Great Thoughts on the Great West

Carl Montgomery saves a ball from going out of bounds.

Chicago State's Carl Montgomery - here saving a ball against Northern Illinois - is second in rebounding in the Great West.

The Great West Conference is going to get into full swing tonight with a full slate of three games. (Yes, that's the most the 7-member basketball conference can have.)

Why should you care? Well, because these games might actually be close. According to Accuscore no game is less than 3 points of a spread and no team has a better than 61% chance of winning tonight.

Pomeroy of course disagrees. His stats have Utah Valley with a 91% chance of downing North Dakota at home and Texas-Pan American with an 89% chance of beating N.J.I.T.

Then there's the game I'm actually curious about. Chicago State goes on the road to Houston Baptist. The two teams are very evenly matched. Pomeroy gives the Huskies a slight edge at 57%, while Accuscore sees the Cougars as the favorites. The game is tonight at 7:35 p.m. CT.

The Cougars' first Great West game, against Utah Valley, was a grind it out, 48-43 affair in 55 possessions. The Huskies like to play a much more open style of basketball. They've played one game under 70 possessions all season.

This will be Houston Baptist's fifth home game of the season. See, while conferences like the Big East are enjoying fat-cat home dates, the Great West teams have been traversing the country playing the guarantee games that fund the programs.

Of course, Houston Baptist's one victory came at home against Farleigh Dickinson. So there's a chance the Cougars could get tripped up tonight.

Watch out for Andrew Gonzalez, the 6'6" junior forward should give Carl Montgomery fits in the post. Gonzalez averages 15.6 points per game and is the leading scorer in the conference. Montgomery is the second leading rebounder in the conference at 8.4 per game.

We'll be keeping tabs on the Great West all season.

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