As far as last game's go, I couldn't ask for much better than Montana State in the playoffs and the students sitting courtside again. Let's hope it goes a little better than my last football game.
This team has the potential, they have the players and now it comes down to putting things together and getting everything out of everyone, including Coach Tinkle. If I were him, here's what I'd have for everyone.
- Jordan Hasquet, you announced your presence in this league with a dominant performance in this tournament your freshman year. Bring it back. Don't be selfish but leave your mark in the minds of the fans who get to see you one last time.
- Jack McGillis, there was a lot of hype surrounding you heading into the season. In the minds of some, it hasn't quite been what some expected. Show the leadership, passion and athleticism that's come to be expected.
- Anthony Johnson, don't be afraid to look for your shot. Continue to be aggressive, take it to the hoop while keeping the D honest with the midrange dagger. Get on the guys and keep them going, If necessary, throw the team in a backpack and carry them for stretches. You know winning isn't acceptable so don't let it happen. Bring that Kobe/MJ mentality. When you're at the off-guard, cut it loose.
- Ceylon Elgin-Taylor, it's your last game at Dahlberg as well. You're the senior point guard. Take advantage of your minutes as the floor general. Go out there and be the creator, drop dimes like rappers pick them up.
- Kyle Sharp, you've stuck it out and followed your role for four years. Cam, Graves, Dave and Stu are gone while you've keyed in and been great this year. Continue to be aggressive, busting your ass for rebounds and banging your way to some points.
- Brian Qvale, dunk the damn basketball. Seriously. Get mean, get pissed. You're huge. You try to play with Andrew Strait's game, but he's like 6'8". Overpower people, don't kiss it off the glass. I want to see a earth-moving leg-kicking Oden-like beast of a dunk from you today.
- Derek Selvig, just have fun. Play with confidence, relax. Get rebounds but don't worry about playing the big man's game. You're athletic and you know it. Knock down the outside shot if it's there. You did it in high school now have the attitude to do it here.
- Ryan Staudacher, you're the marksman so knock it down when it's there. We need you to be the run-stopper and starter. Hustle off the screens and drill the shots with even when there's someone in your face.
- Michael Taylor, same deal. You know when it's there and you know when it's not. You know when you're feeling it and when you can drill a trey early in the shot clock. Just keeping doing your thing and taking advantage of opportunities when they're there.
- Vassy Banny, you kick ass. Seriously, you're Rodman. You're the spark off the bench. You play with your hair on fire. You better get some minutes tonight and against teams in the coming rounds.
- Tyler Hurley, have fun man. If you get in there play your ass off and cherish it. We'll go wild if you're in there.
The Griz go for five in a row to stay in the thick of the conference race. The Cats try to pick up a game in the standings to pull even with the Griz. It's Montana, Montana State and all the Phil Buck you can handle. Awesome.
- I think the camera is out of focus. Or really poor quality. Maybe both. 2-0 Griz two minutes in.
- First AJ mid-range hanging dagger of the game. Kind of want to see him back at the off-guard, or at least taking more shots. He could be a Steph Curry type of point guard.
- 8-7 now, 15 minutes left. Why the hell do they not have both Griz-Cat games while the students are back? It's pretty damn ridiculous.
- A lot of empty seats at the ends. Big Sky basketball or people not being allowed to sit there? I don't know.
- McGillis playing hard early. Good to see. Once the winning starts it seems as though everyone starts to find their roles/not compete for shots. Kind of a chicken and the egg type situation though. 11-9, 13:30 left. And he just blocked some kid hard. It didn't even leave is hand. Two blocks so far.
- CET checks in, AJ to the off guard. Misses a three. If he adds that to is game next year he may average 25+ in this conference.
- Why don't they have Mick just do both TV and radio? Is there some kind of conflict I'm missing? I know it happens in other sports.
- These games are much better on Big Sky TV. But I don't think it's working and I'd rather not listen to Montana State's broadcasters.
- Now 17-17 with 7:24 left. Phil Buck stressing almost every word. Let's see if the radio is synced. It's not.
- Now it's at 24-18 after a three by Hasquet. Well, 24-21 after a Cat three. It'd be nice to push this to the 7-10 range. Now a three by Staudacher.
- Anthony Johnson kind of flops/gets fouled. Have you ever seen him get shaken up or upset over a call?
- 31-26 after AJ drives baseline and lays it in.
- CET also showing some offensive prowess as he picks up an old-school three pointer.
- 36-30 at half.
- Griz now up nine. Keep pushing it.
- Just discussed the whole possession arrow concept with a friend. Why is that still in college basketball?
- Lead still at nine. Same score actually. 17:22 left.
- McGillis makes a three and now it's a ten point lead. I know I missed a score. McGillis having a big game.
- Michael Taylor looks exactly like someone I despise. But he's cool though. Michael Taylor. Not the other kid.
- 43-37 after AJ jumps and makes an ill-advised pass that leads to a dunk.
- These games on TV always seems dull. It could be that every play is called like it was extremely important so nothing stands out.
- "SPLASH" Kyle Sharp nails a three at the end of the shot clock. 46-37.
- Griz need to pull away a little. We don't need to have this be in question coming down the stretch. I'm a little more confident in this team pulling out close wins but why do it if you don't need to? We need this win on the road bad.
- That may be the first time I've seen Byran Qvale dunk a basketball in a game.
- 50-46 now with 9:20 left. This is far too close. Kind of a sloppy game.
- Wow, Ceylon Elgin-Taylor showing some game. Watch out.
- Champ looks ridiculous.
- Anthony Johnson's mid range fadeaway is unbelievable. Why wasn't he starting earlier in the season. Not gonna lie, I kind of called this.
- Another one from AJ. Phil Buck says "string music."
- Staudacher fouled out. 58-51 Griz.
- Jesus. Anthony Johnson just made a circus reverse shot, after a bump. Yeah, give him all three.
- Ceylon to Anthony on a fast break and now the lead is 11 with 3:30 to play. Cats make a three but it's still uphill for them.
- Griz break the press on Hasquet's quarterback pass but Mcgillis gets fouled hard going up for a dunk. This is about over. Makes one, Griz get the rebound and now Anthony Johnson is going to the line after a block. These are almost automatic. Yep. 68-57.
- Well, Cats then dunk over McGillis.
- Back to 11 on Hasquet free throws. We've gotten pretty decent at icing games. Howard airballs a three. Let's wrap this up.
- Griz fans holding up keys signifying "warm up the bus." This is a home game for the Cats. There is no bus.
- The end of the game was far too long.
- Griz win 78-63. Another double digit victory over the Cats. Five in a row and still in second place.
It's been a long time since the Griz won a game like this. Over the past two seasons, the Griz have slipped from one of the conference's best teams, then to just a contender and finally to a mediocre squad stuck to the middle of the pack. With last night's 72-65 win over Portland State, a team some thought would go undefeated in conference play, the Griz may once again be one of the conference's elite.
A team that often times lacks intensity and heart finally showed the characteristics a decent team should.
Here's what Vikings coach Ken Bone had to say about the game, from the grizzlyjournal:
“They (Montana) hit some big shots, hit some big threes and... the crowd got into it, and I thought they just did a nice job of executing plays down the stretch and making baskets and we didn’t,” said Portland State Coach Ken Bone.
