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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eagles face exciting stretch run

You wanted this, didn't you? A four-team race for first place in the Big Sky Conference, and along with it a chance to host the conference tournament.

Well, maybe not if you're Eastern, which dropped back to the pack after Saturday's loss at NAU, left the Eagles at 11-3 in the Sky and 20-7 overall. Sac State and Montana are even in the loss column and NAU is a game back, which sets things up for two weeks of drama.

As it stands, matters are out of Eastern's hands. Should the Eagles and Sac win out, the Hornets would win the tie-breaker based on a better record against the next-highest-placed teams (it's complicated), but that's a big if.

The remaining games:

EWU (11-3): Thursday vs. Montana State (4-11), Saturday vs. Montana (12-3); March 5 at Idaho St. (3-12), March 7 at Weber (6-9)

MONTANA (12-3): Thursday at Portland St (8-7), Saturday at EWU, March 7 at Montana St.

SAC STATE (12-3): Saturday at PSU, March 5 at Southern Utah (5-9), March 7 at NAU (10-4)

NAU (10-4): Thursday at North Dakota (4-11), Saturday at Northern Colorado (8-7), March 5 vs PSU, March 7 vs. Sac

As you can see, that's a lot of road games for the contenders, plus a pair of showdown games between EWU and Montana on Saturday and between Sac and NAU on the final day.

Meanwhile, Eastern is holding steady in this week's RPI, but was replaced by Sac State in this week's edition of Joe Lunardi's Bracketology report for ESPN.

Finally, Eastern's Tyler Harvey remains the national scoring leader, though his margin is razor-thin.

Jim Allen
Jim Allen joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently covers K-12 education and women's basketball.

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