticut Connecticut Connecticut
Harvard at California California California California California
Lafayette at Stanford Stanford Stanford Stanford Stanford
Dayton at USC Dayton Dayton Dayton Dayton

 

There’s only a single difference in opinion this week, as Drew is taking the visiting Lobos over host Cincinnati. I am the only one picking the Tigers-Bruins match-up to be a close ballgame, with Missouri pulling out a five-point victory in Los Angeles.

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Rushed Reactions: Oregon State 79, Portland State 74

Posted by Connor Pelton on December 13th, 2012

Connor Pelton is an RTC correspondent and Pac-12 microsite writer. He filed this report from tonight’s Oregon State-Portland State game in Portland.

Three Key Takeaways.

  1. 100 Wins. Tonight’s win was Craig Robinson’s 100th victory in his career, just seven seasons in. While there have certainly been some struggles along the way (an 11-18 year at Brown and a 10-19 campaign with the Beavers in 2010-11), it is becoming more and more evident from the finish to last season and the start of this year that Robinson will be in Corvallis for a long time. And that’s a good thing for Beaver fans. What plagued him and Oregon State early on in his career were three things; halftime adjustments, correctly picking a defense to match up with the opponent’s strengths, and getting the team up for games against lesser opponents. It was fitting Robinson did all three of these things correctly in his milestone win. The Vikings quickly built up a 16-7 lead against the Beavers, and recognizing a need for energy and disruption, OSU went to its signature 1-3-1 trap. That forced three consecutive PSU turnovers, and in a matter of minutes the Beavers went on a 18-8 run to gain the lead for the first time.
  2. The Emergence of Joe Burton. As Joe Burton goes, so do the Beavers? That would have been a crazy statement to make at the beginning of the season, but ever since the season-ending injury to fellow center Angus Brandt, we’ve seen a new and more confident Burton. That was especially true tonight, as the big man led all starters with 20 points. Big Joe is now looking to shoot more instead of instantly going into pass-first mode, and tonight he rolled off four straight buckets after missing the first three he took. If Burton can continue this type of production, the sting of losing Brandt will be lessened significantly.
  3. Stopping Starks. Oregon State’s leading scorer only put up four shots from the field on Wednesday night, and missed every single one of them. Normally the junior point guard gets his pull-up threes off of screens on the perimeter, but instead of switching on those screens, the Vikings did a terrific job of fighting through them and doubling Starks before the screen even came. This worked for the first ten minutes, while the Beaver bigs couldn’t put anything away inside the paint, but eventually the shots would fall and Portland State was killed in the paint. Regardless, the strategy more or less worked. Anytime a team that hasn’t beaten a Division I opponent all season can hold one of the Pac-12’s top scorer to only four points, you’re doing something right.
Despite A Terrific Defensive Effort Against Ahmad Starks, The Beavers Pulled Out A 79-74 Road Victory. (Photo by Connor Pelton)

Despite A Terrific Defensive Effort Against Ahmad Starks, The Beavers Pulled Out A 79-74 Road Victory. (This photo, apparently found in the LOST hatch, is from  Connor Pelton)

Star of the Game. Devon Collier. We’ve already discussed Burton’s exploits, and he’d make a great pick as well, but Collier’s buckets came at the biggest times. The junior would go on mini-runs all by himself, salvaging the Beavers from offensive droughts and igniting not only the team, but large contingent of Beaver fans in attendance. His post moves were spectacular, consistently putting down shots and drawing contact in the process. The big man finished with a team-leading 23 points, and came up huge on the offensive glass as well.

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Pac-12 Pick’Em: Week Two

Posted by Connor Pelton on December 7th, 2012

Last Thursday, you may have remembered our Pac-12 Hoops Pick’Em that got underway in our M5. We’re back at it again this week, this time with a full post to go over the results from last week and to look ahead as well. Parker and I stole the show in week one, going a solid 11-2 to take a one-game advantage over Drew and Adam. I was the only one to miss Utah’s road win at Texas State on Friday night, but I came back to the field with Wyoming’s upset of Colorado. Parker and I took the lead thanks to San Diego State’s win over UCLA on Saturday at the Honda Center. So now, we enter week two. Colorado’s visit to Kansas and Illinois visiting Gonzaga headline the list as our games of the week.

