Field set for Big Sky men’s championship

The Montana Grizzlies clinched their second straight Big Sky Conference outright championship on Saturday night, downing Northern Arizona 63-50 to finish 19-1 in conference.

Montana will play host to the Big Sky Conference championship beginning on Thursday at Dahlberg Arena. Montana as the No. 1 seed gets a bye to the semifinals, which will be played on Friday.

In first-round games on Thursday, No. 7 seed Northern Arizona (11-20) will play No. 2 seed Weber State (24-5) at 3 p.m. Mountain. At 5:30 p.m. Mountain, No. 6 seed Southern Utah (11-19) takes on  No. 3 North Dakota (15-15). Both Southern Utah and North Dakota joined the Big Sky on July 1, 2012. In the third first-round game at 8 p.m., No. 5 Northern Colorado will play No. 4 Montana State.

Montana (24-5) will play the lowest remaining seed from Thursday’s games in a semifinal.

Southern Utah, Northern Arizona and Sacramento State all finished the regular season 8-12 in conference. Southern Utah went 3-1 against Northern Arizona and Sacramento State. Northern Arizona was 2-2 against Sacramento State and Southern Utah. Sacramento State was 1-3 vs. Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. Based on those records, Southern Utah earned the No. 6 seed and Northern Arizona the No. 7 seed.

Montana State and Northern Colorado tied for fourth at 10-10. The teams split regular-season meetings. Montana State earned the No. 4 seed because of a win over No. 2 Weber State.

2013 Big Sky Men’s Basketball Championship
 First Round – March 14
(Dahlberg Arena, Missoula, Mont.)
3 p.m. – No. 7 Northern Arizona (11-20) vs. No. 2 Weber State (24-5)
5:30 p.m. – No. 6 Southern Utah (11-19) vs. No. 3 North Dakota (15-15)
8 p.m. – No. 5 Northern Colorado (12-17) vs. No. 4 Montana State (13-16)
Semifinals – March 15
5:30 p.m  – Highest Remaining Seed vs 2nd Highest Remaining Seed
8 p.m. –  Lowest Remaining Seed at No. 1 Montana (23-6)
Final – March 16
7 p.m. Mountain – Semifinal Winners (ESPNU)