“I thought our guys played hard, but Montana just deserved to win,” said Bone.
It's odd hearing that quote coming from someone other than Wayne Tinkle. Rarely do we hit the big shots, make stops and end up being the team that deserved to win.
Here's Tinkle and AJ commenting on the team's character, which is no longer acidic and cancerous. From The Missoulian:
“I just think it says a lot about our character,” said Montana coach Wayne Tinkle, whose Griz had been outscored by the Vikings 180-101 in their previous two meetings. “It was a team that had stepped on us the last couple of times we played them. We challenged our guys to respond and show a little bit of Grizzly pride.”
“It's chemistry,” Johnson said. “We talk about potential a lot of the time. That's been the knock on us, when is our potential going to be realized. I think we saw it today, what we can do when we're firing on all cylinders. The chemistry was at a high.”
In conclusion, this victory and what it means for this program is almost bitter sweet. On the positive side, this was a much-needed win, one that thrusts this team and program back into the conference race. But when did beating a conference opponent constitute a signature victory? These are teams we're supposed to, at the very least, split the season series with and now it feels like a legit upset. I hope the next time we beat PSU, preferably in the tournament, it doesn't have close to the same feel.
Photo credit: Jerek Wolcott for Montanagrizzlies.com
- We have our first ill advised Jordan Hasquet three point attempt of the game.
- But still, this isn't that bad so far. 3-0 Griz 90 seconds in. So, these announces are far better than the Idaho State crew, no ridiculously huge bias so far.
- Really slow start for WSU. We also have our first AJ fadeaway dagger. Put that on the list of things worth 1 drink in the Griz Hoops Drinking Game.
- So WSU cuts the audio during breaks. Somewhat smart, but not entertaining.
- Weber State looks horrible. We're up 9-2 early. Getting plenty of opportunities for open shots but they're not falling. If they do we could end this.
- We've missed at least five three pointers so far. Depending on that a lot too much. There's another one.
- And like that, on back-to-back threes, it's 9-8. No, 11-8. McGillis has 7. I'm somewhat shocked.
- 11-10 Griz, 11 left. Hasquet is struggling a bit early. Despite the lead, shots really aren't falling for the Griz. Missing lots of open looks. Sloppy ball all around.
- Griz are now trailing 12-11.
- Here's the thing. Selvig loves to play some Dirk ball but plays center in the practices I've seen. It's probably been since high school, almost two years, since he's played that kind of ball.
- I'm watching the game with someone who doesn't understand/like sports. For those of you who've done this, you know it's bad. They resort to making fun of the whole situation. Annoying.
- Time for AJ to take over. Starts with him trying to get to the rack, gets the call, nice.
- I'm not sure Jordan Hasquet has made a shot yet.
- You can usually tell when Anthony Johnson is about to turn it on. He was right before picking up his second foul. When the team is down more than they should be, he puts it on him.
- If you were doing a drink for every three point miss from Jordan, you'd be about two beers in.
- After a McGillis trey, it's 24-19 with 4:00 left. Great game from Jack so far.
- Stockton is looking really shaky filling in for AJ at the point. It'll be interesting to see how things play out once CET gets back.
- Half ends with a AJ turnover and Weber dunk.
- Okay, I hate this in college hoops, but with a guy like Anthony Johnson why not just put everyone on the baseline? Is there anyone in this conference who can stop one-on-one him even three times out of ten?
- 32-23 Weber at halftime. If this creeps into double digits I'm going to be upset. We'll see how we respond. It'll be Hasquet threes and McGillis fadeaways or penetration by Anthony Johnson. I vote for the last option, opens things up for everyone else.
- If we lose this game, we're 3-3 in conference.
- It's chili time.
- The lead is 11 after a couple free throws. Second half starts a little like the first. Pretty sloppy. It's now 14. Timeout and a technical. Keep it up Wayne.
- This needs to go under 15 quick. Yeah, I'm looking at you Anthony. The announcer said he's a "guy who looks for his own shot most of the time." Nay.
- Staudacher is getting a lot of wide open looks. And missing them. He's ice cold.
- 38-25. 16:25. No hill for a climber. Right?
- And we let the shot clock expire. AWESOME.
- 39-27 as the annoucer says "I'm not sure how they beat Montana State, other than that the game was in Missoula." We're that team, the team that surprises people when we beat mediocre teams.
- Here's a hypothetical. Say Wayne Tinkle picks up his second technical only to have the Griz storm back and win with him watching in the locker room. What are his odds of coaching here next season?
- 42-27. 13:24 left.
- Anthony Johnson has three fouls. You have to leave him in.
- AJ gives up a one-on-one chance at the hoop to have Staudacher fake a three then get a closer jumpshot swatted. Well, then he makes one. Now we're only down 14.
- Lead is back to 16 on a pair of free throws. 49-32. 11:30 left.
- 48-36 after three by Stads. 10:30 left.
- McGillis picks up his fourth foul because he didn't box out. 53-40 with 9:25 left.
- Why the f*ck did Kyle Sharp take a three? The lead is now 15 after a turnover by Anthony Johnson. YEA GRIZ.
- Anthony Johnson made a long two to have Weber make a three. 58-42 with 6:46 left.
- We're going to lose by twenty. Probably. The lead is now 17. Nope, 19.
- The lead is 11 after an AJ three. Please, don't tease. Gave up an offensive rebound, let the other team wind down the shot clock then fouled. They made both. That's the Griz basketball I know.
- Final score is 71-55.
- People can argue all they want about whether it's coaching, talent or whatever but one thing is for sure: this team is very very bad. They don't play with any heart. They either win or get beat by double figures because most games, they just don't give a shit.
- It's getting to the point where something really drastic needs to be done.
- "He raped the arm with his arm." Actual call from your Idaho State radio guys. Yea, just put Mick on whenever the Griz are playing. Are there more than ten Bengal fans watching this game? Is their guy half as good as Mick? I don't think so.
- So far, Anthony Johnson is not getting the calls he gets at home. Not that surprising but some of them are pretty blatant. He got mauled on a "block" early.
- In low resolution (Big Sky Tv) Matt Stucki looks just like Michael Cera.
- No one complains about calls like Idaho State fans. Idaho State broadcasters are close, but the fans win.
- Hasquet should have a limit on his three-point attempts. Two per half, maybe. Never on back-to-back possessions.
- I should probably drop in a score. 12-9 Bengals at the moment. There's no ticker and no word from the broadcasters on time.
- Just realized Coach Tinkle is on the frontside of the quarter. Watch him for a couple possessions. For some reason it's extra hysterical when you can just see a giant black shadow.
- 17-12 now. Probably around 11:00 left.
- Michael Taylor's going to get more and more minutes as time goes in. Can he play point while we cut AJ loose? Or maybe he's the three threat you don't get from AJ.
- Anthony Johnson is just getting mauled on some plays. Maybe the refs saw how much he was going to the line and decided to make a point out of making sure every time he went it was for something legit. But this is kind of odd. Oh well.
- 26-22 with 2:15 left.
- 33-26 at half. Kind of a sloppy end to the period.
- We have to win this. It's Idaho State. Maybe it's my disrespect for their fans, but a loss here is completely unacceptable. Lets do this.
- No, they don't take halftime off on Big Sky TV. Unfortunately.
