Category Archives: Big Sky

Take Note: Ten Underrated Names to Watch in the Big Sky Conference in 2018-19

Sanders, Jalen
Jalen Sanders and the Northern Colorado Bears enter the 2018-19 season on the heels of their 2018 CIT Championship, and they will be looking to carry that momentum into the new campaign. (Source: Joshua Polson – The Greeley Tribune)

SARNIA, Ont. — The Big Sky Conference has undergone some big changes this off-season.

For starters, the North Dakota Fighting Hawks are now officially members of the Summit League, leaving the Big Sky Conference after the 2017-18 season. North Dakota’s departure now puts the Big Sky at 11 teams for the upcoming season.

Many of the remaining teams will also look considerably different, as star players from across the league have moved on in their careers. Whether it was due to graduation or transfer, some familiar names have left the Big Sky Conference. With that said, there are now plenty of opportunities for new players to become the faces of the conference, and there are plenty of candidates around the league.

There are still star players in the league, but the Big Sky is home to some talented players who have flown under the radar so far in their respective careers. One in particular put up massive numbers a season ago, but barely grabbed attention from the national media.

Here are 10 returning players who will be names to know this season in the Big Sky Conference.

Note: Players like Ahmaad Rorie, Jordan Davis, Tyler Hall, and Michael Oguine weren’t listed because people should be familiar with their names by now. Continue reading Take Note: Ten Underrated Names to Watch in the Big Sky Conference in 2018-19

Fans Select Fourth Annual College Court Report Player of the Year

Crandall, Geno (6)
North Dakota guard Geno Crandall was looking to keep the Player of the Year title at the University of North Dakota, while Justin Strings was looking to bring the title to Sacramento.

SARNIA, Ont. — Seven weeks ago, 96 of the nation’s top players began campaigning for your votes to become the College Court Report Player of the Year.

This past week, the final two players went head-to-head to become this year’s winner. For the third year in a row, the North Dakota Fighting Hawks were represented in the Championship, as junior Geno Crandall was looking to give the school its third straight winner.

Former North Dakota guard Quinton Hooker won the previous two Player of the Year awards.

On the flip side this week was a former conference rival of Crandall. Senior big man Justin Strings put together a stellar career for the Sacramento State Hornets, but his production flew under the radar on a national level. Given the opportunity to support their star, fans of the Hornets pushed Strings into the Championship Round.

Both players were front-runners in the challenge from the outset. Fans of the Fighting Hawks showed up once again to push their own to the Championship Round. Family and friends of Strings were the ones to spearhead a charge for the senior all throughout the challenge.

At the end of the day, only one player could come out on top. After more than 30,000 votes were cast through the online polls and on Facebook during the Championship Round, we finally have our 2017-18 College Court Report Player of the Year.

The winner is… Continue reading Fans Select Fourth Annual College Court Report Player of the Year

Eleven Under-the-Radar Freshmen That Every Fan Should Know About

Taylor, Terry
The play of freshman Terry Taylor is a big reason for the 5-3 start in conference play for Austin Peay. (Source: Austin Peay Athletics) (Header: HBCU Gameday)

LONDON, Ont. — To say the least, the 2017-18 college basketball season has been an exciting one, and we still have over two months of action left before another dreaded off-season.

Conference play is in full swing for every league across the NCAA, and the contenders are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. There have been several surprise teams, both for the better and for the worse, that have caused some shakeups in leagues that many thought were locks for particular teams this season.

With the excitement comes the plethora of emerging young talents from coast to coast. Freshmen from all across the country have emerged as potential stars with their respective programs, and have taken on starring roles in their first seasons in the NCAA.

For whatever reason, the majority of freshmen outside of the Big Seven conferences (B1G, B12, Pac-12, ACC, SEC, AAC, BEast) don’t get their fair share of attention on a national scale. Most media outlets will only focus on the biggest names and the top programs, all while turning a blind eye to players who are just as deserving. One player, in particular, ranks sixth in the nation in scoring, yet many fans don’t know his name.

