January 30, 2010

Men's basketball eyes Bobcat bounce back

Northern Colorado notes | Big Sky Conference notes | Montana State notes

GREELEY, Colo. -- Northern Colorado and Montana State are possibly the two biggest surprises in Big Sky Conference men's basketball this season, but both teams enter this week's "Game of the Week" licking their wounds.

The Bears (17-5, 6-3 Big Sky) lost for the first time at home Thursday night when Montana came into Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion and escaped with a 64-62 victory. The Bobcats (11-9, 6-3) traveled to snowy Flagstaff, Ariz., and got punched in the mouth in the form of a 71-58 defeat against Northern Arizona.

Now, both teams enter Sunday's afternoon tilt in need of a victory to keep pace with league-leading Weber State, which moved to 8-1 in league play with a convincing victory against Sacramento State on Friday night.

This will be the 47th meeting all-time between the Bears and the Bobcats, dating back to the teams' Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference days. Northern Colorado is just 9-20 against Montana State in Greeley and hasn't won back-to-back home games against MSU since the 1952 season.

The Bears have won three of the teams' last four meetings, though.

The game was picked by the league in the preseason as a marquee event, and both teams' play so far has justified that pick. The events of this past week, though, give the game even more magnitude.

Sunday, Jan. 31
Tip: 2:06 p.m. (MT)
Location: Greeley, Colo.
Venue: Butler-Hancock (2,977)
Radio: 1310 KFKA (Greeley)
Play-by-play: Troy Coverdale
Web stream: 1310kfka.com
Television: Altitude
Play-by-play: Blake Olson
Analyst: Mark Randall
Sideline: Julie Browman
Live stats: www.uncbears.com

Northern Colorado and Montana State will meet Sunday in the Big Sky’s “Game of the Week” on Altitude. This is the Bears’ first Altitude appearance since thrashing MSU 77-50 last season.

Northern Colorado has faced Montana State more times (46) than any other Big Sky team. The Bears are just 14-32 against the Bobcats all-time but have won three of the last four meetings.

Tad Boyle (48-63) is in his fourth year with Northern Colorado and fourth year overall as a head coach. Brad Huse (51-60) is in his fourth year at Montana State and fourth year overall.