Here's a look at how the Frontier Conference team are doing each week:
1. No. 4 Carroll College Saints
Carroll hasn’t dropped a game and is the by far best team in the Frontier Conference at this point. The Saints have shown an ability to play multiple styles of basketball, which should lend itself to success against a variety of matchups in league play.
2. No. 11 Lewis-Clark State College
The Warriors were the big winners of the early season, knocking off Western and implementing in a bunch of new pieces to their 2017-18 iteration.
3. No. 17 Montana Western
The Bulldogs were the pick to the win the conference, and still could, but for now they’re in need of some bounceback wins. Dom Robinson has got off to a strong start and new Bulldog Brandon Jones has risen to become the team’s second leading scorer. With Frontier play looming, Western could jump up this list at anytime.
4. Montana State-Northern Lights
Northern hasn’t done much to add to its overall resume, but with Ryan Reeves as the returning defensive player of the year and some tightening-the-bolts games against Yellowstone Christian and Nueta Hidatsa College, the Lights could go on a little run.
5. University of Providence Argonauts
The Argonauts have been inactive since Dec. 8, but since other teams around them have fallen, they’ll hold the No. 5 slot for now. Early reports on transfer forward Steven Daho-Clark are he’s a good player and going to be a presence in the Frontier.
6. Rocky Mountain College Battlin’ Bears
The ups and downs of the Battlin’ Bears lands them in the No. 6 spot this week. Transfers Jared Samuelson and Latrelle Franklin have given RMC some fight so far, but a big losing spell shows Rocky still has some configuring to do.
7. Montana Tech Orediggers
Tech is still looking to build some momentum under second-year coach Adam Hiatt. Hiatt is obviously no stranger to the Frontier after coaching former conference member Westminster, but it’s still an uphill battle in year two.
Here’s a look at what the Frontier Conference is up to this week:
This week: The Saints get their strongest challenge to their sterling start with home games against Montana Western and Lewis-Clark State. Western came into Carroll and gave the Saints their worst loss last season, winning 99-85 and winning the season series 2-1. The Saints went 4-0 against Lewis-Clark State a season ago, but three of the four games were decided by a combined seven points. The Saints did dominate in the conference championship, winning 93-75.
Recently: Carroll has got off to its best start in school history. The Saints have played true road games against quality competition and brought talented programs into the PE Center for nonconference tests.
This week: The Bulldogs hit the road for a stiff test against Carroll College and then a visit to Rocky Mountain College. Western was the only team to defeat Carroll twice last year. The Bulldogs also owned a 2-1 record over the Battlin’ Bears. This week will do a lot in helping Western re-establish themselves as a team to beat in the Frontier.
Recently: The Bulldogs scheduled didn’t relax in the weeks leading up to Christmas, traveling to face quality opponents in Arizona and then taking on Dickinson State at a neutral site the weekend before Frontier play resumed.
Rocky Mountain College
This week: Rocky hosts two of the top programs in the Frontier, receiving visits from Lewis-Clark State College and Montana Western. Rocky is looking for its first conference win, and a win over either or both the Warriors and Bulldogs would do a lot to jumpstart the Battlin’ Bears.
Recently: The Battlin’ Bears went into the weekend ahead of conference play having lost five of its last six. Games against Dickinson State gave RMC a chance to recalibrate before the Frontier tilts.
University of Providence
This week: Providence takes a road trip to Havre to face MSU-Northern and then returns home to host Montana Tech. The Argonauts went 1-2 against the Lights and 2-1 against Montana Tech a season ago.
Recently: Providence had the lengthiest layoff of any Frontier team during December, playing its last game on Dec. 8 against MSU-Billings. Whether that hiatus helps or hurts the Argonauts will make itself clear very fast in a difficult Frontier Conference schedule.
This week: After hosting Providence on Tuesday, the Lights will take a trip down South to Butte and take on Montana Tech. Northern went 2-1 against Great Falls a year ago and swept Tech. This week could give the Lights a chance to get off to a strong start in the resumption of conference games.
Recently: Northern did play four games during the pause of Frontier games, facing Yellowstone Christian, Nueta Hidatsa College and twice playing Concordia U of Edmonton. How that helps the Lights in the long run remains to be seen.
Lewis-Clark State College
This week: Lewis-Clark State College gets to test itself on the road against Rocky Mountain College and the best in the conference, Carroll College. The matchups told different stories for the Warriors last season. LCSC fared well against Rocky, posting a 2-1 record, but went 0-4 against the Saints.
Recently: The Warriors scheduled four games during nonconference play between Frontier action. The Warriors faced Walla Walla, Salish Kootenai College twice and Spokane Club.
This week: Montana Tech hosts Montana-State Northern and Providence, looking to earn conference wins and begin climbing out of the cellar of the Frontier. Great Falls was the only team the Orediggers defeated in conference a season ago.
Recently: The Orediggers surpassed their win total from a year ago thanks to a pair of wins over Concordia University. Tech played Salish Kootenai and Concordia during the nonconference slate.