Game Connor (11-2) Drew (10-3) Parker (11-2) Adam (10-3)
Colorado at Kansas KU 75-70 KU 70-68 KU 68-57 KU 72-61
Cal State Northridge at Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State
Grambling State at Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State
UCLA vs Texas Texas UCLA UCLA UCLA
Idaho State at Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon
Arizona at Clemson Arizona Arizona Arizona Arizona
Nevada at Washington Washington Washington Washington Washington
Utah at BYU BYU BYU BYU BYU
Illinois at Gonzaga GU 85-79 Illinois 71-65 GU 79-74 GU 86-74
Minnesota at USC Minnesota USC Minnesota Minnesota
Fresno State at Washington State Fresno State Fresno State Fresno State WSU
UNLV at California UNLV California UNLV California

 

The only difference between the two leaders this week comes in The Showcase at Houston, where I was the only one to take the home-state Longhorns. Drew was the only one to take the visiting Fighting Illini against the Zags, and he was also the only one to pick USC with a home upset over Minnesota. Three of the four of us took Fresno State getting a road win in Pullman, with Adam going with the safe pick in the Cougars. The final game of the week, featuring #21 UNLV visiting Berkeley, was split between the prognosticators.

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Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week Three

Posted by Connor Pelton on December 4th, 2012

Here’s a look at the power rankings that Drew, Parker, Adam, and I have compiled after the third week of Pac-12 games (delta in parentheses):

  1. Arizona, 5-0 (^1): There aren’t many teams in the nation that have only played five games in 24 days, but Arizona has done it perfectly. It was a successful two-game week for the Wildcats, who jumped all over both Northern Arizona and Texas Tech from the opening taps on Wednesday and Saturday night. Sophomore guard Nick Johnson was the highlight of UA’s big road win in Lubbock, scoring 18 points and collecting five rebounds. Sean Miller’s club, the only one without a loss in the Pac-12 through three weeks of play, was a unanimous decision at number one. The only concerning part of the week was the continuing poor play of Mark Lyons. With the exception of a four-point night against Long Beach State, his scorning outputs have been fine. What’s troubling is the fact he’s turning the ball over at a pace of three per game, which was also a problem seen with Josiah Turner and T.J. McConnell before him as point guards in Miller’s system. Arizona will now get back-to-back stiff tests from 6-1 Southern Miss and 5-2 Clemson. Up Next: 12/4 vs. Southern Miss.
  2. Oregon, 7-1 (^2): Oregon had a quiet 2-0 week, but they got the job done and climbed a pair of spots in this week’s rankings. Senior forward Carlos Emory continued his strong play off the bench for the Ducks, averaging 12.5 PPG against Texas-San Antonio and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Up Next: 12/8 vs. Idaho State.

    Emory Has Been The Surprise Of 7-1 Oregon’s Season So Far, Averaging 11.3 PPG and 4.8 RPG

  3. Colorado, 6-1 (٧2): It wasn’t exactly a banner week for the previously top-ranked Buffaloes, who were taken to double overtime by Texas Southern before dropping a road game at Wyoming. Still, Tad Boyle’s guys deserve to be in the upper fourth of the conference. They rolled off four straight solid wins before this week, and a loss in Laramie to the Cowboys isn’t exactly a bad one, especially by typical Pac-12 standards. Up Next: 12/5 vs. Colorado State.
  4. California, 6-1 (٧1): California’s seven-day layoff ended up hurting it more than it helped, as the Golden Bears came out flat and sloppy on the road against Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon. The Badgers jumped out to a 31-12 advantage and never looked back as Cal folded in front of a big and loud Kohl Center crowd. If there was a bright spot it belonged to junior guard Allen Crabbe, who poured in 25 points against a stingy Wisky defense. Unfortunately for Cal, there wasn’t a whole lot of production from anyone else on the floor. Justin Cobbs was the next highest scorer with 11. Up Next: 12/9 vs. UNLV.
  5. Stanford, 6-3 (^3): After dropping two places in last week’s rankings, Stanford jumped back up three spots after blowing out Seattle University and Denver. The Redhawks actually led Stanford 48-47 with 7:15 remaining, but a 12-4 Cardinal run down the stretch clinched Stanford’s fifth win of the year. Johnny Dawkins and company will now take nearly two weeks off for finals before returning to the hardwood. Up Next: 12/15 vs. UC Davis. Read the rest of this entry »
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Honorary Pac-12 Members For 2012-13

