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Frontier Conference

Carroll College Fighting Saints
Helena, Montana
Head Coach: Dr. Carson Cunningham
Last Season: 2-25 (1-15)

After a nightmarish season for the Fighting Saints in 2012-2013, the question is how do you make it better. The best response I think I have ever heard to that came from first year Carroll College head coach Dr. Carson Cunningham when he told me, “Coming off a two-win season, we’re just trying to channel our inner honey badger on “D” and our inner Louis Zamperini on “O”—by being gritty and sharing the chocolate,".  Maybe they will share that chocolate as only three players averaged over 2 assist a game and none over 2.7. That honey badger that Dr. Cunningham spoke of was nowhere to be found last year as Carroll had the worst defense in the conference. With just four players returning from a year ago, perhaps new seeds bring forth new life.

Dickinson State University Blue Hawks
Dickinson, North Dakota
Head Coach: Ty Orton
Last Season: 12-18 (5-9)

Ty Ackelson along with the other four seniors will have the weight of the Blue Hawks on their shoulders this season. The Blue hawks will need to pick it on defense as they were second to last in defensive scoring last season. Coach Orton is excited about the players he has brought in and expects the Blue Hawks to grow as a team and build on last season.

Lewis-Clark State College Warriors
Lewiston, Idaho
Head Coach: Brandon Rinta
Last Season: 28-6 (11-4) Lost to Culver-Stockton (Mo.) 91-72 first round

The Warriors return just Jacob Champoux from the starting lineup of the 2012-2013 conference champions. The lack of experience my hinder any chances that Lewis-Clark might have of repeating. Unfortunately for the Warriors, they are one of the few teams in the Frontier who didn’t get better from last year.

Montana State University-Northern Lights
Havre, Montana
Head Coach: Shawn Huse
Last Season: 23-10 (10-6)

MSUN Coach Shawn Huse is hoping the Lights experience along with our new lineup pays off for MSUN once again. “We know it will take a great deal of hard work and some breaks along the way as we play a challenging schedule.” Huse said. The Light returns three regular starters and Roshawn West who scored over 10 a game off the bench. Any other year you could say that Montana State-Northern would run away with the conference with the talent they have, but this isn’t just any other year in the Frontier.

Montana Tech Orediggers
Butte, Montana
Head Coach: Pat O’Herron
Last Season: 15-15 (6-10)

Coach O’Herron said the Orediggers would be relying a lot on their three returning starters Adam Greger, Adam, Bryan Bock, and Brandon Rydberg. Greger will be especially key for Tech as he was the conference’s leading scorer averaging 18.6 points a game. The Diggers show signs of making a push in the Frontier, but so do many teams in this very strong conference.

Rocky Mountain College Battlin' Bears
Billings, Montana
Head Coach: Bill Dreikosen
Last Season: 21-13 (9-7) Lost to Lindsey Wilson 84-79 first round

The Bears finished sixth in the Frontier stands last season and upset three teams including Conference Champions Montana Western to earn an automatic bid to Kansas City for their first trip back since winning the national championship in 2009. While at the NAIA national tournament they gave Lindsey Wilson all they could handle before losing 84-79.  Rocky Mountain returns 4 starters including the team’s top two leading scorer and rebounders, Jeremy Nicolas (15.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg), and Joel Barndt (14.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg). Rocky Mountain looks to get back to Kansas City and bring another title back to Billings.

University of Great Falls Argos
Great Falls, Montana
Head Coach: Steve Silsby
Last Season: 17-14 (8-9) Lost to SAGU in quarterfinals 84-79

Great Falls looks to improve on last season with good group of returners from 2012-2013. The Argos will be led by one of the nation’s best in Marcel Towns, who averaged over 18 points a game and was number 3 in the country in steals with 3.23 a game. Towns wasn’t the only Argo clamping down on the defensive end, Great Falls as a team led the conference holding their opponents to 41 percent shooting. On the flipside the Argos ranking second to last in the Frontier in team field goal percentage.

University of Montana Western Bulldogs
Dillon, Montana
Head Coach: Steve Keller
Last Season: 24-10 (11-5)

The Bulldogs are looking for their seventeenth conference championship after coming a half game short last year. The Bulldogs are the clear favorites returning all five starters that came up just short of the school’s first ever “Fab Four” appearance. One of the many in Dillon who could give opponents fits this season is 6’8 senior second team all-American  Jake Owsley. Owsley dominated the paint last year shooting 54 percent averaging 11.8 points, pulling down 8.3 rebounds and blocking 1.6 shots a game. Bulldogs look tough and the fans at Montana Western could have a lot to celebrate this season.

Westminster College Griffins
Salt Lake City, Utah
Head Coach: Adam Hiatt
Last Season: 22-8 (9-6)

The Westminster Griffins men’s basketball has finished with at least 20 wins for each of the last three seasons at still hasn’t made it to Kansas city since 2010. The Griffins were ranked as high as #7 in the Coaches Poll after starting 21-3, but faltered down the stretch losing 5 of their last 6 games and missed going to the national tournament. Westminster returns nine players, including three from last season. The addition of sophomore transfer Quincy Bair from Utah State should help Westminster to compete for a conference championship.

Projected Standings

  1. Montana Western
  2. Rocky Mountain College
  3. Montana State University-Northern
  4. Westminster College
  5. Montana Tech
  6. Lewis-Clark State College
  7. University of Great Falls
  8. Carroll College
  9. Dickinson State