Despite the fact that Portland State didn't win the Big Sky Conference regular season, the Vikings were treated pretty well by the NCAA Tournament selection committee. The winners of the Big Sky post-season tournament earned a No. 13 seed and a rather palatible first-round matchup with Xavier in Boise.
The Musketeers are obviously a pretty good basketball team, as evidenced by their regular season wins over Memphis, Missouri and LSU. But they struggled down the stretch, going 5-4 over their last nine regular season games, and losing in the Atlantic 10 Conference semi-finals to Temple. They are inconsistent on offense, and teams that pressure the basketball have caused them issues over the last third of the season. Portland State, who led the Big Sky in steals and turnovers forced, could take advantage of the Musketeers' lack of a great point guard.
In addition, Xavier doesn't have the NBA-quality power players up front that they've featured in years past. That's a positive for PSU, which doesn't really have much of an inside game. PSU will still be underdogs, but all things considered the Vikings and the Big Sky could not have asked for a better seed or first-round match-up. And PSU gets to play in their backyard, a driveable distance away in Boise.
Bengal Schedule Was Indeed Difficult
After all four of the post-season tournaments issued their brackets Sunday night, the true magnitude of Idaho State's schedule this past season became clear. ISU played 15 games against 13 different teams that went to post season tournaments. Six Bengal opponents went to the NCAA tournament: Mountain West champion Utah, who the Bengals beat; and BYU, Utah State, Wisconsin (a two-point winner over the Bengals), Portland State (who ISU went 1-2 against), and Arizona State.
Three Bengal opponents went to the National Invitation Tournament: Weber State (who beat ISU twice), Washington State and Kansas State. Three ISU opponents drew invitations to the College Basketball Invitational: Nevada, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Boise; and Idaho, who the Bengals defeated, will host a first-round game in the inaugural College Insider.com tournament.
It would take a good deal of research, but I can't imagine the Bengals have ever played as many games against as many post-season teams as they did this season.
And thanks for being Bengal fans -- it ain't always easy, but it's always fun.