- Okay, so AJ isn't doing great up to this point. Focusing a little more on distributing because he's not getting the calls going at the rack. However, anyone else find it somewhat incredible we actually have someone the opposing team needs to key in on because if he doesn't, he's gonna drop 25?
- Refs are kind of clogging this whole thing up. Not for one team in particular.
- Griz down 7 after cutting it from 9. Just let AJ take over. Iso that up.
- Yeah. Three point play from AJ.
- 41-33 about four minutes in. Come on Griz.
- Okay. I just noticed this. Forgive me. They call Austin Kilpatrick 'AK-47.' He's number 23.
- Sharpie with a board, putback and going to the line. Forced in part by AJ driving to the rack. Seriously, someone buy a Witness shirt so I can wear one without feeling creepy.
- That was a bad charge. But here we go "That was a HORRIBLE CALL."..."I have to give Anthony Johnson a acting award for that."..."There's nothing borderline about that!" They're yelling so loud the audio is actually muffled. Imagine Mick doing that. Seriously. Just try.
- 45-44 Bengals. 12:00 left.
- Anthony Johnson is our Kobe. Unstoppable. 11 in this half.
- 48-45 now. 10:43 left. Now pull away Grizzlies.
- Wow. They call 'illegal dribbling' on AJ. Hmmm. Do what you have to I guess.
- 7:10 to go. Bengals up 4 and going to the line.
- 60-54 with about 6:00 left as Stockton is getting some big crunchtime minutes.
- Alright. Audio is going off. Can't really put up with this.
- Griz really choking down the stretch with a travel on Jordan.
- Jordan coughs it up. Lead is 13. Now 14.
- Now AJ turns it over in the backcourt. Well done guys.
- Three point shooting has been very inconsistent. But what can you do? We're an inconsistent team.
- AJ should've finished but that was a back court violation.
- Griz cut it to 9 before the guy with the hideous and oh-so-original mohawk makes a jumper in the corner.
- Final score: 77-67
- Well, that sucked. Things really went downhill after the "illegal dribbling" call. I get a feeling Anthony Johnson isn't going to get a whole lot of slack on the road, not that he needed any for a hesitation dribble.
- We should've won this. We'll get them at home. Face them in the playoffs. Same crap. God I hate this team.
- A win today would've put the Grizzlies in first place. You had to figure they were going to lost. So, yeah, that's right, we get Weber after a loss. They'll be ready to go.
When the Griz went down big early, like they have frequently before, I was already beginning to conjure up titles for this post. Griz are not one of Big Sky's elite stood out more than other options. This team had already gotten trounced by Portland State and looked like it was going to roll over just the same against NAU, who took those Vikings quadruple to (!!) overtime on Sunday.
It's too often that they go down early. Just as frequently, they make a run to get in the game but can't quite get all the way back. Honestly, how rare is it that Griz radio guy Mick Holien doesn't say "no hill for a climber" during a broadcast? For the first time since I can remember, the Griz actually climbed that hill.
The reason? Anthony Johnson picked up this half-assed team and threw them over his shoulder, scoring 32 after dropping 31 on Montana State. Like Tebow in last night's National Championship game, he simply said "there's no effing way we're losing this game," hitting mid-range jumpers and putting himself on the line. In the process, he fired up others, forcing them to bring their game to where he was. McGillis' late no-hesitation 3-point dagger is a prime example.
But why this game? Why did wait until now to show the potential and resilience of a decent team? Glenn Junkert of grizzlyjournal has a quote from Coach Tinkle on the rally:
“But, our rally at halftime was... let’s throw caution to the wind, in not so many words. And our guys responded. It was nice to fight all that way, and get over the top and pull out the win. So many times we’ve fought, fought, fought, fell up short. It was great. And I think that’s what you saw as the horn went off, was the excitement of coming from that much of a deficit and closing it out.”
This team played loose, they played with confidence. They looked like they were having fun. Who knew that was possible? It'll be interesting to see if they take this approach with the offense, possibly moving Johnson back to the off-guard and cutting him loose while CET or Stockton man the point.
I thought these Grizzlies had turned the corner once this season with a win over Texas-Arlington, but that wasn't the case. Maybe this win is finally it, maybe this is a major turning point for this team and Coach Tinkle. Maybe not. But we have Sac State on Saturday. I don't know what the single game scoring record is, but someone may want to check.
While the jail roster appears to be a little off, it looks like that's the case. Maybe another news source has already covered it but I was tipped off today and decided to check the jail releases. Here's what was found:
This is never good news, especially for CET. With AJ getting more and more minutes at the point it'll be interesting to see how he works himself back into the rotation once he comes back from a probable suspension.
It's been a while since the Griz won a game like this.
Kyle Sharp pumped his fist as the clock clicked to 0.0, celebrating the block of a last-second putback attempt. The bench streamed onto the court, high-fives aplenty after they spent the past 90 seconds bouncing around, attempting to bring the relatively few people in Dahlberg to their feet for the final crucial possessions. It was a character game, showing this team may have the heart to do something to be proud of this season.
Players are beginning to find their roles and you can see Tinkle getting a handle on exactly what those are. We're beginning to find a rotation, lineups that work best together and others that do not. Most importantly, this team played its collective ass off.
The guys showed more effort tonight than any other game I can remember under Tinkle's tenure. Guys were taking charges, throwing themselves around for loose balls and pushing the tempo when it was fitting. We're beginning to see the character of a few guys oozing onto the play of others. Jack had a great block and a sneaky steal from the weakside a la Jordan on Malone in the '98 Finals that inspired the play of others. And how many times did you see the second half of that highlight from Anthony Johnson's deadly midrange game? We've certainly found something in this kid.
This can, and probably eventually will, be spread into its own post but Johnson's already large impact on this team is growing game-by-game. Six turnovers is nothing to write home about but he's emerging as one of the team's best leaders and a fan-favorite who's positive attitude is spreading. In the second half, Johnson entered the game with 14:28 to play and the Griz down 37-43. With 6:22 left they were up 56-49, a 13-point swing. I'll acknowledge there were other factors at play but the team played noticeably harder during this stretch.
More than any other time, the last possession spoke the most about this team. You'd prefer not to have the opponent get three shots at the tie but that was a flukey situation around the rim, including one shot that hit the front rim and then clocked Jordo in the face. The Griz played tough D for the length of the 30 second possession, didn't commit a dumb foul and made sure there was no way in hell that ball was going in, no matter how many shots they had to defend. The bench was into it, everyone wanted this bad.
This team finally showed the emotion and heart it takes to be a great team. Now, onto the road we go. Up next is a road trip that includes the University of Washington and Portland State. We'll get to see if last night was was just an exception or the beginning of something good. I think it's the latter but I'll need some convincing.
Here's a short video on Griz guard Anthony Johnson, done for a journalism class here at the U.
The Montana Grizzlies won a game they were supposed to win tonight, with a 83-63 handling of the North Dakota Fighting Sioux. There's a lot to gain from this game. You blow them out and that's what's expected, it's close and you look bad, you lose and it's horrific.
I didn't talk to as many guys as I wanted to tonight but jumped in a little ways into the postgame presser with Coach Tinkle and got a couple quick questions in with Anthony Johnson. Enjoy.
Yea, the song is in about 95 other Youtube sports videos but these are still pretty damn cool.
