Further Review Shows Bobcats Earn Tournament Spot

By Beacon Staff

After a review of the conference tiebreaking procedures and potential tiebreaker scenarios, the Big Sky Conference has determined that Montana State has clinched a spot in the upcoming men’s basketball championship.

Montana State beat Northern Arizona 83-79 in overtime on Thursday night to move to 9-11. The Bobcats can finish as high as fourth and no lower than seventh.

Montana State closes out the regular season on Saturday at home against Sacramento State. Montana State will be making its ninth straight championship appearance.

With one day and five games remaining in the regular season, five teams have clinched berths: Montana, Weber State, North Dakota, Northern Colorado and Montana State. Southern Utah, Sacramento State, Northern Arizona and Eastern Washington remain in contention for the final two spots.

Montana (18-1) clinched at least a share of the regular-season title with a win over Sacramento State on Thursday. The Grizzlies will host next week’s championship unless: They lose to Northern Arizona, Sacramento State beats Montana State, and Weber State beats Eastern Washington. If all three of those outcomes occur, Weber State (17-2) would host the conference tournament.

North Dakota (11-8) has secured the No. 3 seed and will play the No. 6 seed in a first-round game on Thursday, March 14.

Northern Colorado (10-10) clinched a tournament berth Thursday with a win over Southern Utah. The Bears will either be the No. 4 or the No. 5 seed.

Southern Utah (8-11) is at North Dakota on Saturday. Northern Arizona (8-11) is at Montana. Sacramento State (8-11) is at Montana State. Eastern Washington (7-12) is at Weber State.

Eastern Washington can finish no higher than seventh. EWU will need to beat Weber State and get help to make the tournament.

Sacramento State can finish as high as fifth or not make the tournament. Northern Arizona can finish as high as fifth or not make the tournament. Southern Utah can finish as high as sixth or not make the tournament.

Montana has clinched the regular-season women’s championship and the right to host the conference tournament. The women’s tournament will begin on Wednesday if the men’s is also at Montana. If the men’s tournament is at Weber State, the women’s tournament will begin Thursday at Dahlberg Arena.

Montana, Northern Colorado, Eastern Washington, Idaho State, Sacramento State and Montana State have all secured bids. Southern Utah (8-11) and Northern Arizona (7-12) and are battling for the final spot. If NAU and SUU tie for seventh, Northern Arizona would win the tiebreaker based on a season sweep of the Thunderbirds.

Northern Arizona closes out its regular season at home on Saturday against Montana State, while Southern Utah plays at home against North Dakota.

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