Montana State is the No. 5 seed and Montana the No. 6 in the Big Sky Conference men's basketball tournament, which will begin on Wednesday at Idaho Central Arena in Boise, Idaho. Seeds and the bracket were released on Saturday.
The Bobcats (11-9 overall, 8-6 Big Sky) will play fourth-seeded Idaho State in a quarterfinal game at 2 p.m. Thursday. The Bobcats and Bengals didn't play in the regular season, as their two-game series was canceled due to COVID-19. MSU started its Big Sky schedule winning its first six games of league play but enters the tournament having lost six of their past eight games.
The Grizzlies, meanwhile, have won four consecutive games to enter the postseason with a 13-12 overall record. UM is 7-9 in Big Sky play. The Griz open their tournament with a first-round game against 11th-seeded Idaho at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Montana and Idaho didn't play in the regular season after their games were canceled due to COVID-19. The winner of the Montana-Idaho game will play No. 3 Weber State in a quarterfinal game at 8 p.m. Thursday.
With the 2020 tournament being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Montana enters having won the past two league championships. The Griz won the titles in 2018 and 2019 to advance to the NCAA Tournament both years. No team has ever won the Big Sky Conference tournament three consecutive years.
Southern Utah (19-3 overall, 12-2 Big Sky) is the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament. Eastern Washington (13-7, 12-3) is the second seed, and Weber State (17-5, 12-3) is the third. The tournament begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday with a first-round game between No. 9 Sacramento State and No. 8 Northern Colorado. The semifinals are scheduled for Friday and the championship for Saturday. The full tournament schedule is below. To view the bracket, please click here.
The Big Sky has announced a limited number of fans will be allowed to attend each game of the men's and women's tournaments. Tickets for the tournament will be distributed by the 11 Big Sky institutions and cannot be purchased from the arena or the conference office.
A ticket will admit a spectator to watch only the game in which their team is competing, as this year there will not be sessions with multiple contests. The arena will be cleared after every game to allow for thorough cleaning, disinfecting, and other safety measures before fans are admitted for the next contest. All attendees must wear face coverings and physically distance from others, and seating options will be designated in blocks of no more than four with each team’s fans assigned to specific sections.
Concessions will not be available during the tournament, but each attendee will be allowed to bring in an unopened bottle of water. No other outside food or drink will be permitted, and only small clear bags will be allowed for entry. Fans will not be able to reenter after they exit the arena.
Big Sky Conference men's basketball tournament
Wednesday, March 10, first round
Game 1: No. 9 Sacramento State vs. No. 8 Northern Colorado, 9 a.m.
Game 2: No. 10 Northern Arizona vs. No. 7 Portland State, noon
Game 3: No. 11 Idaho vs. No. 6 Montana, 3 p.m.
Thursday, March 11, quarterfinals
Game 4: No. 1 Southern Utah vs. Game 1 Winner, 11 a.m.
Game 5: No. 5 Montana State vs. No. 4 Idaho State, 2 p.m.
Game 6: No. 2 Eastern Washington vs. Game 2 Winner, 5:30 p.m.
Game 7: No. 3 Weber State vs. Game 3 Winner, 8 p.m.
Friday, March 12, semifinals
Game 8: Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner, 5 p.m.
Game 9: Game 6 Winner vs. Game 7 Winner, 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 13, championship
Game 10: Game 8 Winner vs. Game 9 Winner, 6 p.m.