- MyBookie has established Northern Colorado as +135 favorites to win the Big Sky Tournament, slated for March 11-14 In Boise, Idaho
- The Bears won the title in 2011 but later were forced to vacate it due to NCAA rules violations. Will they fare better this time around?
- All the odds, predictions and best bets are detailed in the story that follows
The last time the Northern Colorado Bears thought they’d won the Big Sky Conference Tournament, it didn’t end well.
The Bears were tourney champions in 2011 but an NCAA investigation determined the school was guilty of widespread academic fraud. In 2017, the Bears were placed on probation until this season and forced to vacate their title.
This is the first year since then that Northern Colorado has been eligible to compete for the Big Sky title, and MyBookie has established the Bears as the +135 chalk to win the conference tourney.
Northern Colorado finished in second place in conference play during the regular season with a 15-5 record.
The Eastern Washington Eagles were Big Sky Conference regular-season champs. They posted a 16-4 record and are the second betting choice at +300.
2020 Big Sky Tournament Odds
|School (seed)||Odds at MyBookie|
|Northern Colorado (2)||+135|
|Eastern Washington (1)||+300|
|Portland State (4)||+750|
|Southern Utah (7)||+1100|
|Sacramento State (9)||+1500|
|Montana State (5)||+2200|
|Northern Arizona (6)||+3000|
|Weber State (8)||+7000|
|Idaho State (11)||+8000|
Odds taken March 10th
Big Sky Tournament Bracket
The chances of the Big Sky Conference entering the reckoning in the 2020 National Championship odds are remote. No Big Sky school has ever reached the Final Four of March Madness.
The Big Sky Conference tournament is slated for March 11-14 at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho.
Big Sky a Bears’ Market
Northern Colorado is paced by senior guard Jonah Radebaugh, a four-year starter. He leads the team in points (16.5), assists (6.5) and steals (1.5) per game. Radebaugh is also a three-time Big Sky defensive player of the year.
Guards Bodie Hume (13.9) and Trent Harris (11.1) are also averaging double digits in scoring. Forward Kai Edwards pulls down a team-best 7.1 rebounds per game.
🚨 BREAKING 🚨
— UNC Men's Basketball (@UNC_BearsMBB) March 10, 2020
Northern Colorado finished the regular season on a 7-1 roll but that one loss was to Eastern Washington. It cost the Bears the conference crown.
Northern Colorado’s five conference losses came against Eastern Washington (twice), Portland State (twice), and a home setback to Northern Arizona.
Eagles Could Soar
Eastern Washington won its first Big Sky regular-season championship in five seasons and its first outright crown in 16 years. The Eagles ride a seven-game win streak into the tournament.
2nd, 8:51 | Jacob Davison makes the cut and finds a pass from Mason Peatling for the layup
— EWU MBB (@EWUMBB) March 7, 2020
They’re the league’s top-scoring offense (80.9 PPG). Big Sky MVP Mason Preatling is sixth in league scoring (17.9 PPG), and second in rebounding (9.1 RPG) and field-goal percentage (.554). Junior guard Jacob Davison is fourth in Big Sky scoring (18.4 PPG).
Vikings Offer Value
Portland State is also hot as tournament time arrives. The Vikings have won six in a row.
They play a pressure style of game that is perfect for playoff basketball. Portland State leads the Big Sky in steals (8.7 pg) and turnover margin (+2.5).
— Portland State Men’s Basketball (@psuviksMBB) March 10, 2020
Portland State is 3-3 against the Big Sky’s top three seeds this season. The Vikings are 0-2 against Eastern Washington, though.
The Big Sky’s Big Tent
Historically, the Big Sky Tournament is dominated by favorites. The #1 seed has won four in a row and five of six. You’ve got to go all the way back to 2010 to find a tourney not won by one of the top two seeds.
— EWU MBB (@EWUMBB) March 6, 2020
That bodes well for Eastern Washington. Portland State will likely need to get past the Eagles in the semfinals to win, and the Vikings are winless against Eastern Washington.
The Eagles are perfect this season against Northern Colorado.
Pick: Eastern Washington (+300)
SBD’s NCAA conference tournament coverage:
- Opening AAC Tournament Odds Favor Houston at +200
- Opening Big East Tournament Odds Project Chaos Filled Week at MSG
- Colgate Team to Beat in Patriot League Tournament Opening Odds
- America East Tournament Opening Odds Favor Vermont by a Huge Margin
- 2020 MEAC Tournament Opening Odds
- SEC Tournament Opening Odds List Kentucky as +150 Favorite; Auburn +275
- Florida State Favored in ACC Tournament Opening Odds; Duke +200, Louisville +275
- Texas State Favored in Sun Belt Conference Tournament Opening Odds
- MAC Tournament Opening Odds Favor Akron at +145; Ball State at +360
- WAC Tournament Opening Odds: New Mexico State Is Overwhelming Favorite
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