Posted by AMurawa on October 29th, 2012

There are seven teams from other conferences across the country that will have three different Pac-12 teams on their schedule this year. While fans of Pac-12 schools will likely be rooting against these seven teams in those games against conference foes, whenever these schools face other teams from other conferences, it will be in the best interest of the league as a whole to have these seven teams win as much as possible. We all know the RPI may be a flawed metric, but it is a metric that the selection committee uses in one form or another to help select and slot teams in the bracket come March. And how the RPI is determined is quite simple: It takes into account your team’s winning percentage, the winning percentage of your opponents, and one step further, the winning percentage of your opponents’ opponents. In other words, even if your school isn’t playing one of these teams this season, since your team will be playing against three Pac-12 opponents of these schools, your RPI will get a boost if these teams win. So, without further ado, below we will list and give a brief rundown of the seven Division I teams with three Pac-12 teams on their schedule.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (RPI: #302) – Last season, the Golden Lions started out by losing 19 of their first 21 games on their way to an 11-22 year. The sad thing is that was an improvement over 2010-11, when they lost their first 14 games and finished 7-24. There are some extenuating circumstances, however. For instance, two years ago their first 12 games – all non-conference games – were on the road, with seven games against teams from the top seven conferences in the nation. Last year was slightly better, with only nine games on their non-conference slate as true road games (the other four were neutral-site games). This year, though, head coach George Ivory is back to getting his team killed in the non-conference slate. Not only will UAPB play at Washington State, Arizona State and Oregon, but they’ll also make soul-crushing trips to San Diego State and Michigan State. But hey, give credit to Ivory for at least scheduling a trip to Hawai’i  to take part in the Rainbow Classic there. This team will have earned its preemptive vacation by the time its non-conference slate is done. The good news is that the Golden Lions have a pair of talented returning starters and a couple veterans coming back from medical redshirts. But let’s face facts. If UAPB comes out of its non-conference schedule with something like a 3-8 record, that will be an astoundingly good result. The Pac-12 will need this squad to clean up in the SWAC in order to get any benefit from having them on the schedule.

George Ivory, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

UAPB’s Head Coach George Ivory Is Not Adverse To Getting His Team Killed In the Non-Conference Schedule

Cal State Northridge (RPI: #324) – If anyone outside of the San Fernando Valley knows anything about the Matadors, it likely has to do with the fact that they were banned from NCAA Tournament eligibility last season due to poor academic performance. But, that’s in the past now, and CSUN used last year’s lost season to develop a bunch of youngsters. Between last year’s Big West freshman of the year, Stephen Hicks, classmate Stephen Maxwell, and sophomore point Josh Greene, the Matadors return the three most efficient high-use offensive players from last year’s squad. Throw in incoming freshmen Landon Drew (brother of UCLA point guard Larry Drew II) and Brandon Perry and this a young and talented squad. And, even better for Pac-12 schools, they have a manageable schedule. Their visits to UCLA, Arizona State and Utah comprise three of their four toughest games on the schedule and their non-conference slate is loaded with winnable games for them, including a trio of non-Division I opponents. But, the real test for CSUN will be how it can do in conference play this year, with the usual favorite, Long Beach State, being challenged by Cal State Fullerton and newcomer Hawai’i. But, if everything comes together, an upper-division finish in the Big West is not out of the question.

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2012-13 RTC Conference Primers: Big Sky Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 18th, 2012

Jonathan Reed of Big Sky Basketball is the RTC Correspondent for the Big Sky Conference. You can find him on Twitter @bigskybball.

