When it comes to parity in college basketball, the Big Sky Conference ranks at or near the top of the list. One would have to go all the way back to 2016 to find the last time that one of the top four seeds in this year’s Big Sky basketball tournament advanced to March Madness. Montana state earned the 1-seed this season, finishing with a two-game advantage in the Big Sky basketball standings over Southern Utah. The Bobcats would certainly be a fresh face in the NCAA Tournament given that they last went back in 1996. Then again, a league full of parity means that there will be several challengers for the crown. The following contains the Big Sky Tournament bracket and schedule, as well as a preview of what we can expect to see.

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Big Sky Basketball Standings

TeamConf. RecordOverall RecordSeed
Montana State16-424-71 seed
Southern Utah14-620-102 seed
Northern Colorado13-718-143 seed
Weber State13-720-114 seed
Montana11-918-135 seed
Eastern Washington11-917-146 seed
Portland State10-1012-167 seed
Sacramento State6-1410-178 seed
Idaho6-149-219 seed
Idaho State5-157-2210 seed
Northern Arizona5-159-2211 seed

Big Sky Tournament Schedule

Dates: March 9-12
TV Schedule: ESPN+ (First Round, Quarterfinals, Semifinals); ESPNU (Championship Game)
Venue: Idaho Central Arena — Boise, ID
Byes: Top 5 receive single bye
Defending Champion: Eastern Washington

Big Sky Tournament Bracket

First Round

  • (6) Eastern Washington 78, (11) Northern Arizona 75
  • (7) Portland State 66, (10) Idaho State 52
  • (8) Sacramento State 57, (9) Idaho 54


  • (1) Montana State 83, (8) Sacramento State 61
  • (7) Portland State 77, (2) Southern Utah 65
  • (3) Northern Colorado 68, (6) Eastern Washington 67
  • (4) Weber State 68, (5) Montana 56


  • (1) Montana State 69, (4) Weber State 66
  • (3) Northern Colorado 86, (7) Portland State 79


  • (1) Montana State 87, (3) Northern Colorado 66

Montana State advances to NCAA Tournament

Credit: Montana State University Athletics

Big Sky Conference Breakdown

2022 will mark the third straight edition of the Big Sky basketball tournament being played in Boise, Idaho. After running their way to the title game a season ago, Montana State ultimately fell short. Eastern Washington proved to be too much for the Bobcats and won the Big Sky Tournament for the second time since 2015. Rather than sulk, Montana State simply got better. They are seeded first in this year’s bracket. After watching in-state rival Montana win five titles in the previous decade, MSU will seek to win its first of the current century.

The numbers certainly believe that 1-seed Montana State is positioned for success in the Big Sky basketball tournament. The Bobcats achieved the highest standing in both the College Basketball NET and KenPom efficiency ratings of any team in the conference. 2-seed Southern Utah was the next-best in both rankings, some 30 spots lower. 4-seed Weber State and 3-seed Northern Colorado were the only other schools to achieve top-200 standing in the NET.

Relative to the Big Sky basketball preseason poll, Montana State winning the regular-season title could be considered an upset. Although the Bobcats did receive one of 11 first-place votes, they were ultimately projected to finish third behind Southern Utah and Weber State. Northern Colorado and Eastern Washington, Sacramento State and Idaho also each finished two spots higher in the final Big Sky basketball standings than they were projected. Idaho State stands out as the greatest underachiever. After being picked sixth, the Bengals will open tournament play as the 10-seed.

