Opinion: Don’t pick the Big Sky at the Big Dance


The Easterner Archives

Former EWU forward Felix Von Hofe is boxed out by Georgetown University’s Bradley Hayes in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. The No. 4 seed Hoyas beat the No. 13 seed Eagles 84-74 in the game.

By Taylor Newquist, Sports Editor

Taylor Newquist is the Sports Editor for The Easterner. The opinion expressed in this article is his own and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Easterner’s editorial board.

Every year the hardest part of filling out a March Madness bracket is scouring through the list of schools and choosing the team that is inevitably going to pull off a shocking upset, busting brackets across the country.

Here’s a gimme: the team representing the Big Sky will be bounced in the first round.

Throughout this season, there hasn’t been one team in the conference that has been impressive. BSC teams finished 47-64 in their nonconference schedules. Remove games against Division II and III schools, and the conference was just 26-63 in those games.

EWU is a shining example of a Big Sky team that didn’t stack up against teams outside its conference. The Eagles finished 2-9 in nonconference play, with one of those wins coming against Corban University of the Cascade Collegiate Conference (Division II).

The BSC team with the best record is Montana at 21-7 (7-4 nonconference). The Grizzlies are the favorite to represent the conference at the Big Dance later this month, looking to enter the conference tournament as the No. 1 seed after the final two regular season games.

Last year, UM entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 14 seed and lost to University of Michigan 61-47. Don’t be fooled, the experience won’t pay dividends.

A BSC team hasn’t won a NCAA Tournament game since 2006, when the Grizzlies beat University of Nevada 87-79. Before that you have to go back to 1999 when Weber State beat University of North Carolina 76-74.

I may not be a math guy, but a combined 2-20 record in the first round of the tournament since I was born doesn’t bode well for my confidence (that’s a 9.091 win percentage for the math guys).

Everyone should fill out a bracket; it’s a great way to add some personal investment into the games, especially if you throw down a $20 bet between your friends and family. I’ll be trekking back to Yakima to continue a Thursday and Friday tradition of melding into the couch with my dad.

Enjoy the process. Drink a beer (probably two). Soak up every dunk and buzzer beater, but don’t pick a BSC team.