Eastern Washington forward Tanner Groves shoots over Arizona forward Ira Lee (11) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona won 70-67. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
- The Montana State Bobcats play the Eastern Washington Eagles in the championship game of the Big Sky Tournament on Saturday (4:00 pm ET)
- The winner will receive and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament
- See the odds, spread, analysis, and best bet, below
The Big Sky Tournament title will be up for grabs when the Montana State Bobcats (13-9, 8-6 Big Sky) meet the Eastern Washington Eagles (15-7, 13-3 Big Sky). Tip-off is scheduled for 4:00pm ET at the Idaho Central Arena and the game will be televised on ESPNU.
These two teams met twice in the regular season with the Eagles taking both by double digits. Eastern Washington is favored by 8.5points in this matchup.
Montana State vs Eastern Washington Odds
|Montana State Bobcats||+8.5 (-110)||OFF||O 155 (-110)|
|Eastern Washington Eagles||-8.5 (-110)||OFF||U 155 (-110)|
Odds as of March 13th.
It took five extra minutes, but Montana State took out top-seeded Southern Utah 80-77 to reserve their spot in this game. The Bobcats were seven-point underdogs and overcame a double-digit halftime deficit to grab the win.
Eastern Washington demolished the Montana Grizzlies 78-50 to reach the title game. It was the third time this season they won and covered against Montana.
Montana State is Playing With House Money
KenPom has Montana State ranked 224th in the country at the moment. They have the 226th-most efficient offense and the 232nd-most efficient defense in the land. There aren’t many who predicted the Bobcats would still be playing at this point in the tournament but in college hoops all that’s needed is a chip and a chair. They came up big on defense in their overtime win over Southern Utah in the semifinals.
Amin coming in clutch late defensively! pic.twitter.com/GVAFmAkD7h
— Montana State Men’s Basketball (@MSUBobcatsMBB) March 13, 2021
This game was a tale of two halves. The Bobcats didn’t have the ideal start to this one; they looked sluggish offensively to begin the game but picked it up a little towards the end the first half. They went into the locker room down 10 but whatever was said at halftime worked. They looked like a different team, especially defensively, holding the Thunderbirds to just 27 second-half points which is why they are playing for the conference championship Saturday.
Eastern Washington Looks Dominant
The Eastern Washington Eagles have only lost one game since January 21st. They have the country’s 79th best offense and they run it at a 72.7 possessions per 40 minute pace which is 26th fastest in the land. They score in a variety of ways but they reached the semifinal round by scoring 77% of their points off of assists in the first round. That same offense showed up against Montana making quick work of the Grizzlies.
1st 2:48 | Jacob Groves gets the bucket off of a pretty assist from Kim Aiken Jr.!
— EWU MBB (@EWUMBB) March 13, 2021
From the opening tip Eastern Washington controlled every aspect of this game. The Eagles came out red-hot shooting 62% from the field including 83% from three-point land in the first half and never looked back. Montana was simply outmatched and trailed 44-15 at halftime which was far too big of a hole.
As good as Eastern Washington’s offense was, their defense may have been even better. They held the Grizzlies to 21% shooting from the floor in the opening half which led to the big lead. They simply coasted home in the second half with no fear of losing the game.
Best Betting Angle
These teams met twice last month and it was a bloodbath each time. Eastern Washington was 26th in the county in points per game in the regular season with 78.6 and exceed that total both times against the Bobcats. They shot over 50% in both games as Montana State was simply outclassed. Eastern Washington was short favorites in both games and even though the books have adjusted a little, this number is still too low. Look for the Eagles to roll on Saturday and earn a birth in the NCAA Tournament.
The pick: Eastern Washington -7 (-110)
John has spent the past 20+ years betting sports on a daily basis and is considered by many to be a walking sports betting encyclopedia. From obscure player props to sides and totals, if there is an angle, John will find it.