- Montana is the favorite to win the Big Sky Conference Tournament
- Only the winner of the tournament will earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament
- Who is the best bet?
The stakes are sky high for this weekend’s Big Sky Conference tournament (Mar. 13-16, Boise, Idaho) as only the winner will earn a trip to the NCAA tournament.
1 – @MontanaGrizBB
2 – @UNC_BearsMBB
3 – @EWUMBB
4 – @WeberStateMBB
5 – @psuviksMBB
6 – @MSUBobcatsMBB
7 – @SUUBasketball
8 – @NAUBasketball
9 – @SacHornetsMBB
10 – @IdahoStateBball
11 – @VandalHoops pic.twitter.com/eh5Py6mgMv
— Big Sky MBB (@BigSkyMBB) March 10, 2019
Defending champion Montana (23-8, 16-4 Big Sky) is once again the favorite, looking to win its fifth conference title this decade, followed closely by Northern Colorado (21-10, 15-5 Big Sky).
Odds to Win 2019 Big Sky Conference Tournament
|Team||2019 Big Sky Tournament Odds (as of Mar. 11)|
The two programs split the regular season series, with Montana narrowly beating out Northern Colorado for the regular-season crown by just a single game.
Montana’s missing link
Montana is the more complete team, ranking near the top of the conference in nearly every key offensive and defensive category, but they’re missing their leading scorer and rebounder.
— Montana Griz BB (@MontanaGrizBB) November 10, 2018
Forward Jamar Akoh has been sidelined for over a month with a wrist injury, and his absence has forced Montana to roll with a smaller, more guard-heavy lineup.
The results have been mixed. Montana racked up a solid seven wins in its last nine contests, but both losses came against two of the more potent Big Sky offences.
If Akoh is unavailable for this weekend’s tournament, the added offensive burden placed upon his teammates could be enough to derail Montana’s title hopes.
Northern Colorado’s keys to success
One team that shouldn’t have any trouble scoring is Northern Colorado. The Bears are led by the conference’s leading scorer, Jordan Davis, whom you might remember from around this time last year.
LAWD. Northern Colorado’s Jordan Davis with the CRAZY poster ?
THIS. IS. MARCH. (via @unco_mbb) pic.twitter.com/PXK0Z66zIA
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) March 10, 2018
The senior guard averages 24 points a game, while shooting a respectable 37% from three. No team in the Big Sky takes or makes more outside shots than Northern Colorado, and no team in the conference plays stingier defense.
The Bears allow the fewest points per game and only Weber State forces a lower opponent field-goal percentage.
Montana and Northern Colorado are the clear favorites, but the uncertainty of Akoh’s availability swings the pendulum towards the Bears. At +210, they represent the best bet on the board, but if you’re looking for a long shot, pay attention to Portland State.
— Portland State Basketball (@psuviksMBB) March 10, 2019
They won seven of their final eight games and swept the season series against Montana. At +1800 they could make some serious noise this weekend.
SBD’s NCAA conference tournament coverage:
- 2019 Big Ten Conference Tournament Odds: Michigan State Favored
- 2019 AAC Tournament Odds: Houston Listed as Favorite
- 2019 Pac-12 Tournament Odds: Washington Listed as Favorite
- 2019 Big West Conference Tournament Odds: UC Irvine the Odds-On Favorite
- 2019 ACC Tournament Odds: Virginia, not Duke, Listed as Slight Favorite
- 2019 SEC Tournament Odds: Tennessee & Kentucky Favored Over LSU
- 2019 Big East Conference Tournament Odds: Villanova Favored Over Slumping Marquette
- 2019 MEAC Tournament Odds: Norfolk State Listed as Favorites
- Lipscomb Odds-On Favorite to Win NCAAM Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament
- Colgate Odds-On Favorite to Win Patriot League Tournament
- 2019 Horizon League Tournament Odds: Northern Kentucky Favored
- 2019 Big South Tournament Odds: Radford Favored
- 2019 MAAC Tournament Odds: Iona & Rider Listed as Co-Favorites
- 2019 Colonial Conference Tournament Odds: Hofstra Given Edge Over Northeastern
- Saint Francis Red Flash Favored to Win 2019 Northeast Conference Tournament
- Belmont Favored Over Murray State in Ohio Valley Conference Tournament
- 2019 West Coast Conference Tournament Odds: Should You Bet Against Gonzaga?
- 2019 Summit Conference Tournament Odds: South Dakota St Heavily Favored
- Wofford Listed as Odds-On Favorite in 2019 Southern Conference Tournament
- Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Odds: Loyola-Chicago Favored
Let's have fun and keep it civil.