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Big Sky Tournament 2016: Bracket, schedule and scores

Weber State and Montana lead the Big Sky field into Reno where an automatic NCAA Tournament bid is at stake.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Sky Tournament tips off in Reno, Nev., this week, and this year's tournament occasion marks the first time that all 12 member clubs will convene at a neutral host site for the proceedings. No. 1 seed Weber State and No. 2 seed Montana look to battle for the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. At 23-8 (15-3 Big Sky) on the year, the Wildcats' lone conference losses came at the hands of Idaho State, North Dakota and Idaho.

As the No. 1 seed, Weber State enters the Reno Events Center with a looming target on its back. Montana and No. 3 seed Idaho hope to punch their tickets to the Big Dance at the Wildcats' expense. Montana, for its part, has become something of a tournament fixture, with three March Madness trips in the last five years. Weber State earned the conference's automatic bid in 2014, while last year's tournament champion Eastern Washington has had a middling 2015-16 season. Still, anything's possible in mid-major conference tournaments.

The Idaho Vandals were the last to beat the presumptive favorites, though at No. 206 in Ken Pomeroy's calculation, Don Verlin's crew will have to play well outside themselves to see the finals on Saturday.

The format

With 12 member teams, the Big Sky will run a miniature version of a two-sided bracket for the first time in conference history. The top four seeded clubs earned first-round byes, so half of the quarterfinals were set when the regular season ended Saturday. No. 1 Weber State won't meet No. 2 Montana until the finals then should the Wildcats and Grizzlies win their quarterfinal and semifinal matchups on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Chris Dobbertean has projected Weber State to handle the tilt outright and earn a No. 15 seed in the Big Dance.

The teams

  1. Weber State
  2. Montana
  3. Idaho
  4. Idaho State
  5. North Dakota
  6. Eastern Washington
  7. Montana State
  8. Portland State
  9. Northern Colorado
  10. Sacramento State
  11. Northern Arizona
  12. Southern Utah

Bracket

You can view the full bracket here.

Schedule and Results (all times Eastern)

Tuesday, March 8 (First Round)

Game 1: No. 8 Portland State 74, No. 9 Northern Colorado 67
Game 2: No. 5 North Dakota 85, No. 12 Southern Utah 80
Game 3: No. 10 Sacramento State 79, No. 7 Montana State 75
Game 4: No. 6 Eastern Washington vs. No. 11 Northern Arizona (11:30 p.m.)

Thursday, March 10 (Quarterfinals)

Game 5: No. 1 Weber State 78, No. 8 Portland State 74
Game 6: No. 5 North Dakota 83, No. 4 Idaho State 49
Game 7: No. 2 Montana 70, No. 10 Sacramento State 53
Game 8: No. 3 Idaho 76, No. 6 Eastern Washington 73

Friday, March 11 (Semifinals)

Game 9: No. 1 Weber State 83, No. 5 North Dakota  79 (OT)
Game 10: No. 2 Montana 81, No. 3 Idaho 72

Saturday, March 12 (Finals)

Game 11: No. 1 Weber State 62, No. 2 Montana 59

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