Like the past two years, hopes and expectations were high going into this basketball season. But unlike last year and the year before that, the Griz were supposed meet those expectations. Tinkle gave the team a new attitude, the cancerous players were gone and we had depth and skill at every position. What a joke that was.
In one game, all the optimism I had for this supposedly changed team has been completely erased. Sure there may be more talent but it's the same damn team. Same slow start, same poor shooting, same lackadaisical defense, same shoddy rebounding and the same ability to roll over at the first sign of resistance.
This team is every bit as heartless as the squad that got destroyed by Portland State on Senior Night. Where's the leadership and fire we were supposed to see? Jesus, McGillis got his first field goal more than halfway through the second half, with the Griz down somewhere around 25. Hasquet goes 3 for 11 from the field and 0 for 4 from the line.
You feel like you have to blame someone but it's tough to know where to look when there were absolutely no positives to draw from this. Why even get on the bus guys? There's not much more to say than it's about time this program got it's act together. Recruit all you want but there's no difference between a good recruit and a bad one when neither shows up on game night. Teams across the Big Sky Conference are smirking tonight. If I were them, I would be too.
The notion that this would be the team that brings Montana basketball back to a state of prominence was cute while it lasted. Well, there is the fact that hardly anyone here follows Griz basketball at this point so maybe no one at home will hear about the drubbing and we'll still get the same terrible crowd down at Dahlberg for when we barely beat Western. Games like this—which are becoming all too frequent—make me wish I wasn't one of the few people who invest so much in Griz basketball.
Tinkle's impressive recruiting continues with the signings of Eric Hutchison and Thurman Woods. Here's some information on the pair from montanagrizzlies.com.
Eric Hutchison, a 6-9, 215-pound post player from Mark Morris High School in Longview, Wash., and 6-5, 190-pound forward Thurman Woods from Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif., will join the Grizzlies next season.
Hutchison averaged 10.3 points and 8.7 rebounds last year as a junior and shot 58 percent from the field and 72% from the line. He was a first team all-state selection.
"We are very excited to have Eric join our program," said Tinkle. "We identified him a couple of years ago in the recruiting process as our kind of post player. He is a big guy with athleticism. What I really like about him is his motor. For a big man he really plays with a lot of emotion and intensity. He comes from an outstanding high school program at Mark Morris, and we know he has been taught great fundamentals. I think he will remind people of some of our good post players from the past."
Last season Woods averaged 12.0 points and 8.0 rebounds for a 30-3 Dominguez Hills team which was ranked 11th in the country, and lost in the C.I.F. championship game.
Woods said he chose the Griz over a host of schools that included Montana State, Fresno State, Cal State Northridge, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Oregon State, Stanford, Columbia, UMass and Boston University.
"We are equally as excited to have somebody with Thurman’s athleticism and skill to join our program," Tinkle said. "He comes from one of the top high school programs in the nation. When we were initially recruiting him we thought he might be a notch above, as far as a player who we could get, but he fell in love with Missoula and felt like it would be the best place for him. He will really add a high level of athleticism to our wing position."
Now, let's start winning games. The recruiting is great but this has shades of Notre Dame football. Like Tinkle, Weis is pulling in solid recruits, but neither has reached the level of winning deemed acceptable at their respective programs. Both have plenty of time to get it done though.
Nope. Not happening. You will not find me at Dahlberg Arena when the most talented Lady Griz team in years tips off against the Wyoming Cowgirls. You know why? Because the athletic department—or someone, it doesn't matter—decided to schedule distribution for Cat-Griz on the same day. Well done.
Here's the deal, Cat-Griz tickets don't go on sale until 6:00 pm on Sunday at the UC. But the doors open at 9 and most people will be standing in there all day. The Lady Griz game is at 2:00, right in the middle of the whole thing. I would complain about the game being played in the middle of the afternoon—these ladies deserve a primetime opener—but the game was set before the ticket distribution. To be honest, I like our women's basketball team more than the football team. I don't know why—maybe it's the lack of thugs, great visible leadership, playing at a higher level and as respectable a coach as you can find in the country—but I enjoy cheering for the Lady Griz more than I do our football team. Despite that, I'm not going to missing Cat-Griz. Come on.
You can look at this as just me complaining but Mandy, Sonya & Co. will have next to no students at their home opener. That's pretty damn unfair. Ask the fellas what a rowdy home-opener is like. Getting back to the point, this is unacceptable and idiotic. Can we honestly take half a second to think about pulling all the student sports fans away from our school's best team for their first home game? Jesus that's brainless.
The solution? Ummm.... don't freakin do that. Sell the tickets at night, make kids camp out. Oh the faculty doesn't want kids to miss class? I don't care. That's the student's choice. Make your class not suck. This happens at schools across the country. Gonzaga students after wait hours (twice: once for tickets, once to get in) for every one of their basketball games.
Better idea: tie the Lady Griz game to the sale. Line starts after the game in the arena. Hand some tickets out to random kids who came out and supported their team. Don't pull them away.
The Maroon and Silver Scrimmage, the closest thing we have to Midnight Madness (that's sad), is tonight in Dahlberg Arena. The men are up first, at 6:00, with the ladies following at 8:00.
Here's Tinkle on what he's looking for tonight:
“Hopefully we’ll be able to put on a little bit of show tomorrow night and let the public see our new faces and establish the way we want to play this year,” Griz coach Wayne Tinkle said. “The main thing we’re going to be looking for is the level of intensity we’re going to play with, and then the discipline and execution.
“Offensively we want to make sure we’re executing with the pace and tempo that we want. Defensively we want to make sure we’re playing with the aggression that we want.
“Our defense is probably a little bit ahead of our offense right now, so it might not be pretty at this point in the game. Hopefully it doesn’t look like a three-ring circus.”
“I’m hoping our fans will want to get an early peek at this team, because it’s going to be an exciting one,” Lady Griz coach Robin Selvig said. “We return a great bunch of players and have added some exciting newcomers. It’s a fun bunch. We have a chance to be a really good team.
“Tomorrow will be more of a game-like situation, so it’s more fun for the players and it’s a good gauge for the coaches to see where we are. Sometimes you learn things about the players when you’re on the court with officials that you don’t find out in practice. Though hopefully not too much that you don’t already know.”
These should be a few of the more anticipated scrimmages in a few years as both teams bring in a lot of talent.
You know what really is a hoot? Getting up when it's dark out. There's nothing like having your phone alarm go off at 5:30 and having the first thought through your head be genuine concern because your phone must be malfunctioning. So, the first thing I have to say is that I'm impressed that they can do that on a day-to-day basis. I went to practice Thursday and had planned on attempting to go again yesterday. Not even close. Anyway, onto the observations.
- Chemistry and attention to detail are big focal points early in the season. Tinkle stressed both throughout practice. At one point he said "attention to detail cost us 5 or 6 wins last season." During the huddle post-practice he said everything that happens on the court stays there. Guys should be able to get into it, shove a bit then go get lunch later. He made sure there wouldn't be any of the pockets of discontent we saw last year. And honestly, this team does seem less clique-y. It could be that it's early in the season and tension has not come to the point where it has a real affect but at this point all is well.
- The first team consisted of Ceylon Elgin-Taylor, Ryan Staudacher, Jack McGillis, Jordan Hasquet and Brian Qvale. That's expected.
