There are a couple paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder that he painted in 1563: The (Great) Tower of Babel and The (Little) Tower of Babel. While one painting is larger than the other, both paintings are so grand in scale with so many minute details that you could miss something if you aren’t looking carefully enough.
College sports can kinda be like that, too. If you’re too busy admiring the mammoths of seasons Alabama and Clemson had on the gridiron this year, you could miss out on Memphis’s Darrell Henderson averaging 8.9 yards per carry and being tied for first in the country in touchdowns scored with 22.
And on the hardwood, If you spend too much time looking at perennial basketball powerhouses like Kansas, Kentucky, or Duke, then you can miss out on players like Northern Colorado’s Jordan Davis in the conference of topic for this preview, the Big Sky.
I’ll be the first to admit that the numbers for the conference as a whole are not gaudy. They’re currently ranked 27th out of 32 conferences (as per Sports Reference’s metrics) in Strength of Schedule and Simple Rating Schedule, and 25th in Win-Loss Percentage. At the top of this pile of blegh is Montana, which has dominated the conference with a 15-3 record, and a 22-7 record overall. Montana’s poised to make the NCAA tournament again after last year, which was the first time Montana got a ticket to the dance in about five years. The leader of the pack is Jamar Akoh, a forward who’s averaging 15.4 points on 58 percent shooting, along with a respectable 8.5 rebounds per game.
Right behind Akoh are Sayeed Pridgett and Ahmaad Rorie, who are both averaging over 14 points per game on 60 and 47 percent field goal shooting, respectively. It’s going be tough for the other teams in this conference to top that three headed monster, but there is a chance.
ENTER NORTHERN COLORADO AND THEIR CHAMPION.
The Northern Colorado Bears have a slightly worse record than Montana with a 20-9 overall record and a 14-4 conference record, but that did not stop them from beating Montana in Missoula, AS WELL AS having one of the most interesting players in the conference and, dare I say it, the entire country in senior guard Jordan Davis. Just to give a little bit of background, Jordan Davis is currently leading the Big Sky Conference in: Points, Points Per Game, Field Goals, Field Goal Attempts, Two Point Goals, Free Throws, Free Throw Attempts, Assist Percentage, Usage Percentage, Win Shares, Offensive Win Shares, Win Shares Per 40 Minutes, and Box Plus/Minus. Oh yeah, and Davis is averaging 23.7 points per game.
It’s going be a Herculean effort for Davis since his other teammates are all averaging less than 11 points per game, but if they’re clicking and Davis is doing his thing, the Bears have a good chance to come for the Big Sky Title. As such, my player to watch for this tournament is going to be my new god king Jordan Davis.
My prediction for this tournament is that Montana might get played tough by teams that notched wins against it in the regular season like Eastern Washington, Portland State, and Northern Colorado and its supernova of a senior guard, but that won’t stop Montana from taking the Big Sky title and subsequently getting booted out of the first round of the NCAA tournament by some bruiser ACC team.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org