(18-7, 10-2 Big Sky) (13-12, 8-4 Big Sky)
Thursday, Feb. 24, 6:05 p.m.
Worthington Arena, Bozeman, Mont.
A win Thursday night would lock up PSU’s first regular season Big Sky title and secure the right to host the Big Sky Conference Tournament March 8-9 at the Memorial Coliseum.
A win would also leave no doubt that the Vikings are the best team in the conference and would get the team back on the winning track after Saturday’s disheartening non-conference loss to Middle Tennessee State. The importance of both these things is magnified heading into the win-or-go-home conference tourney and a likely third face-off with the Bobcats.
PSU fed off a sold-out Stott Center for a 68-51 thumping in the teams’ first meeting Jan. 29, but will have no such help Thursday in Bozeman. The Bobcats were neck-and-neck with the Vikings until dropping both ends of last weekend’s road trip. They need to beat PSU and Eastern Washington and see PSU beat by Montana this weekend to hold on to their dwindling hopes of hosting the conference tournament. The Bobcats are led by a sterling group of four junior JC transfers and the league’s stingiest defense.
PSU will need to overcome both should it hope to wrap up first place and earn its first Big Sky victory ever in Bozeman.