Big Sky Conference Tournament Preview: Prediction, Bracket, Odds, Standings and Schedule

The Big Sky Conference tournament kicks off today and Eastern Washington presents intriguing value
The Big Sky Conference tournament kicks off today and Eastern Washington presents intriguing value / Tommy Martino/University of Montana/GettyImages

It's postseason basketball time!

The Big Sky Conference Tournament gets underway this week at the Idaho Central Arena on Wednesday, March 9th, at 9:30 AM MST (local time).

#8 Sacramento State takes on #9 Idaho in the first matchup, followed by #9 Portland State against #10 Idaho State and #6 Eastern Washington vs #11 Northern Arizona.

Montana State has the #1 seed and is the odds-on favorite at WynnBET to emerge victorious with +175 odds, though Southern Utah (+290), Weber State (+500) and Northern Colorado (+500) aren't far behind.

ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi currently has Montana State as a 14-seed, though a poor performance could knock them out of the tournament altogether. With no NCAA Tournament bid secure, we'll be in for a highly competitive stretch of games.

Let's jump into everything you need to know about the Big Sky Tournament, starting with the odds via WynnBET Sportsbook:

Big Sky Conference Tournament Odds

  • Montana State: +175
  • Southern Utah: +290
  • Weber State: +500
  • Northern Colorado: +500
  • Eastern Washington: +1400
  • Montana: +1600
  • Portland State: +4000
  • Sacramento State: +10000
  • Idaho: +20000
  • Idaho State: +20000
  • Northern Arizona: +30000

Big Sky Conference Tournament Standings and Bracket

Here's a peak at the standings and bracket for the Big Sky Conference Tournament:

Big Sky Conference Tournament Schedule (Dates, Times, Channel)

Here's how the schedule shapes up for the tournament. All games through the Semifinals on Friday will be broadcast on ESPN+, with the championship game on Saturday being broadcast on ESPNU.

All times are in MST in Idaho.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022 - Big Sky Conference Tournament Opening Round

  • 9:30 AM: #8 Sacramento State vs #9 Idaho - GAME 1
  • 12:00 PM: #7 Portland State vs #10 Idaho State - GAME 2
  • 2:30 PM: #6 Eastern Washington vs #11 Northern Arizona - GAME 3

Thursday, March 10, 2022 - Big Sky Conference Tournament Quarterfinals

  • 12:00 PM: #1 Montana State vs Game 1 Winner - GAME 4
  • 2:30 PM: #4 Weber State vs #5 Montana - GAME 5
  • 5:30 PM: #2 Southern Utah vs Game 2 Winner - GAME 6
  • 8:00 PM: #3 Northern Colorado vs Game 3 Winner - GAME 7

Friday, March 11, 2022 - Big Sky Conference Tournament Semifinals

  • 5:30 PM: Game 4 Winner vs Game 5 Winner - GAME 8
  • 8:00 PM: Game 6 Winner vs Game 7 Winner - GAME 9

Saturday, March 12, 2022 - Big Sky Conference Tournament Finals

  • 6:00 PM: Game 8 Winner vs Game 9 Winner - CHAMPIONSHIP

Big Sky Conference Tournament Prediction and Pick

Montana State cruised to a 16-4 conference record to secure the regular season crown and find themselves as the rightful favorites headed into the tournament. The Bobcats lead the conference in scoring defense and free throw rate while ranking 67th nationally in two-point shooting and 42nd in three-point shooting. They're a well-balanced team, and KenPom has them as the most likely to win the Big Sky tournament.

But at +175, we'd need an implied probability of over 36.36% for Montana State to become a valuable bet. With such a close conference and a number of teams hanging tough, that means we can look elsewhere for value.

Southern Utah presents an intriguing option, having won and covered the spread in four of their last five, but their interior defense scares me. They're just 276th in the country in opposing two-point field goal percentage, and with four other teams in the conference ranking in the top 100 in two-point offense, I'm fearful they'll be bludgeoned inside and beaten.

Weber State is an automatic fade for me here. They're 1-9 ATS over their last 10 and aren't playing nearly well enough to be trusted despite some strong metrics across the board.

Northern Colorado has won eight of their last 11 and have the fourth-best effective field goal percentage in America. Their offense can catch fire and blow any of these teams out of the water with the eighth-ranked two-point offense and 10th-highest three-point shooting percentage in all of college basketball. They drew the easier side of the bracket as well and swept the season series against Southern Utah, who they'd potentially play in the Semifinals. At +500, they're a very strong pick.

Eastern Washington is enticing as well. The Eagles have won six of eight and have covered the spread in six of their last seven as underdogs, including winning three in a row outright. They've been on fire offensively of late, ranking in the 95th percentile in offensive rating and 99th percentile in field goal percentage over their last five. They've shown they can beat anyone in the conference, protect the basketball and shoot free throws at a high rate, so they've got the profile of a squad that can rattle off enough wins to punch a ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

I think the winner of Northern Colorado vs Eastern Washington in the quarterfinals is going to win the tournament. But they're on the same side of the bracket, so I'll look to the odds. At +1400, Eastern Washington presents much better value and actually beat Northern Colorado by nine just a few weeks ago. Give me the Eagles to make the NCAA Tournament with behind their stellar offensive play.

Pick: Eastern Washington +1400

Follow all of Joe Summers' betting picks here.