Team Stats | 2022 Big Sky Basketball Tournament

(1) Montana State Bobcats

Net Ranking: 130 (No. 1 in Big Sky)
KenPom Overall Efficiency Ranking: 140 (No. 1 in Big Sky)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 104.1 (No. 166)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 101.6 (No. 134)
Strength of Schedule Rating: -5.97 (No. 308)

(2) Southern Utah Thunderbirds

Net Ranking: 165 (No. 2 in Big Sky)
KenPom Overall Efficiency Ranking: 160 (No. 2 in Big Sky)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 107.1 (No. 107)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 106.3 (No. 237)
Strength of Schedule Rating: -5.50 (No. 290)

(3) Northern Colorado Bears

Net Ranking: 196 (No. 4 in Big Sky)
KenPom Overall Efficiency Ranking: 207 (No. 4 in Big Sky)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 109.3 (No. 74)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 112.2 (No. 330)
Strength of Schedule Rating: -3.69 (No. 244)

(4) Weber State Wildcats

Net Ranking: 176 (No. 3 in Big Sky)
KenPom Overall Efficiency Ranking: 177 (No. 3 in Big Sky)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 104.1 (No. 164)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 104.9 (No. 205)
Strength of Schedule Rating: -5.64 (No. 297)

(5) Montana Grizzlies

Net Ranking: 220 (No. 6 in Big Sky)
KenPom Overall Efficiency Ranking: 240 (No. 6 in Big Sky)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 101.3 (No. 223)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 107.3 (No. 253)
Strength of Schedule Rating: -7.06 (No. 325)

(6) Eastern Washington Eagles

Net Ranking: 200 (No. 5 in Big Sky)
KenPom Overall Efficiency Ranking: 219 (No. 5 in Big Sky)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 104.6 (No. 153)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 108.2 (No. 271)
Strength of Schedule Rating: -4.76 (No. 273)

(7) Portland State Vikings

Net Ranking: 281 (No. 7 in Big Sky)
KenPom Overall Efficiency Ranking: 274 (No. 7 in Big Sky)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 96.9 (No. 299)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 105.7 (No. 220)
Strength of Schedule Rating: -5.69 (No. 298)

(8) Sacramento State Hornets

Net Ranking: 310 (No. 8 in Big Sky)
KenPom Overall Efficiency Ranking: 311 (No. 8 in Big Sky)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 96.3 (No. 307)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 109.4 (No. 281)
Strength of Schedule Rating: -5.25 (No. 284)

(9) Idaho Vandals

Net Ranking: 329 (No. 9 in Big Sky)
KenPom Overall Efficiency Ranking: 322 (No. 9 in Big Sky)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 100.5 (No. 239)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 114.7 (No. 347)
Strength of Schedule Rating: -3.91 (No. 252)

(10) Idaho State Bengals

Net Ranking: 342 (No. 11 in Big Sky)
KenPom Overall Efficiency Ranking: 334 (No. 10 in Big Sky)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 95.4 (No. 320)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 112.4 (No. 333)
Strength of Schedule Rating: -4.12 (No. 258)

(11) Northern Arizona Lumberjacks

Net Ranking: 337 (No. 10 in Big Sky)
KenPom Overall Efficiency Ranking: 336 (No. 11 in Big Sky)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 95.6 (No. 317)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 112.7 (No. 336)
Strength of Schedule Rating: -4.57 (No. 279)

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Henry’s passion for sports dates all the way back to childhood and has ultimately led to a full-fledged career as an analyst and content creator. After getting his start penning fantasy football articles, he forrayed into the betting side of the business in early 2019. His love for sports and statistics proved to be an ideal match with the dedicated research and strategy that handicapping requires. Henry currently specializes in betting analysis and picks for college football, college basketball and NASCAR. He counts the NFL, the WNBA, and NBA player props as additional leagues/markets of interest. Henry graduated from SUNY Buffalo in 2021 with a Communication Studies degree and a Psychology minor. A native of the Finger Lakes region in Upstate New York, he and his pup, Harold, have since relocated to Laramie, Wyoming. Thanks to his professional goals within the sports betting industry, there has been a whole lot of steam on the odds for a move to Las Vegas in 2023! Most of Henry’s free time is spent on outdoor adventures, playing chess, snowboarding, or reading a good book. He is also a competitive powerlifter and aspires to qualify for the USAPL Nationals meet within the next 2-3 years.

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