Big Sky Conference Tournament Odds: Eastern Washington Looks To Dethrone Montana State
Can a Red-Hot Montana State Play Its Way Into the March Madness Bracket Again?
Weber State and Montana Seek to Play Role of Spoilers in Big Sky Tourney
This has been a pretty solid season in the Big Sky. After finishing 22nd in the Sagarin conference ratings last season, the conference has moved up three spots to 19th.
Eastern Washington earned the top seed in the conference and with just four teams finishing with winning conference records, the list of contenders not a large one when looking at the Big Sky Conference tournament odds.
It would be dangerous to write off defending champion Montana State, especially with the way the Bobcats were playing at the end of the regular season.
Montana State is 105th in the NCAA NET rankings with Eastern Washington falling from 118th to 128th following the two losses late in the regular season, so this is obviously going to be a one-bid league with only the tournament champion earning a spot in the March Madness bracket.
The tournament begins with a pair of games on Saturday at Idaho Central Arena in Boise, Idaho.
When looking at the March Madness bracket contest, the Big Sky champion figure to be significant underdogs when the NCAA tournament begins unless they are slotted into a play-in game.
Eastern Washington ended 2022 by topping Montana State and will look to do it again if the two best teams meet in the Big Sky title game.
Eastern Washington features sophomore forward Steele Venters, who has scored in double digits in 18 of his last 19 games.
The Big Sky Conference tournament odds lists Montana State as the favorite at +115 with Eastern Washington priced at +250.
Montana State ended the regular season with a 79-74 road win against the Eagles with Darius Brown leading the way with 18 points.
The Bobcats could be primed to make another postseason run as their five-game winning streak is the longest active streak in the Big Sky.
Weber State and Montana enter the tournament on two-game winning streaks and both could spoil the expected Eastern Washington-Montana State showdown.
Montana could easily be in the favorites category with +450 odds to secure the March Madness bid according to the Big Sky Conference tournament odds. Weber State comes in at +1100. Sacramento State (+2000) and Idaho State (+2800) lead the best of the rest.
Redshirt sophomore Dillon Jones has scored at least 20 points in each of his four games and has double-doubles in 10 of the last 13 for Weber State.
For Montana, Aanen Moody is averaging 20.9 points with 28 3-pointers over his last seven games. Moody leads the Big Sky in both 3-point and free throw percentage. Montana is the last team to win back-to-back Big Sky tournament titles with championship runs in 2018 and 2019.
There is a gap between the rest of the field with Idaho State, Sacramento State, Portland State, Northern Colorado, Northern Arizona and Idaho all posting losing records in the Big Sky during the regular season.
Northern Colorado does feature the conference’s top scorer as Dalton Knecht is putting up 20.1 points per game.
When looking at the NCAAB injury report, Idaho State did recently get fourth-leading scorer Jared Rodriguez back after he missed 2.5 months. He has only played 19 minutes in the three games since he returned to the court.
Projected Championship Matchup
It would be a surprise to see either Eastern Washington or Montana State eliminated before the March 8 championship game.
Don’t expect too much drama when Eastern Washington opens against either Northern Arizona or Idaho or when Montana State meets either Portland State or Northern Colorado.
The semifinals could be a little more challenging.
Montana State and Eastern Washington not only have the best records, they also lead the Big Sky with 18-10-1 and 18-11-1 records against the spread.
Eastern Washington is the top-scoring team in the Big Sky with Montana State leading the way in scoring defense.
When looking at college basketball favorites today, Eastern Washington and Montana State are the clear front-runners. Upsets are possible since No. 7 seed Portland State did reach the semifinals in the 2022 Big Sky tournament and Montana State was seeded fifth during a run to the 2021 title game.
The No. 1 seed has won each of the last six Big Sky tournaments. However, the last time both the No. 1 and 2 seeds played for the title and a spot in the NCAA tournament came in 2016.Follow us on Twitter
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