CBB Review hands out awards for each conference tournament in 2023. Up next: The Big Sky Tournament.
In my Big Sky Tournament Preview, I correctly picked Montana State to win it, but I as well as 99% of the media, could not have predicted nine-seed NAU making a run to the finals. This tournament featured many exciting games, most notably NAU’s buzzer-beater three to upset 1 seed Eastern Washington, and Montana State’s 2OT thriller that came down to the very last second.
After not making the tournament for 26 years, Montana State is going to the big dance in back-to-back years, an incredible accomplishment.
CBB Review Big Sky Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Raequan Battle, Montana State
Battle, who I thought should have won conference player of the year, finally gets his flowers after a terrific tournament. He scored 17 or more in all three games of the Big Sky tournament, including 25 points in the final. Montana State will only go as far as Battle can take them, and if he keeps playing like this, he can cause some buzz in the NCAA Tournament.
CBB Review All-Big Sky Tournament First Team
- G: Raequan Battle, Montana State – 3 games played (21 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 1.0 APG, 43.0 FG%)
- G: Jalen Cone, Northern Arizona – 4 games played (19.5 PPG, 2.5 APG, 0.5 RPG, 1.0 SPG)
- F: Dillon Jones, Weber State – 2 games played (18 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 2.5 APG, 3.0 SPG)
- F: Jubrile Belo, Montana State – 3 games played (14.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.6 APG)
- F: Josh Bannan, Montana – 2 games played (14.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 3.0 APG, 54.1 FG%)
Montana State’s NCAA Tournament Prediction
Round of 64
Bracketologists are projecting Montana State as a 15 seed, which might be beneficial based on what we’ve seen over the past few years. The fear is whether they’ll be able to keep up with whoever the 2 seed may be. They weren’t running through the Big Sky, and they played Arizona in December, a potential two seed, and they lost by 21. If Raequan Battle and Jubrile Belo can play to the absolute peak, then there’s no telling how good the Bobcats can be, but it’ll definitely be an uphill climb.