March 3, 2012
Montana does not play until Saturday night, but the outcome of the game shouldn't affect the Big Sky Conference tournament pairings. Based on the results of the league's three games Saturday afternoon, Montana and Montana State are likely to meet for the third time this season in the second quarterfinal game at Pocatello, Idaho, next Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Idaho State's Reed Gym.
The most important result Saturday was Northern Colorado's 65-50 victory over Portland State at Greeley, Colo. The win gave the Bears second place outright, the tournament's No. 2 seed and a bye to Friday's semifinal round.
And Portland State's loss allows Sacramento State to sneak in as the tournament's No. 6 seed, while the Vikings will miss their first postseason tournament since 2005.
With a loss at Northern Arizona Saturday night, Montana would finish alone in fifth and take the No. 5 seed to the tournament and face No. 4 Montana State.
With a win, the Lady Griz would finish in a three-way tie for third at 10-6 with Eastern Washington and Montana State. The Eagles lost Saturday afternoon at Idaho State, 63-58, Montana State won at Weber State, 84-55.
In the case of a Montana win at Northern Arizona, Montana State would get bumped to the No. 5 seed because the Bobcats went 0-4 against Eastern Washington and Montana.
With the Eagles and Lady Griz splitting their head-to-head meetings this season and losing to the exact same opponents (twice to Idaho State, twice to Northern Colorado, once to Portland State), their tiebreaker would come down to RPI, which wouldn't make any seedings finalized until the NCAA releases the updated index Monday morning.
Eastern Washington is No. 149 in the current RPI, Montana is No. 158. The Eagles' loss Saturday in their only game of the week came on the road at No. 74 Idaho State and won't hurt them.
Even a win tonight for the Lady Griz at No. 302 Northern Arizona -- combined with Thursday's loss at No. 199 Portland State -- will send them down the standings, not up.
Updated Big Sky standings
Idaho State ... 14-2 BSC ... 22-7
Northern Colorado ... 11-5 BSC ... 19-10
Montana State ... 10-6 BSC ... 18-10
Eastern Washington ... 10-6 BSC ... 16-13
Montana ... 9-6 BSC ... 16-12
Portland State ... 7-9 BSC ... 15-14
Sacramento State ... 7-9 BSC ... 12-17
Northern Arizona ... 3-12 BSC ... 8-20
Weber State ... 0-16 BSC ... 2-27
Likely tournament schedule
Thursday, March 8
No. 3 Eastern Washington vs. No. 6 Sacramento State, 5 p.m.
No. 4/5 Montana vs. No. 4/5 Montana State, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 9
No. 2 Northern Colorado vs. highest remaining seed, 5 p.m.
No. 1 Idaho State vs. lowest remaining seed, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 10
Championship game, 5 p.m.
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