- Anthony Johnson will be starting by conference play. For those of you wondering if he's everything he's cracked up to be, he is. He's exactly what this team, or any team, needs at the off-guard position. He's more athletic than anyone on this team last season. He's a great hustle player who looks like he loves to play the game. This is purely objective but it looked like he was having more fun than anyone. At 6:15, when you're playing your ass off so you don't have to run lines, that's tough to do. He has the strength to penetrate and combines this with a merciless mid-range game. In a scrimmage at the end of practice he nailed a baseline fadeaway (with either McGillis or Selvig in his pocket) that brought out multiple expletives. Assistant coach Bill Evans had to explain that sometimes guys are just going to make tough shots and there's not a lot you can do about it. And that's the thing, if this kid falls into a grove he's going to be unguardable.
- Jack McGillis loves him some put-back dunks. I'd put the over/under on eye-opening put-backs per game (eopbpg) at 1.5 and take the over most nights. You know what you're going to get from Jack and he's ready to get this show on the road after sitting out all of last season. Like Johnson, he fits flawlessly into this team, not only in terms of skill-set and position but personality as well. He will be the type of guy hoist the team over his head and carry them if that's what it takes. He'll be the one to say, either to the team or himself, "there's no effing way we're losing this game" then kill himself trying to do something about it.
- Ceylon Elgin-Taylor has a greater sense of accountability. He's the senior point guard and appears to understand the responsibility behind that. He's a darkhorse to become one of the team's better leaders. He's vocal, providing encouragement where needed. He's also made strides in his offensive game. His shooting is a touch better while he now seems much more capable of penetrating and finishing at the basket.
- Derek Selvig played mostly at the center position. He is still working on developing his post game. Going up against Qvale rep after rep would be tough for an experienced big, but for someone who's played mostly facing the basket, it's probably especially frustrating.
- Ryan Staudacher is better than people give him credit for. The cliche knock on him has always been that he can't create his own shot, that he's just a spot-up shooter. You know what? J.J. Redick couldn't create his own shot either. I'm not saying they are on equal talent levels, but watch the highlights and tell me they're not the exact same type of player. No, it doesn't translate to the pro game but if a guy has a pure stroke and can shoot over people, it can be deadly on the college level. Staudacher went for 9 a game last season while shooting 45% from beyond the arc. It wouldn't surprise me to see him get close to 15 per this season with a 3-point field goal percentage brushing up against 50. Depending on how much he's incorporated into the offense, I could see him pushing Jack and Jordo when it comes to being the team's leading scorer. So, yeah, he looked great in practice.
- Kyle Sharp was much more confident on offense; he was making shots with his back to the basket and dropping in a few jumpers. He's a skilled player who will be a great asset coming off the bench; he may even make a start here and there.
- Shawn Stockton will make Tinkle think twice about redshirting him. He showed what he did in high school, not a lot of scoring but he's a gritty and confident player. It's not what guys want to hear—like being labeled as a 'possession receiver'—but he'll be a great player in this program. He's very intense on defense: a player built in the Bryan Ellis mold, but even better. Even so, I think he has to redshirt. Not because of skill, but because of the depth we already have at the guard position. CET is the established point guard, Michael Taylor sat last year and Anthony Johnson fits into the role of defensive stopper.
- Jordan Hasquet is Jordan Hasquet, that's probably enough to say. Outside of chopping off the ugliest haircut in the history of humanity, not too many major changes.
- Brian Qvale has definitely put in time working on his offensive game and is looking to score a bit more when around the basket. Looks a little bit bigger but nothing drastic. He'll be a great anchor around the hoop.
- Michael Taylor didn't get as much time as I thought he would. He's a solid player who will serve as a great backup to CET. He's a very balanced player: good passer, good shooter and holds his own on defense.
- Nyandigisi Moikobu and Vassy Banny got bounced around a little bit. They're both solid players but I think still need some time to adjust to everything.
- Tyler Hurley knocked down a few jumpers and should be a consistent role player when given minutes.
- Mathias Ward spent most of practice on the bike. Not sure what the injury was but he didn't play at all. Well, I got there about 15 minutes late, so he might've at first but didn't after that point.
These interviews come from the Griz's first practice on Friday. I've been hesitant to put them up because the audio quality is so horrendous. The interview with Tinkle is the only one that's even partially audible. Here's the process that goes into doing these: I first record the interview in a noisy gym and then take what's already poor audio and play it into my MacBook because the Sony recorder I have isn't Mac compatible. It's absolutely fantastic. Anyway, here's coach Tinkle:
As mentioned, the interview with Jack would be impossible to make out if I put it up here as audio. Excerpts...
It's going really good so far, I think Canada helped a lot. It was nice to gauge where we're at in a game-like situation...So far everything's good and I don't see it being a problem throughout the season but I think chemistry's something we have to develop...It's definitely the number one priority of this team.
It's an important thing, I'm going to do whatever I can. Number one, lead by example... Also, with that, you gotta be vocal as well. I'm definitely going to focus on those two things but I'm really excited for games to start.
I just tried to get better at everything: shooting, handles, mainly just the mental part of the game.
Thoughts on the younger players
They've all done really well so far, they've all stepped up to the challenge of being a freshman. Like all of us, they've got to learn a lot of stuff and go through the process but they're doing really good so far. The JuCo kids are doing really good as well.
Wait for about the 35 second mark. Yeah, this should be fun.
Woods is a supposedly underrated prospect out of hoops powerhouse Dominguez High School in Compton, California. Last month, he was MVP of the 16th Annual Fullcourt Press Fall Hoops Classic, as he led his team, 'The Hood,' to a title in that tournament's 'Gold Division.' Past winners of that award include Paul Pierce, Tayshaun Prince, Rashard Lewis and Tyson Chandler.
Here's a description of his performance, via Fullcourt Press:
Of the nation’s top sleepers, Woods was an “impact” player all weekend long – scoring inside at a very high clip, showing off a potent mid-range game and flushing down thunderous dunks in transition. Very good student (getting serious attention from Ivies like Columbia) had 25 points/12 boards in a semi-final win over California Select. Top 100-150 caliber prospect with potential to be higher.
Another great get for Tinkle. I'm kind of upset I won't be here to see him play. May have to do something about that.
The complete 2008-2009 Montana men's basketball schedule has yet to be released but we may already have our two marquee games. Last year, it was Gonzaga and Washington State. This season, the Montana Grizzlies will face off against the Duke Blue Devils and the Washington Huskies.
It's been rumored for a few weeks that the Griz would travel to Cameron Indoor but an abcmontana interview with Wayne Tinkle makes it official. The game is set for November 23rd.
"It's not like we were trying to send a statement," Tinkle said in the interview. "As a student-athlete, you want to play teams that you kind of grow up idolizing and we just kind of thought it'd be a neat experience."
There hadn't been any word on a matchup with the Huskies, official or otherwise, but UW released their schedule yesterday and the Grizzlies are on it. Montana will play at Hec Edmundson Pavilion on December 28th.
The two games present two different experiences. Duke will once again be one of the best teams in the ACC and the nation. Andy Katz of ESPN has them as the 6th best team in the country with the Blue Devils only losing two players from last year's squad. The Griz will be playing in one of the college basketball's most intimidating venues. No matter who you are, walking onto the floor at Cameron Indoor will be something to remember for the rest of your life. Last season, the Griz faced off against a similar crazed atmosphere against Gonzaga in Spokane and it did not go well. The Griz will need to have more than a "gee, isn't it neat being here?" if they don't want to get embarrassed again.