Top Storylines

  • The Injury to Will Cherry – Cherry was the runaway favorite for Big Sky Conference Player of the Year, and one of the best perimeter defensive players in the country. However, he will miss the start of the year with a broken foot. The most likely scenario is that he misses the non-conference portion of the schedule and returns for conference play. However, nobody is sure if he will be 100%, and there has even been a little talk that he could redshirt if he can’t come back fully healthy this year. With Cherry, Montana is the favorite. Without him, the conference race is wide open.
  • Change is Everywhere – There are two new teams in the Big Sky, as North Dakota and Southern Utah join the fray. This brings the total number of teams to 11, and with each team playing everyone else twice, everyone will be playing 20 conference games. There will also be an increase from six teams in the Big Sky Tournament to seven teams this season. Three new coaches enter the league. Changes are all around (and more on them later).

Kareem Jamar Will Have To Step In As Will Cherry Recovers From Injury. (AP Photo/Jake Schoellkopf)

  • Life Without Damian Lillard – Lillard was the best player to come out of the conference in a long-time, as he was the sixth pick in the NBA Draft and arguably the best college point guard in America last season. Now, Weber State must move on. Either Jordan Richardson or Gelaun Wheelwright will step into the starting lineup, and they have big shoes to fill. They will need multiple people to step up and perform, and they will have the personnel to do it.
  • Weber State and Montana Reign Again – Heading into last year, these two teams were the media and coaches top two choices. Heading into this season, it will be more of the same. Simply put, they are the most talented and deepest teams in the conference, and they have continuity on the coaching staff. With the way they are recruiting, it won’t be a surprise if the two teams stay in the top two for a long while to come.

Reader’s Take

 

Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Weber State (17-3)
  2. Montana (16-4)
  3. Northern Colorado (13-7)
  4. Sacramento State (12-8)
  5. North Dakota (11-9)
  6. Montana State (10-10)
  7. Eastern Washington (9-11)
  8. Portland State (8-12)
  9. Northern Arizona (5-15)
  10. Southern Utah (5-15)
  11. Idaho State (4-16)

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Morning Five: 06.04.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on June 4th, 2012

  1. The big news over the weekend was the announcement by Devonta Pollard that he would be heading to Alabama next season. The addition of a McDonald’s All-American is a big deal for any program (ok, they might not go nuts over someone who is “just” a McDonald’s All-American in Lexington these days), but it is an even bigger deal for a Crimson Tide program that did not have a single player signed for the class of 2012. Pollard, who is already 6’7″ and 200 pounds, joins a team that was talented, but erratic last year will be missing two key pieces in the form of JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell. We do not expect Pollard to jump into that role right away, but in a few years could help them become a similar caliber team.
  2. It seems like the media loves to talk about all the incoming McDonald’s All-Americans and the impact that they will have in college. Occasionally we like to talk about the players who are “embodying” the college spirit by eschewing the lure of NBA millions to come back for their sophomore or junior year. We very rarely talk about seniors like that and for good reason as most of the players talented enough to play in the NBA are already there by this point. However, as Andy Glockner points out that does not mean that there are not some seniors who are expected to have a significant impact next season. These guys will not win any national player of the year awards, but they could decide a few conference championships and maybe even the national championship.
  3. There are always rumors floating around illegal recruiting at top programs across the country and when those rumors come out we are usually surprised, but never shocked. When the rumors come out of Idaho State we are shocked. According to reports, the school was reported by former interim head coach Deane Martin after he got passed over for the full-time job. Martin reportedly sent a letter to the school’s athletic director informing him of a booster who was willing to pay to bring players into the program. The investigation, which was prompted when the school and Martin reported the allegations, is still ongoing so it is difficult to assess the validity of these statements although it seems strange that the former coach would falsely report violations that occurred under his watch, but we have seen stranger things that have happened.
  4. ESPN released a list of its highest rated college basketball metro markets for the past college basketball season. As with all surveys it is important to look for any flaws in the methodology including the fact that it does not include markets like Lexington, which would probably win in a landslide if it were included. Leaving that shortcoming aside for a moment, the list is fairly instructive in that the vast majority of college basketball that is broadcast at a national level flows through ESPN. The top of the list is about what you would expect with the most interesting rankings being the relative order of some of these cities, but the one that sticks out the most is Knoxville particularly with the relatively weak team that they fielded there this season.
  5. Some sad news from late last week as two prominent names in basketball yore passed away from complications related to illnesses — Jack Twyman, at age 78, and Orlando Woolridge, at age 52. Twyman isn’t very well-known these days, having played largely in the pre-television era of athletics, but he is a Hall of Famer who once scored 59 points in an NBA game and became in the 1959-60 season the first player in history to average over 30 PPG for a season (31.2). He played at Cincinnati from 1951-55 and became an All-American during his senior season when he averaged 24.6 PPG and 16.5 RPG — to this day, he remains one of only three Bearcats whose jerseys have been retired at Cincinnati, but his contributions beyond basketball may have been his more lasting legacy. Woolridge is better known as both a Los Angeles Laker (where he helped Magic and Kareem’s Showtime Lakers win their last title in 1988) and as a member of Digger Phelps’ Notre Dame Fighting Irish teams (where he helped Phelps make his only Final Four in 1978). He was an All-American in 1981 for the Irish, and became a part of the school’s giant-killing lore by hitting a jumper that year to knock off then-#1, riding a 28-game winning streak, Virginia Cavaliers, in what appers to be one of the earlier RTCs we’ve yet seen. RIP to both basketball legends.
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Big Sky Tournament Preview & Season Wrap-Up

