The 2022-23 NCAA Basketball conference tournament season is in full swing. The following examines the upcoming Big Sky, America East, and Summit League Tournaments.
The Big Sky Conference Tournament could be more interesting than initially thought. Top-seeded Eastern Washington (22-9, 16-2) lost its last two games of the regular season, snapping an 18-game winning streak and giving the rest of the conference hope heading into the tournament. EWU’s two losses came to Idaho State and Montana State.
As a result of Eastern Washington’s recent struggles, No. 2 seed Montana State (22-9, 15-3) enters as the hottest conference team with five straight victories. Weber State is the third seed, followed by Montana, Idaho State, and Sacramento State. No. 7 Portland State faces No. 8 Northern Colorado, and No. 9 Northern Arizona takes on No. 10 Idaho to open up the conference tournament at Boise’s Idaho Central Arena on March 4.
Pick: Montana State
Montana State is playing well and is coming off a huge win against Eastern Washington this past week. The defending conference tournament champs are exper experienced club that gets after it the defensive end. The Bobcats like to control the tempo, protect the rim well, and are very good at forcing turnovers.
Offensively, Montana State shoots the ball well overall, and they do an excellent job at getting to the free-throw line. However, the Bobcats do struggle from beyond the arc.
The America East will begin its conference tournament with the quarterfinals on March 4. All games will be played on the higher team’s home court. Albany didn’t qualify for the conference postseason, as they finished ninth with a 3-13 record.
The conference tournament appears to be a two-team race between Vermont (20-10) and UMass-Lowell (24-7), who are seeded No. 1 and 2, respectively. New Hampshire is the third seed, followed by UMBC, Binghamton, Bryant, Maine, and NJIT.
Vermont has won 12 straight games and is very good at home, where they will be for the entire tournament as long as they win. The defending conference tourney champs are highly experienced.
The Catamounts are an excellent shooting team and share the ball well. They also don’t turn the ball over or foul a lot. The Cats ranked first in league play in scoring defense, allowing 65.4 points a game.
The Summit League Conference Tournament gets underway on Friday with first-round matchups, No. 8 Denver vs. No. 9 North Dakota and No. 7 Kansas City vs. No. 10 Omaha. All games occur at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Oral Roberts (27-4, 18-0) is the top seed and prohibitive favorite. South Dakota State is the No. 2 seed, North Dakota State is the third seed, followed by Western Illinois, St. Thomas, and South Dakota.
Pick: Oral Roberts
The Golden Eagles, who outscored their conference opponents by nearly 17 points, are the league’s most efficient offensive and defensive team. 2021 All-NCAA Regional Team selection Max Abmas leads the way offensively though 7-3 forward Connor Vanover and Isaac McBride are also very talented.
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