The game at Hec Ed will be very different. The Huskies should be in the middle to bottom half of the PAC 10 again as they continue their rebuilding since the Nate Robinson and Brandon Roy days. They have solid recruits coming in but won't have nearly the talent level of Duke.
This game will also be drastically different in terms of atmosphere. It's three days after Christmas and many students will be far away from campus. I went to a UW/Loyola Marymount game two years ago over winter break; the student section was half empty and the arena was far from sold out. Unlike last season's game in Spokanistan, any Griz fans wanting tickets to this matchup should be able to get them fairly easily. If a conscious effort was made amongst Seattle-area Griz fans and others willing to make the drive, we could have a very respectable cheering section. More than Duke, Gonzaga and WSU, this game is the most likely for an upset.
Lastly, major props to Tinkle for putting together what's looking like a very tough schedule. This is the most talented and athletic Griz squad since LK's tourney teams. Tinks could've easily laid out a few cupcakes and tried to put together a 20-25 win season in an effort to get some fans off his back but he didn't. Ballsy. He's challenging himself and his players while trying to force this program to take a step forward. For the Griz to get quality opponents coming to the Zoo on a regular basis, they'll have to beat a few on the road first.
The Montana team will feature five Division I players, including future Lady Griz Ali Hurley. The Billings Gazette has a profile on Hurley, along with her thoughts on coming to UM and playing in the all-star game.
The Montana Grizzlies basketball team has yet to add an assistant coach after Brian Marso resigned following a rough, yet chalupa-filled season. Well, here's a candidate: former Griz great Micheal Ray Richardson. It's something I touched on in my podcast with Jim O'Day, now let me lay out my reasons.
Micheal Ray Richardson was drafted fourth overall in the 1978 NBA Draft. Two spots later, the Celtics drafted Larry Bird, who had led the Indiana State Sycamores to the NCAA Championship game. Yeah, a Griz going ahead of Larry Legend. Whenever there's a scuffle or disagreement between player and coach, "I played so great in college I was drafted ahead of Larry Bird" has to trump all.
Not only did Micheal Ray play hoops at the highest level of competition, but he excelled at that level. In his second season in the NBA, he became the first player to lead the league in both assists and steals. This was during an era when the NBA was as good as it's ever been and probably every will be.
This part of his past gives him instant respect from players.
Micheal Ray was banned from the NBA for life in 1986 after three failed drug tests. Then, he got another chance. He proceeded to fail two more drug tests (for cocaine). He knows how badly stupid off-court mistakes can mess up your game, career and life. There isn't a more suitable person to preach to players on the subject.
Apart from his troubled past, Richardson also has experience as a head coach. While it was in the CBA, we know it helps. He coached the Albany Patroons and Oklahoma Cavalry.
Micheal Ray Richardson is a fiery guy. He yells, he talks, he isn't afraid to speak his mind. It's gotten him in trouble at times but I'd rather have a coach or player who talks too much than one who talks too little. With the talk came a certain attitude. He had a swagger about him. He had confidence. Last year's Griz team had next to no swagger.
His style of play would also be greatly valued. He hustled on both sides of the ball, always looking to make a steal and go the other way or make the extra pass for easy points. This attitude is something the current team sorely lacks.
A minority hire
Race is a weird issue. No one should ever be hired or not hired because of the color of their skin. But let's face it, Montana is very very white. Having one African American coach on the staff may make coming to this place seem a little less daunting to some recruits.
Aside from recruiting, this seems like the perfect candidate. Tinks, please consider it. Great highlight reel after the jump. Continue Reading...
My guest on the first one is University of Montana Athletic Director Jim O'Day. We start by talking about next years hoops team then move onto football scheduling, the draft, the expansion and more.
To download the half-hour long podcast, right-click on the link below and select 'download link target' or something similar.
It looks like Cameron Rundles is headed to Wofford, the same tiny school that upset us in football. Wofford plays in the SoCon, a Division I conference. So, I believe he will have to sit out a year.
Well, good luck as a Terrier.
It's been a long trip to this level for both of them, especially for Anthony. At one point, he was completely out of organized basketball; then he met Shaunte. For their incredible story, read this article in the Tacoma Weekly.
At Stadium [High School], Johnson wasn’t much of a standout on the court or in the classroom. As a senior, he averaged just more than 12 points per game while the Tigers went 6-15 and finished in seventh place in the Narrows League Bay Division. Not exactly the kind of performance that gets you noticed at the next level.
On his report cards, things were even worse. Not showing up for class on a regular basis, Johnson saw his cumulative grade-point average during his time in high school come out as a 1.6. Needless to say, there weren’t a lot of opportunities awaiting him after graduation.
In 2005, though, while he was spending the year at home helping his mom and brother around the house, the most important event of his life happened. He started dating Nance. After that, things just started to change for him.
Not sure what he was doing or could do with his life, Nance was there as someone who believed in him. She pushed him to become better not only as a basketball player but as a person as well.
“She noticed something in me,” Johnson said. “She figured in her mind that I could play college basketball while at the time I was ready to give it up.”
Nance, then playing basketball on a full-ride scholarship to Northwest Nazarene University (NNU), watched Johnson play at the YMCA and knew that his time on the hardwood wasn’t over.
“He had an amazing shot, it was something I envied,” Nance said. “His dedication to the game was a big thing. I knew once he put his mind to it, the sky was the limit for him.”
And it was. Anthony was further motivated by his freshman season at Yakima Valley Community College—Shaunte got him a tryout there— where he averaged 18.3 points per game on 57.6 percent shooting. The next season, he was NWAAC east region MVP as he led his 7-man team to a conference title.
Here's a little information on Johnson, who was East Region MVP of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges.
"He's a scorer," Funk (his coach) said. "He can get to the basket and the free throw line, but he's also got a canny mid-range pull-up shot that you don't see much anymore. And the knock on him all year was that he had no three-point shot, but he was 7-for-14 from three in the (NWAACC) tournament. He's really quick, long-armed, and a great on-the-ball defender too."Wow. He has to figure out if Montana is the right fit from him, but based on his skill-set, he's the perfect fit for Montana: quick, athletic guard who can get to the rim but still keep defenders honest with a dangerous mid-range jumper. Although he showed he's capable of making a 3-point shot, it's great to know that is not something he depends on. With a player like this—combined with the additions of Selvig, McGillis, Taylor, Stockton and Ward—it's very likely the Griz will have the most talent in the 'Sky. As we know, talent is not everything, but when you get versatile talent like this, it goes a long way.
Over the course of the season, Johnson saw his recruitment steadily rise and now a number of schools all throughout the Pacific Northwest are looking at taking the next step.
"Anthony is getting looked at by a lot of Division I schools right now," Funk said. "Montana is coming in to see him tomorrow and Eastern Washington and Portland State have been recruiting him and would like him to visit. Idaho and Weber State also came to see him play this year and I've talked to one of the Boise State coaches about him."
Funk also noted that many of the schools in the Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference have been recruiting Johnson all season long. The high-scoring guard is considering all options and is essentially looking at taking as many official visits as he can before making an educated choice.