Posted by rtmsf on March 3rd, 2012

Jonathan Reed of Big Sky Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Big Sky conference. You can find him on Twitter at @bigskybball.

Tournament Preview

Tournament Glance

Everybody is assuming that Weber State and Montana will have a rematch in the conference championship game, but don’t be so sure about that. Portland State has the offensive talent to hang with the Wildcats on a neutral court, and Eastern Washington has given Montana some competitive games (those two teams are the favorites to advance past the quarterfinals).

That said, it would be a surprise if it is not Weber State and Montana in a rematch on Wednesday night. They have been the two best teams in the Big Sky all season, have the two best players in the conference, and have the best talent. It would be a great rematch, as each has won convincingly on their home court.

However, I think Weber State will reverse what happened last week, when Montana beat them to clinch the regular season championship. Nobody talked about this, but Weber State played their worst game of the season, and they were within five points late in the second half. They can’t shoot that poorly again, and I have to think that Damian Lillard will show why he has been the best player in the conference all year long. Look for a classic title game, with Weber State coming in and shocking the faithful at Dahlberg Arena to clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Reader’s Take

 

Big Sky Awards

  • Player of the Year: Damian Lillard (Weber State) – There is some talk that Cherry should get the award, or that they should split it, but I still like Lillard as the best player in the conference all season. He carried them early on in the year and has been outstanding all year. He is the best PG in America, and has had the best all-around season.

Simply Put, Weber State's Damian Lillard Has Been One Of The Country's Best This Season (AP)

  • Defensive Player of the Year: Will Cherry (Montana) – This is an easy choice, as Cherry is sixth in the nation in steals and already fifth in Big Sky history in that category (he has one season of eligibility left). He is one of the best perimeter defenders in the country, and the one guy in the conference as likely to change the game on the defensive end as he is on the offensive end.
  • Newcomer of the Year: Dylan Garrity (Sacramento State) – He has some work to do on his game (namely that he needs to shoot the ball better), but he has been everything Brian Katz could have hoped for and then some.
  • Freshman of the Year: Dylan Garrity (Sacramento State) – There are arguments to be made for James Douglas of Northern Arizona or Tevin Svihovec of UNC, but I think Garrity is the guy here. He has stepped in and been the primary ballhandler and facilitator from day one for the Hornets. He could lead the Big Sky in assists every year of his career.
  • Coach of the Year: Wayne Tinkle (Montana) – There could certainly be an argument made for Deane Martin, who changed the culture around at ISU this year, but I would give the award to Tinkle. This is a team that lost the best defensive player in the conference, and came back to be even better defensively. He had a relatively young team, and surpassed already high expectations.

Power Rankings

  1. Montana (23-6, 15-1) – They earned this spot, having won 12 straight games and 18 of 19. After playing second fiddle in people’s minds all season long, they enter the conference tournament as the favorite, by virtue of their win over Weber State on Tuesday night. They are one of Wayne Tinkle’s best offensive teams, and they have a multitude of guys that can step up and hurt you offensively. Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar looked like the best guard duo in the Big Sky to close the regular season.

