Conference hoops races heat up

With only three weeks left of the regular season, the Frontier Conference basketball races are really heating up. Maybe wild and crazy is a better description. The standings and leaders seem to change after every weekend and every night of action.

In the men’s standings Lewis-Clark State, MSU-Northern and Westminster College are all tied for first place with 7-2 records.  Montana Western and the University of Great Falls (UGF) are just a game and a half out of first place at 6-5. Montana Tech is still in the hunt for a playoff spot at 5-5 while Rocky Mountain at 4-6 and Dickinson State at 3-5 still have an outside chance at the playoffs. Only Carroll College at 0-10 is out of the playoff picture.

On the women’s side, Westminster College, is unbeaten in conference play and Carroll College with only one conference loss, seem to have a firm hold on the top two places. Then it gets crazy. Northern and Tech have 6-4 records, Rocky is at 4-6, Montana Western is 4-7, Lewis-Clark State is 3-7, UGF is 2-9 and Dickinson is 1-7.

Every conference game is like a playoff game for Frontier teams with the new playoff format now in place. In the new format, only the top six teams at the end of the regular season qualify for the post-season playoffs. The new format came into play with the addition of Dickinson State making the Frontier a nine-team basketball league.

“The Athletic Directors of the Frontier Conference studied the six-team playoff format from a participatory, competitive and economical sense over a lengthy period of time, and made the recommendation to the league’s Presidents at last June’s conference meetings to institute this system of post-season competition,” conference commissioner Kent Paulson said.

With the way things are playing out during the regular season, the playoff qualifiers won’t be complete until the final weekend of regular season games. The women’s playoffs begin on Tuesday, Feb. 26 and the men’s playoffs begin on Wednesday, Feb. 27.

Playoff schedule
Women

No.1 and No. 2 seeds receive first round bye
Tuesday, Feb. 26

Quarterfinals
No. 6 at No. 3
No. 5 at No. 4
Friday, March 1

Semi-finals
Lowest remaining seed at No. 1
Highest remaining seed at No. 2
Monday, March 4

Championship
Lowest remaining seed at highest remaining seed
Men

No.1 and No. 2 seeds receive first round bye
Wednesday, Feb. 27

Quarterfinals
No. 6 at No. 3
No. 5 at No. 4
Saturday, March 2

Semi-finals
Lowest remaining seed at No. 1
Highest remaining seed at No. 2
Tuesday, March 5

Championship
Lowest remaining seed at highest remaining seed

— Frontier Conference



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