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Frontier Notebook: Frontier Conference hoops battles COVID issues

Frontier Conference Notebook

 

Last updated 12/18/2020 at 8:04am

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern freshman L'Tia Lawrence scoops a shot during last Saturday's game against Lewis-Clark State in the Armory Gymnasium. The Skylights have played former Frontier Conference rival LC State three times this season, but they haven't been able to play an official Frontier game yet. The Northern men and women are next slated to play Dec. 4-5 against Carroll College.

The Frontier Conference was already supposed to have played 20 games around the league before Christmas break. Because of the coronavirus, however, the league has played just two men's and four women's games to this point.

Yes, it's not just NCAA programs at massive campuses and in metropolitan areas that are having trouble playing games right now. It's everybody, right down to NAIA schools in Montana.

Of course, the effects of COVID-19 have been felt at Montana State University-Northern, too. The Lights and Skylights had their league openers at Rocky Mountain College, which were slated to be played back Dec. 5-6, postponed due to the covid issues at both schools. As of now, those league games have not been rescheduled, and if they're not made up, that leaves Rocky at a real disadvantage because, they would lose their two home games against the Lights and Skylights.

Northern would also be two games behind programs who were already able to make up their postponements this month, namely Carroll College and Montana Tech, which played their games this week. The Lights and Skylights aren't scheduled to play Frontier games again until Jan. 4-5 when they host Carroll College.

So the scheduling is an issue in the league right now, as the 20-game season was really condensed into a mere two full months. But again, that's life during this pandemic, and while basketball will continue to be played, more challenges are likely to occur.

Still No Fans

Back in October, when the Frontier Conference announced return to play guidelines, one that stood out the most was that there would be no fans in attendance for league sports through Dec. 31. Now, that restriction has been extended.

Last week, the Frontier announced that fan restrictions would remain in place "for the foreseeable future." The league had intended to revisit the restrictions in January, but now, the no-fan policy in the Frontier is likely to remain in place through the month of January at minimum, and that's due to the fact that, the most recent, and record-setting spike in covid has not subsided.

In Montana, the home of the Frontier, there had been 29,346 confirmed cases of covid in the state on Oct. 27. On Wednesday, there had been 74,764 confirmed cases, so as anyone can see, the virus has not slowed down as winter sports approached but, instead, has sped up, and for now that means fans will have to watch their favorite Frontier schools on the internet.

New Rankings

With the merger of NAIA Division I and Division II, there is less room in the NAIA Coaches Polls for many teams that are used to being there. In other words, votes are scarce.

But the Carroll College women have persevered. In the first regular season Women's Coaches Poll, Carroll moved all the way up from No. 20 to No. 6 after a 5-0 start. The Fighting Saints and No. 25 University of Providence, are the only two women's teams ranked in the first regular season poll.

The Providence men check in at No. 14 in the new poll. UP is the only Frontier school to have not played games yet, as the Argos did not schedule games until the spring semester.

NAIA Women's Coaches Poll

1 1 Westmont (Calif.) [12] 0-1 581

2 2 Wayland Baptist [3] 2-0 566

2 4 Campbellsville (Ky.) [6] 4-0 566

4 5 The Master's (Calif.) 1-0 522

5 6 Oklahoma City 0-0 488

6 20 Carroll (Mont.) 5-0 471

7 9 Shawnee State (Ohio) 8-0 470

8 14 Thomas More (Ky.) 6-0 461

9 3 Marian (Ind.) 9-4 423

10 10 Vanguard (Calif.) 0-0 415

11 22 Indiana Tech 9-0 405

12 16 St. Francis (Ill.) 7-1 360

13 13 Clarke (Iowa) 7-1 320

14 24 Morningside (Iowa) 7-2 319

15 12 College of the Ozarks) 0-0 312

16 7 Southeastern (Fla.) 5-2 301

17 NR MidAmerica Nazarene 7-2 299

18 NR Sterling (Kan.) 15-0 288

19 NR Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 8-1 271

20 19 Talladega (Ala.) 4-1 228

21 23 Saint Xavier (Ill.) 2-0 181

22 21 Columbia (Mo.) 2-1 176

23 18 Lyon (Ark.) 0-0 140

24 14 Bethel (Tenn.) 5-3 116

25 NR Providence (Mont.) 0-0 105

Receiving Votes: Dakota State (S.D.) 101, Indiana Wesleyan 83, Loyola (La.) 73, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 67, Midland (Neb.) 53, Grand View (Iowa) 43, Bryan (Tenn.) 42, LSU Shreveport (La.) 26, Briar Cliff (Iowa) 26, Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) 14, Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 11, Mid-America Christian (Okla.) 9, Rust (Miss.) 9, Concordia (Mich.) 8, Union (Ky.) 6, Taylor (Ind.) 4, Bushnell (Ore.) 4, Antelope Valley (Calif.) 3, Cumberlands (Ky.) 3.

NAIA Men's Coaches Poll

1 3 Indiana Wesleyan [18] 13-0 589

2 4 William Penn (Iowa) [2] 10-0 569

3 2 Mid-America Christian[1] 4-0 537

4 6 LSU Shreveport (La.) 8-0 534

5 9 Arizona Christian 6-0 504

6 1 Georgetown (Ky.) 5-1 498

7 5 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 2-0 494

8 7 Morningside (Iowa) 10-1 437

9 16 Loyola (La.) 4-0 405

10 12 Marian (Ind.) 5-1 404

11 15 Cumberlands (Ky.) 7-1 396

12 19 The Master's (Calif.) 4-0 350

13 10 John Brown (Ark.) 0-0 341

14 11 Providence (Mont.) 0-0 322

15 8 College of Idaho 1-3 312

16 NR Faulkner (Ala.) 8-0 311

17 NR Talladega (Ala.) 8-1 241

18 NR Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) 9-1 236

19 13 LSU Alexandria (La.) 7-2 216

20 NR Saint Francis (Ind.) 6-1 182

21 NR Texas A&M Texarkana 5-0 164

22 22 SAGU (Texas) 1-0 161

23 20 Xavier (La.) 2-1 115

24 NR Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 6-1 114

25 NR Bethel (Kan.) 9-3 109

Others Receiving Votes: Southeastern (Fla.) 96, Oregon Tech 89, Oklahoma Wesleyan 83, Benedictine (Kan.) 82, Carroll (Mont.) 76, Indiana Tech 60, Antelope Valley (Calif.) 56, Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) 56, Westmont (Calif.) 45, Bethel (Ind.) 30, Texas Wesleyan 28, Central Baptist (Ark.) 27, Union (Ky.) 15, Holy Cross (Ind.) 14, Valley City State (N.D.) 10, Dillard (La.) 9, Dalton State (Ga.) 7, Northwestern (Iowa) 6, Science & Arts (Okla.) 4, Evangel (Mo.) 3, Cornerstone (Mich.) 3.

 
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