"I think he's basically looking for that best fit," Funk said. "It's everything from academics to the level of play to the playing time situation to what his role would be on the team to the chance to get to the (NCAA) Tournament. He's married, so he's got his wife to consider as well."
Easily the player I was most excited to see and easily the most disappointing player in the game. Some of the disappointment is a product of hype, when you're NBA-legend John Stockton's nephew and are coming off a record 58-game winning streak, well, that's part of the deal.On Ward:
But hype aside, Stockton looked over-matched in his 18 minutes on the floor. He finished with a team-low four points and three turnovers. He did a nice job pushing the ball at times but didn't show the court vision other point guards did and had an awful looking shot. He was 2-5 from the floor and missed both three-pointers he attempted.
He didn't stand out amongst his talented teammates but showed a nice stroke, three-point range and good rebounding instincts en route to eight points and five rebounds. He's not a huge dude, but has a solid frame and above-average athleticism that should make him a solid Big Sky contributor.Being completely honest, some of what I've heard on Stockton scares me a little. He's a gritty guy playing at a skill position, getting by on effort and toughness. But then I read something on his style of play and he sounds like exactly what the Griz need: a strong, quick point guard who can get to the rack and put pressure on the defense. Ruder calls him overmatched but in the article linked to above, DeAngelo Casto—who Ruder justly raves about—says everyone notices his strength. It should be easy to see early, with Stockton going up against the likes of Hasquet, Qvale and Selvig in practice, if his style of play translates to this level.
Look for Robin at about the :45 mark.
The legacy Larry Krystkowiak left behind before leaving for the NBA fizzled over the next two seasons, Wayne Tinkle's first as a head coach, as the Griz went 31-31 over that stretch. Only two seasons after Krystkowiak's departure, just a couple of his recruits remain with the program as numerous players transferred to play their hoops at schools in lower divisions, a sign to many that they couldn't cut it at this level.Through the strife, clashes in chemistry and failure to meet expectations, Tinkle has found the team's foundation: a pair of near 7-footers ready to put the program on their backs. Continue Reading...
Idaho State fans, turn on CBS (or go to their website and check it out because you probably have the WSU game) and take a look at who's running the baseline in tonight's premier matchup between USC and Kansas State. Hell, Mayo vs Beasley might be the best matchup in the entire first round. It's the one, the only, Eric Curry. This man wreaked havoc on Big Sky teams, the most blatant error occurring in a game between Montana and Idaho State where Hasquet pulled a Chris Webber and Curry let it slide. He got suspended and now, amazingly, he's doing his thing in the dance.
Well, Beasley has two fouls less than five minutes in. America, meet Eric Curry.
Click on it for a better look so you can, you know, actually read the team names.
Well, it all starts tomorrow. For Portland State, it'll probably be over before it even starts as they kick off as one of the early games at 10:25 our time. I know I should have a little Big Sky pride—and I will be rooting for PSU as best I can—but I do hope Brandon Rush absolutely destroys Scott Morrison at least once.
Alright, a little explanation: I despise Gonzaga and Davidson has hung in there with some of the best teams in the land so there's one upset. Western Kentucky over Drake because it's 5/12, Courtney Lee is good and when it's mid-major vs mid-major all reason goes out the window. Marquette because they may have the best guard play in the country and have shown they can shut down bigs by beating the Gody monster in the Big East Tournament. There's that and in a perfect world, I'd spend three of the next four years of my life going to school there. That's a sleeper/heart pick. Tennessee's wins it all because they're fast, I don't know, they're fun to cheer for and Pearl is a nut. If I'm going to root for a team for almost a three weeks, I might as well liked them. Plus after last year, when my bracket was all but destroyed in the first round when there were almost no upsets, Tennessee almost resurrected it so, yeah, we have a history together.
Feel free to discuss in the comments. Leave your picks, talk about what's going on, whatever. I have a ton of stuff to get done tomorrow but most of it will be done sitting in front of the tv. Anyway, I'll probably be updating the Twitter page with running analysis so feel free to drop in there as well.
Most Griz fans never got a chance to see what "Big Dave" or Zach could do. Everyone raved about Graves' athleticism and Vanderjagt's potential presence inside but it was never realized. With Cam, it was different.
Cameron Rundles was recruited by Larry Krystkowiak as a point guard, a gritty floor general. But the point guard spot already had depth in senior Bryan Ellis and junior Matt Martin. At the beginning of the season, these two started at the guard positions but by the ninth game Rundles made the starting lineup. In a December 9th, 72-65 win over UC Riverside, he scored 13 points in 32 minutes.
By conference play, he was a major contributor. He earned Freshman of the Year honors and was the Big Sky's best three-point shooter, beating out Stephen Sir with a .481 clip during the regular season.
On top of the numbers, there were all the intangibles. From the beginning, it seemed as though he would inevitably become the leader the Griz needed. Maybe that had something to do with his downfall. Every time I spoke to him, he referenced being a leader, a coach on the floor. It'd be near impossible to get upper-classmen to listen to a struggling sophomore.
The slump was bad, no one can deny that, but I never thought it'd do him in. This kid once re-entered a high school playoff game and rallied his team from a 12-point deficit after suffering a concussion and gashing his face but he can't overcome a run-of-the-mill sophomore slump? Come on.
To him, it's undoubtedly more than that. There's probably some tension between he and Coach Tinkle over playing time and the like. To this Griz fan, that complaint seems unwarranted. Unlike some other players—see: Zach Graves, Matt Martin—he got minutes when he played well. You don't need to look any further than end of the last regular season match-up against Idaho State and the two games that followed to see this is the case.
Fans will bash his sometimes immature ways and poor decisions but no one can deny that he played with a lot of passion and tried to spread it to others. It usually looked like he was having some fun. He always took the big shots, the daggers. When a statement was needed, he'd try to make it.
I'm not going to lie, I think it's a terrible decision. I do not know what goes on behind closed doors so my judgement could be far, far off but I believe if he averaged 15 and 5 (assists) in limited minutes in the early games next season, a starting guard spot would his before Thanksgiving.
In summary: his freshman season was amazing, the slump was too much and both sides will regret this happened.
It wasn't just the wins. It was the way the Lady Griz played the game that drew outstanding support from the community.
The way the Griz played and the atmosphere this past weekend made those two games some of the best Griz sporting events I've ever attended. Honestly, they're up there with the Stanford upset, "The Zoo" night and Bagley's catch against EWU. The actual number of people was great—4,265 for the Portland State game and 5,016 for MSU—but it doesn't do an ounce of justice to what it was like in the D on Friday and Saturday night.
The Lady Griz were having fun and so were the fans. There were times when the Lady Griz would make a series of hustle plays—someone would dig out a rebound then kick it out for a dagger three from Cote, Mandy would give a little shimmy and knock one down right in someone's grill, Ena would bang her way to the rim before getting the hoop and the harm—and the whole crowd would stand and cheer in agreement that what they were seeing was amazing. That's how they played: filled to the brim with confidence and completely devoid of all selfishness. They supported one another and wore the Lady Griz uniform with pride.
The Lady Griz put on a show and gave the fans a good deal of entertainment, but when Lady Griz needed something themselves, the fans provided it. The fans didn't only respond to great plays, they helped cause them. When the Griz needed a stop or a run, they were there. They were there because they knew the Lady Griz would respond. When the Lady Griz were down, there was no doubt they'd make a run; whenever there was an opening, they'd stomp their collective foot on the chest of the opponent as they buried any doubt over the final outcome.
