Big Sky men's basketball partners with Altitude for third straight year
'Men's basketball set to be first Bears team featured on ESPN'
OGDEN, Utah -- The Big Sky Conference men’s basketball “Game of the Week” program package will return to Altitude Sports & Entertainment for a third straight season, league and network officials announced Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Altitude will televise nine regular-season contests during the 2009-10 campaign, starting on Sunday, Jan. 3, and continuing until Sunday, Feb. 28. All Big Sky Conference teams will appear at least once during the package, with games originating from seven conference sites.
“Our television package with Altitude Sports & Entertainment has enhanced the exposure of our men’s basketball programs,’’ said Big Sky Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton. “We’re excited about this year’s schedule, which features all nine teams at least one time and seven of them appearing more than once. Because Altitude is available on DirecTV and Dish Network, we’re gaining exposure not only in our region, but across the nation.’’
Northern Colorado will twice be featured in a "Game of the Week" this year, and both games will originate from inside Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion. The Bears will first face Montana State at 2 p.m. (MT) on Sunday, Jan. 31, before coming right back the next week -- Super Bowl Sunday -- to face Northern Arizona at noon (MT).
Montana State made a surprise run to last season's Big Sky Conference championship game, but the Bears defeated the Bobcats twice during the regular season. Northern Colorado earned its largest conference road victory last year against Montana State (a 65-55 victory in Bozeman, Mont.) and then pasted the Bobcats 77-50 in in last year's final "Game of the Week."
Northern Colorado split with the Lumberjacks in 2008-09, pulling out an 81-79 victory in Greeley before falling in a 67-64 heartbreaker in Flagstaff, when NAU's Nick Larson completed a four-point play after being fouled on a three-point attempts with 22 seconds left.
At this point in the preseason, Tad Boyle's Bears are ticketed for three regional or national TV appearances during the 2009-10 regular-season, including Northern Colorado's first-ever appearance on ESPN against Hawaii on Nov. 16.
Other potential broadcast games for Northern Colorado include its game against Colorado State on Dec. 1, its contest with Oklahoma on Dec. 19 and its game against Denver on Dec. 28.
"Anytime you can get exposure for your team, that's a good thing," Bears coach Tad Boyle said. "Our program is really starting to pick up some momentum, and I'm excited that our fans, locally and nationally, will be able to watch us this year."
Eight of the nine "Game of the Week" broadcasts will be televised on Sunday, with the other broadcast coming Saturday, Feb. 20, when Sacramento State travels to Montana.
And seven of the eight Sunday games will begin at 2 p.m. (MT), while the Bears' game against Northern Arizona will start at noon (MT), so fans can return home in plenty of time to watch the Super Bowl.
And Altitude’s coverage of Big Sky basketball won’t end with the regular-season. For the third straight season, the network will televise semifinal action from the men’s championship on Tuesday, March 9, and the Big Sky Conference women’s basketball championship will be shown live on Altitude at 3 p.m. (MT) Saturday, March 13.
Altitude is available within a 10-state territory of the Rocky Mountain Region, including Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Northern New Mexico, Northeast Nevada and Southwest South Dakota. The network is also available on Dish Network (channel 410) and DirecTV (channel 681).
Altitude and the Big Sky Conference will once again work to make the feeds available to local networks in Sacramento, Calif., Flagstaff, Ariz., Cheney, Wash., and Portland Ore. Last season, Portland's Comcast Sports Net Northwest televised nearly all of the Altitude broadcasts.