    Montana Point Guard Will Cherry and Coach Wayne Tinkle Has Been A Winning Combo This Season

  2. Weber State (23-5, 14-2) – They spent almost the entire season at the top of everyone’s radar, but they came up short in the biggest game of the year. Damian Lillard is an excellent player, but he has struggled in some of their biggest games this season. Look for them to come out strong in the conference tournament, because they know they have some unfinished business. In most years, 14-2 would win you the Big Sky, but this was not most years.
  3. Portland State (16-13, 10-6) – Quietly they are playing very good basketball, having won six straight conference games. Charles Odum is playing at a very high level, and is matched only by Lillard in his scoring prowess. He gets to the line often, and shoots a very high percentage. He forms a nice duo with Chehales Tapscott, the best rebounder in the conference and perhaps the most versatile player. They are going to be a tough out.
  4. Eastern Washington (14-16, 8-8) – They have had an up and down season, but end the year about where everyone predicted, in fourth place in the conference. On paper, they have the talent to give someone an interesting game in the tournament, but it is just a matter of not making mental mistakes. Cliff Colimon has ended the year strong, and has shown himself to be one of the best PGs in the conference.
  5. Idaho State (9-20, 7-9) – They are the surprise of the conference, as they are a team that everyone predicted to finish in the Big Sky cellar, yet they are in fifth place and almost hosted a conference tournament game. Deane Martin should get consideration for Coach of the Year, and should have already had his interim tag removed. It will be an upset if they win a conference tournament game, but they have already surpassed expectations.
  6. Northern Colorado (9-19, 5-11) –They didn’t get as many wins as they would have liked, but they showed flashes of the potential that should make them a top 4 team next season. They lost one senior this year, and they will have no seniors next season. They are balanced and have a lot of different players that should make the leap. They will be fine.

    If There Is One Team To Crash The Anticipated Rematch, Charles Odum and Portland State Might Be It (AP)

  7. Sacramento State (10-18, 5-11) – They didn’t get to their goal of .500, but they made baby steps toward becoming a solid Big Sky team. They return almost everyone next year, and should have one of the best PGs in the league in Dylan Garrity. At the very least, next year should be Sac State’s best year in a while.
  8. Montana State (12-16, 7-9) – It is hard to classify this year as anything but disappointing. They started the conference season at 6-2, and had the look of a top 3 tournament team. Next thing you know, they lose eight straight games and sneak into the tournament as the six seed. They dealt with a lot of off-the-court issues, including the off-court injury to Xavier Blount, which did a lot to derail their season.
  9. Northern Arizona (5-24, 1-15) – Yikes.
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Checking In On… the Big Sky Conference

Posted by rtmsf on February 3rd, 2012

Jonathan Reed of Big Sky Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Big Sky conference. You can find him on Twitter at @bigskybball.

Reader’s Take

 

The Past Couple Weeks:

  • Weber State and Montana tied again – These are the two teams that have been at the top of the conference from the beginning, so it is not surprise that they are both at the top of the conference now. As of this writing, they both stand at 8-1, and don’t appear to have any serious contenders. This will be one of the best conference races in the country.

Damian Lillard (1) and Weber State Are Still The Favorites, But Will Cherry (5) and Montana Are Closing In Fast (AP)

  • Idaho State becomes a conference tournament contender – All along this season, Idaho State was seen as a team that would probably finish last in the Big Sky, and nothing through the first two months of the year changed that perception. However, they have all of sudden won three straight games, including handing Weber State their only loss. They are brimming with confidence, and a team that nobody else wants to face, which would have been shocking to say one month ago.
  • Former NAU coach Mike Adras under fire – In December, long-time Northern Arizona head coach Mike Adras abruptly resigned, and there was not a lot said about it officially. There were rumors that he may not have treated his players the best, but I never expected what was put out in the AZ Daily Sun last week. He is accused of breaking multiple NCAA rules, including making his practices too long, and making his players lie about it. Suffice to say, the NAU program is reeling a bit right now.