That needs to change, and in a hurry.

Here are 11 freshmen that fans from coast to coast need to become familiar with, as they are poised  for big things over their collegiate careers, including one of the nation’s elite scorers who just so happens to play in the nation’s capital.
Continue reading Eleven Under-the-Radar Freshmen That Every Fan Should Know About

Michigan State Pulls Away From Southern Utah, 88-63; Number One Ranking Next?

Nick Ward was one of three Spartans to score 17 points, and Michigan State extended their winning streak to eight games with an 88-63 win over Southern Utah. (Source: Mike Carter – USA Today Sports) (Header: USA Today Sports)

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Ever since their loss at the 2017 Champions Classic to the Duke Blue Devils, the Michigan State Spartans have been on some kind of roll.

Since their loss back on November 14th, the Spartans entered Saturday riding a seven game winning streak. All of their wins have come by double digits, with their closest game coming on December 5th against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

Michigan State beat the Scarlet Knights by 10.

Inside the Breslin Center on Saturday, the Spartans welcomed the Southern Utah Thunderbirds to town, and both teams were looking to continue their winning streaks. Southern Utah came into the day riding a three-game winning streak of their own, and while they were taking on the third-ranked team in the country, they left it all on the court and made things interesting in the second half.

After the Spartans took a 12-point lead at the break, the Thunderbirds managed to get within five points on a pair of occasions before the midway point of the second half. However, the Spartans were too much to handle, and the home side pulled away down the stretch for the 88-63 win over Southern Utah. Continue reading Michigan State Pulls Away From Southern Utah, 88-63; Number One Ranking Next?

Thomas, Warriors hold off North Dakota in Stunning Fashion, 81-78

Mike Thomas scored a career-high 29 points, and Hawai’i held on in the second half for the 81-78 win over North Dakota on Sunday. (Source: KHON2)

HONOLULU — The Hawai’i Warriors staved off North Dakota, as Cortez Seales had a look at the end for the Fighting Hawks with less than a second to force overtime that fell by the wayside.

The Warriors led by as much as twenty-two in the game, and managed to close it with a 81-78 win.  Continue reading Thomas, Warriors hold off North Dakota in Stunning Fashion, 81-78

College Court Report Player of the Week: Geno Crandall, North Dakota Fighting Hawks

Geno Crandall put up a career-high 41 points in North Dakota’s opener on Friday against Troy, with 37 coming in the second half alone. (Source: Kelvin Kuo – USA Today Sports) (Header: Russ Hons – North Dakota Athletics)

CANMORE, Alta. — Last season, the North Dakota Fighting Hawks punched their first-ever ticket to the NCAA Tournament. While they fell to the Arizona Wildcats in the First Round, it was still a successful season for the program.

In the off-season, the Fighting Hawks said goodbye to several contributors from last year’s team.

Forward Drick Bernstine transferred to the Washington State Cougars, while fellow big man Carson Shanks transferred to the Loyola (IL) Ramblers. To top it all off, one of the program’s all-time greats graduated, in two-time College Court Report Player of the Year Quinton Hooker.

Coming into 2017-18, many expected junior guard Geno Crandall to take on a starring role for the Fighting Hawks. Through two games, he has lived up to the preseason billing, and even exceeded some expectations.

Simply put, North Dakota will be just fine with Crandall at the helm.

Through two games at the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, Crandall has been the go-to guy for North Dakota. He put together one of the more impressive second half performances you will see all season in the team’s opener on Friday.

After leading North Dakota to an even 1-1 record over their first two games in Hawaii, Fighting Hawks’ junior guard Geno Crandall has been named the College Court Report Player of the Week(end) for November 10 – 12, 2017! Continue reading College Court Report Player of the Week: Geno Crandall, North Dakota Fighting Hawks