Jovan Sljivancanin

Carroll’s Jovan Sljivancanin beats the Providence defense for a layup during Saturday’s game in Helena. The Saints rallied to defeat the Argos 72-67.

HELENA -- When it comes to Frontier Conference men’s basketball, storylines are easy to come by.

Carroll gets bitten by the injury bug and still comes out on top, Montana Western took a 180 after its coach left last season and Providence seems to be inconsistent each week.

But where do these teams go from here?

There is a lot to talk about with the upcoming Frontier Conference tournament approaching and the field is taking shape.

Let’s take a look. Agree or disagree? Let me know on Twitter at @rskuhn.

1. Carroll College (23-5, 12-4 Frontier)

Carroll College bounced back after a rough few weeks with a handful of losses and dealing with the injury to Matt Wyman.

The Saints needed a big homestand, which was considered an understatement.

Carroll first blew out Montana State-Northern by 30 points and then rallied to take down Providence two days later.

After freshman Jovan Sljivancanin was inserted into the starting lineup, the team was unstoppable.

He scored 19 points and grabbed 18 rebounds on Saturday and it’ll be interesting to see what happens going forward, especially if Wyman returns.

2. Lewis-Clark State (22-6, 11-5 Frontier)

There was a time where it seemed like Carroll College was going to run away with the Frontier Conference title.

Don’t let Lewis-Clark State hear you say that.

The Warriors have won six straight games and are just one game back of the Saints in the standings.

Lewis-Clark State received some big production off the bench from Race Martin who scored 19 points against Montana Tech this past Saturday.

Of course they have two to go and a slip up against Montana State-Northern or Providence could be crucial to its momentum.

3. Rocky Mountain (18-10, 9-7 Frontier)

Rocky Mountain sure picked the perfect time to bounce back.

The Battlin’ Bears came into this weekend riding a three-game losing streak, but that ended with wins over Providence and Montana State-Northern.

Jared Samuelson set the pace with a 15-point, 14-rebound game against the Argos and then two days later came back to score 16 points against the Lights.

Samuelson has shown he can be a scorer, averaging 19 points per game, but he will need to shine this week as the Battlin’ Bears travel to Helena for the first time.

Look for the Carroll game to be a nice Frontier Conference tournament final preview.

4. Providence (17-10, 8-8 Frontier) and Montana State-Northern (16-12, 8-8 Frontier)

There was a time earlier this season that the Frontier Conference was strong top to bottom.

Oh how things can change.

Providence and Montana State-Northern were riding high with wins over Carroll and Rocky Montain just earlier this month, but a rough week derailed both teams.

Both have quality players, but the teams need to come together to finish the season strong.

Look for one of these two teams to upset Lewis-Clark State this week.

6. Montana Western (9-18, 3-13 Frontier)

Montana Western has consistently been in the bottom of the Power Rankings, but not this week.

The Bulldogs came away with their third conference win after defeating Montana Tech 70-65 on their home court.

Will this mean that they will continue winning and be this season’s Cinderella in the conference tournament? Probably not.

However, this does help the confidence for next season’s returning Montana Western players and put some smiles on the faces in Dillon.

7. Montana Tech (15-13, 5-11 Frontier)

There was a time I thought Montana Tech could really challenge Carroll for a Frontier Conference title.

I mean the Orediggers looked really good.

That hasn’t been the case since the start of the 2019 calendar year, as they are a combined 4-9.

The good news is that Taylor England had 16 points and eight rebounds in his last game.

Look for the Helena native to get some support when Carroll travels down to Butte on Thursday.

Ryan Kuhn covers Carroll College athletics for the Independent Record and 406mtsports.com. Email him at ryan.kuhn@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @rskuhn

Carroll College sports reporter

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