Southern Utah picked No. 1 in preseason Big Sky men’s hoops polls


FARMINGTON, Utah – The Big Sky Conference announced its Men’s Basketball Preseason Polls on Thursday, Oct. 21

Reigning Big Sky men’s basketball regular season champion Southern Utah was tabbed as the favorite in both polls. The Thunderbirds earned eight of 11 first-place votes among the league’s coaches and 23 of 29 top votes among voters in the media. 

Weber State was slotted second in each poll ahead of No. 3 Montana State. The Bobcats earned a first-place vote in both polls. Each poll lists the 1-6 positions the same with Montana, Northern Colorado and Idaho State following MSU. 

Montana State was picked to finish seventh in both polls heading into the first year of Danny Sprinkle‘s tenure as Bobcat head coach in 2019-20. Last year, the Bobcats were picked fourth in the media poll and sixth in the coaches’ poll before finishing the regular season in a tie for fourth place. 

The Grizzlies of Montana were picked fourth in the league by both the media and the coaches.

“The first thing that stands out is that the league is old,” UM head coach Travis DeCuire said. “You’re looking at a lot of fifth- and sixth-year players, and that’s advantageous to teams who were old last year and who brought so many guys back. The advantages are going to go to those teams this time around, and there are a lot of mature programs in our league that are more seasoned and hard to beat.”

Montana guard Robby Beasley III (5) shoots a three vs. Idaho/by Brooks Nuanez

Three of the top-four teams in the poll are teams that advanced to the semifinals of the 2021 Big Sky tournament. The other, Weber State, got knocked out by the No. 6 seed Grizzlies in the quarterfinals.

The No. 4 preseason ranking is Montana’s lowest since DeCuire’s first team was picked eighth by the coaches and fifth by the media. That year, the 2014-15 season, the Grizzlies went on to tie for the regular-season title and advance to the Big Sky championship game.

“It never really matters what anyone thinks; we all have to go out and perform,” DeCuire said. “These polls give you a sense of what other programs think of your team, and sometimes you can either look at it as respect or disrespect. With where we’re at, I’m not sure it’s either.”

Big Sky Men’s Basketball Preseason Coaches’ Poll

1. Southern Utah – 98 (8)
2. Weber State – 91 (2)
3. Montana State – 81 (1)
4. Montana – 71 
5. Northern Colorado – 68
6. Idaho State – 56
7. Portland State – 40 
8. Eastern Washington – 37
9. Northern Arizona – 28
10. Sacramento State – 25
11. Idaho – 10 

Big Sky Men’s Basketball Preseason Media Poll

1. Southern Utah – 324 (23)
2. Weber State – 290 (5)
3. Montana State – 264 (1)
4. Montana – 217
5. Northern Colorado – 212
6. Idaho State – 181
7. Eastern Washington – 142
8. Portland State – 116
9. Sacramento State – 110
10. Northern Arizona – 85
11. Idaho – 38

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