HELENA — Usually, you know how a college basketball conference is going to play out.
You have contender’s teams with some upside, and then bottom dwellers.
It’s pretty typical for most conferences.
Except for the Frontier Conference.
As 2020 is rung in, the wildness of this conference is not getting any tamer.
With two weeks down, let’s see how teams are settling in, because there’s a good chance it changes week to week.
Agree or disagree? Let me know on Twitter at @rskuhn
1. Carroll College (11-5, 3-1 Frontier)
The Saints edge out Rocky Mountain to claim the top spot, most notably because of their comeback against Providence.
Carroll was looking up at a 15-point deficit at one point, and then pulled out a win during the fourth quarter.
Give this team credit for pulling it together after Hannah Dean graduated last year.
The Saints have multiple scorers and put themselves into contention for a repeat of their Frontier Conference Tournament championship.
Next up: at Rocky Mountain (1/15), vs. Montana Western (1/17)
2. Rocky Mountain (12-3, 3-1 Frontier)
Rocky Mountain could be the most dangerous team in the Frontier Conference.
The combination of Markaela Francis and Kloie Thatcher is lethal.
The Battlin’ Bears have also shown that they are willing to battle for wins.
They took down Lewis-Clark State at home 71-69 and, prior to that, defeated a much improved Montana Tech team.
Rocky returns to play on campus this week, and they should be happy that its MetroPark residency is over.
Now it’s time to take care of business at the Fortin Center.
Next up: vs. Carroll (1/15), at Montana Western (1/18)
3. Montana Western (10-5, 3-1 Frontier)
Montana Western is proving why it is the defending NAIA National Championship.
Despite losing a handful of all-conference players, including National Player of the Year Brianna King, coach Lindsay Wooley has his team ready to be in contention once again.
All five of their losses have been by less than 10 points.
This week, the Bulldogs took care of business at home, taking down Lewis-Clark State and Montana Tech.
It doesn’t get any easier this week with a road trip to Carroll, and then facing Rocky Mountain. Taking one of those two down will make a big statement.
Next up: at Carroll (1/17), vs. Rocky Mountain (1/18)
4. Providence (10-6, 1-3 Frontier)
Providence did not have a good week.
They watched a 15 point lead slip away to Carroll.
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But they played better than the other three remaining Frontier teams this week.
One bright spot was a 68-64 win over Montana State Northern in Havre, where point guard Emilee Maldonado led the way with 27 points.
The Argos have all the pieces they need to put together a run but they need to start bring consistent soon.
It’ll be interesting to see how they respond.
Next up: at Montana Tech (1/16), at Lewis-Clark State (1/18)
5. Montana State Northern (13-3, 2-2 Frontier)
Montana State Northern looked like the team to beat in December.
The Skylights were sky high as the No. 11 ranked team in the nation.
Then January came.
Northern dropped two games on its home floor last week, moving them to the middle of the back.
This is an interesting spot, because a few wins could put them right back in it.
However, another loss or two could ruin their season.
Next up: at Lewis-Clark State (1/16), at Montana Tech (1/18)
6. Lewis-Clark State (9-5, 1-3 Frontier)
Lewis-Clark State hasn’t had the best of luck on the road as of late.
The Warriors lost their last three games by six points or less.
It’s most recent loss came to Rocky Mountain 71-69 in overtime, where Abbie Johnson finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Lewis-Clark State has solid players like Johnson, forward Kiara Burlage and Payton Souvinier, but they need to show up consistently.
The Warriors’ schedule is favorable with a handful of games at home.
Maybe that’s exactly what they need.
Next up: vs. Montana State Northern (1/16), vs. Providence (1/18)
7. Montana Tech (11-5, 1-3 Frontier)
Everything looked like it was going great for Montana Tech.
Yes, it lost to Carroll big, but it won 11 out of its 12 games.
Then, Frontier Conference play resumed.
The Orediggers dropped two road games to Rocky Mountain and Montana Western by 10 points or more.
Mesa Williams has been a go-to scorer, averaging 17.3 points per game, but averaging 52.5 points per game last week as a team isn’t going to cut it.
Maybe a change of scenery back to Butte will help.
The Orediggers open up a four-game home stand on Thursday.
Next up: vs. Providence (1/16), vs. Montana State Northern (1/18)