Once again, the seeding process has held true to form for the Big Sky Conference. No. 2 Montana (21-9, 12-4) defeated No. 3 Weber State (18-12, 11-5) on March 8 to advance and face host Northern Colorado (20-10, 13-3). The No. 1-seeded Bears beat No. 4 Northern Arizona (19-12, 9-7) and will play for their first NCAA bid on their home floor. The game will be televised at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2
The Northern Colorado Bears got here in harrowing fashion, needing a late comeback to beat the Lumberjacks 73-70 in the semis. Their rock all season long has been senior guard Devon Beitzel, and he came through again with 25 points and 9 defensive rebounds. Forward Chris Kaba contributed 14 points and 2 blocked shots, and senior forward Neal Kingman kicked in 10 points.
The Bears will need that production up front as they prepare to take on Brian Qvale and the defending champion Montana Grizzlies. Qvale is a 6-foot-11, 260 lb. behemoth on the blocks, averaging 15 points and 9 rebounds per game. Most importantly, he's good for about 3 blocked shots per game, and that could turn the tide. Montana is the experienced team here, and may find a way to win in the rubber match. The Griz lost by 18 when they visited Greeley in December, but that was a long time ago.
One thing's for certain, though. The Big Sky will be sending a student wearing a bear costume to the Big Dance.
Big Sky tourney bracket
Photo: US Presswire
Posted by Eric Angevine
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