Power Rankings:

  1. Weber State (16-4, 8-1) – I gave a lot of thought to putting Montana first, but it was not long ago that Weber State soundly beat them. Damian Lillard is still leading the country in scoring, but his lead is growing more tenuous. They are still battling injury problems, as starting forward Frank Otis is out for the year. It is a bit easy to nitpick, but they are still 8-1 and the favorite. Read the rest of this entry »
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Checking In On… the Big Sky Conference

Posted by rtmsf on January 21st, 2012

Jonathan Reed of Big Sky Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Big Sky conference. You can find him on Twitter at @bigskybball.

Reader’s Take

 

The Past Couple Weeks

  • Weber State gets some players back: Kyle Bullinger was a first-team all conference player last year, and Frank Otis was a starter after transferring from SMU. However, both players got hurt a few weeks ago, and missed significant time. For the most part, the Wildcats were still fine, mostly thanks to the play of “Fly Guy” Damian Lillard. However, these two returned to action last week, and that makes WSU even more dangerous.
  • Round One of Weber State/Montana goes to Wildcats: These are the two best teams in the Big Sky this year, which means there is a good chance they will meet three times. In the first matchup, Weber State took control of the game and control of the conference, beating Montana by 16. It was really a fantastic win, and clearly puts Weber State a head above everyone else in the conference right now.
  • The best comeback of the year: With 11:21 to play on 1/14, Idaho State trailed Sacramento State, 54-32. With two minutes to play, they were down by 10. With 12 seconds to play, they were down by three. But then, after a Kenny McGowen four-point play, they miraculously won the game on the road. For a team that has been struggling for a few years, this is a win for them to savor. For Sacramento State, I’m not sure they can recover from that and still have a realistic shot at the Big Sky tournament.

Who's The Best Team In The Big Sky? Damian Lillard (ball) and Weber State Answered That Question After Its Impressive Win Over Montana

Power Rankings

  1. Weber State (15-3, 7-0) – There are two good signs for the Wildcats and bad signs for the rest of the conference. One, WSU has been impossible to beat at home this year, as they possess an 11-0 home mark. Two, the winner of the Big Sky regular season hosts the conference tournament. As of now, it would be foolish to predict that that team will be anyone other than the Wildcats. They are the best team in the Big Sky right now without question. Read the rest of this entry »
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Checking In On… the Big Sky Conference

Posted by rtmsf on December 24th, 2011

Jonathan Reed of Big Sky Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Big Sky conference. You can find him on Twitter at @bigskybball.

Reader’s Take

 

The Past Couple Weeks

  • Northern Arizona Head Coach Mike Adras Resigns – This was a bit of a shocker when it happened, as Adras seemed to be well regarded by the fans and has a long, solid track record for the Lumberjacks. But all of a sudden, in his 13th year as head coach, he was out. The school’s press release said he left to “pursue other opportunities,” while many rumblings said it was more of a forced resignation. As is often the case, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, but it is not something we will likely know.
  • Idaho State Head Coach Joe O’Brien Resigns – This one you could see coming, though it was still a bit of a shock to have a second Big Sky coach resign in the middle of the year. O’Brien was in the final year of his contract, and it seemed clear that he needed to win or he might have been looking for other employment at the end of the year. With the Bengals sitting at 2-8, he decided to resign now, and give someone else (assistant coach Deane Martin) a chance to be the head man. From all accounts O’Brien was a very nice guy, he just was not able to get the job done in Pocatello. Here’s hoping he lands on his feet.
  • Weber State Misses Opportunities – Early in the season, especially after the Wildcats beat Utah State, there was talk that they might have a small chance at an at-large bid if they were not able to win the Big Sky. Unfortunately, that is no longer on the table, as losses to St. Mary’s, BYU, and Cal (the latter two being blowouts) have blown any chance of that. The last bracketology by Joe Lunardi projected Weber State as a No. 16 seed, as they were not able to secure the key non-conference victories they would have liked (in their defense, they are battling injury problems). So once again, the Big Sky will certainly be a one-bid league.

What Team Is The Top Challenger for Weber State? It Could Very Well Be Will Cherry and Montana. (AP)

Power Rankings

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