But it wasn't all like this. It wasn't all smooth. No one knows if they needed it but Coach Selvig kept them grounded. I'm damn-near 100% convinced that the reason he walks with a small limp is because he stomps so much.
There was a time in the MSU game when the Lady Griz were up comfortably by somewhere around 15 and Sonya Rogers made an ill-advised pass into the post on a fast break. It was picked off and as Sonya hustled back on defense, Robin stared into her back and screamed "SONYA! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!" It was terrifying. Sitting front row in the student section, his scream and stare were so intense I almost felt like I messed up. But these girls are tough. They don't get flustered, they don't think it's all a show. They know they screwed up and do not want to do it again.
There are so many things that went into this amazing season that's it's impossible to accurately describe even 1/8th of what it was like. For those of you who missed it, I'm sorry.
I'm also sorry for giving very little recognition to this great team here on The Grizzoulian. They should've gotten many more entries than the few written about them.
Vanderbilt comes into the game ranked 21st in the latest coaches' poll. They are coming off a loss to Tennessee in the SEC Championship game. In the regular season, they finished 11-3, third behind LSU and Tennessee.
The last time the Griz made the tournament, which was following the 2004-2005 season, they also faced Vanderbilt in the opening round. The 12-seed Lady Griz lost 67-44 to the 5th-seeded Commodores.
More on the Lady Griz later.
Mandy Morales sprained an ankle in the last game so this should be interesting. I'll be there, hope everyone else can make it out.
Contrary to what I was hoping for, Portland State did not choke. They beat Northern Arizona 67-51 for their first tourney appearance.
I tried to watch what I could of the Big Sky Tournament but it was tough. I always need a break from sports after my team loses. To be honest, during the semis, I was catching up on LOST. The title of episode that came up: Not in Portland. Swear to God. I couldn't even make that up. Too fitting.
This is the second year in a row I've had to write one of these posts, it better not happen next year. Apologies for the lack of updates lately. Been a busy week with midterms and papers. In the next week or so leading up to another hiatus (Cabo), I'll be writing a series of posts titled What I want to see next year. So, yeah, look out. Also, LG coverage. I'll try to make this nonstop joyous celebration a little more bearable for those of us who aren't doing it.
- Griz come out very slow. Instead of pushing the lead up by four and making it ten, they let it slide down to two and eventually let the Bengals tie it up.
- No major improvement in the rebounding department.
- Griz need to get the ball inside but it's tough to focus on that when your best post player continuously gets double-teamed.
- Griz need to have the lead going down the stretch. Despite what happened in the last match-up, the Griz are not a great team playing from behind.
- Rundles has SIX assists with eight and a half to play. Not too shabby for the shooting guard.
- The lead is eight with under eight to play. We need to get back in this ASAP. Scary territory here.
- Whenever Mick says "no hill for a climber," it scares the hell out of me.
- The Griz need stops very bad as we come down the stretch and they are just not there. The offense is, but you need stops too.
- Rundles' shooting just isn't there tonight. He needs to focus on driving and distributing.
- All of a sudden, Drew has 4. That's terrifying.
- Treys by Staudacher and Martin cut it from 8 to 2. THANK YOU! Let's win this fellas!!!
- Free throws are going to be big coming down the stretch. That is scary.
- As always, our defense is abysmal coming down the stretch. Things are looking very very dire.
- Griz down 6 with 1:37 to play. As I said, dire.
- Free throws hurting the Griz badly coming down the stretch. As usual, fundamentals (rebounding and FTs) costing the game. Well done players, coaching staff.
- Griz blow another season. For many fans, things don't seem as large as they are for someone like myself. I'm a student. After an AMAZING freshman year I expected more of the same. Now I go into a senior season where things look great to some but to me, still very questionable. Both Graves and Rundles may be leaving. With the losses of those two guys, we get a lot slower going into these next few years. I never thought things would go progressively downhill after that amazing 05-06 season. Whether anyone admits it or not, that's what happened. Our program was looking great then things dipped into mediocrity. I pray to God things turn around with the influx of transfer talent but I don't know. To be completely honest, I begin looking forward to trying to get into a good law school. Trying to get into a place where being part of the basketball team is bigger than it is here. Where the kids give a s@#t and the bush-league football team isn't the king of the town. I'm sure I'll have more in the coming days on what has been a painful season but for now and for tonight, that is it.
- Griz came out and started like I haven't seen them start all season. Griz came out, ran with the ball, and pushed it to an 11-2 lead. Then they gave it all back. But it was good while it lasted.
- Most important thing: they withstood the Bengal run, didn't freak out, then they took the lead right back. Griz go into the half up 6 because they didn't panic.
- Why the #@&! can't we rebound. HUGE front-line that sometimes features Strait, Hasquet and Qvale and we get out-rebounded 21-11. ISU has 11 offensive rebounds.
- Ceylon Elgin-Taylor's offense has been great. Jumping in passing lanes and just gunking things up for the opposing offense.
- Cameron Rundles loves to take statement shots: whether it's after a big make by the opposing team or poor play by him, he will always be there to take that shot.
- The three-ball has been there, at times. Griz are shooting 46.7 percent from behind the arc. There were times in the first half when it wasn't there at all but Staudacher and Martin made shots at the end that, at this point, are probably the difference in game. Both Martin and Staudacher make three treys in the first half.
- Mick has repeated this several times: Idaho State has only won one game when they trailed at half. Griz need to come out fast and push this lead.
- Speaking of Mick, how lucky are we to have him? Really. We could have some crummy J-school student but no, we have Mick. As good as there is. As good as any hoops play-by-play guy I've ever heard. Keep it up.
Several Griz hoops fans are questioning Wayne Tinkle's head coaching ability while multiple players are taking very serious looks at transferring and playing ball elsewhere next season.
In the eyes of this Griz fan, there is only one way the Griz can salvage what, up to this point, has been an embarrassing season: win the conference tournament and make the dance.
There shouldn't be any excuses. None of this "we don't have the guys" or "PSU is going to make the Sweet 16" or any of that crap. It's been a joke so far.
It seems as though no one even took conference play seriously. Where the hell was the effort or fire? When you're a fan, and you feel like you care twice as much as the players do, that's not good.
When you watch the biggest front-line in the conference consistently get out-rebounded, it makes you want to punch someone in the ear. When the back-court's idea of an offense is to dribble out the shot-clock then huck up a 23-footer you just want to grab the guys by the shoulders and shake them until they wake the hell up. When your team gets beat by half-a-hundred on Senior Night, you wonder what happened to this program and why the hell you care anymore.
Really, everyone needs to wake up. Let's buy into something, even if it's just that they're going to tolerate their teammates and coaches for three more games. It's time to focus. No more bitching about playing time or touches. No more thinking the coaches are out to get you. Just shut up and go out there and play. Play like your hair is on fire.
Because if we win three straight, the rest of the season will be forgotten. The 5+ last possession losses, the total inconsistency, the drubbing by PSU, all of it. Gone. All that will be remembered is that this will be the third Griz team in four years to make it to the dance. And while it doesn't seem like it—at all—that's a dynasty fellas.
Jim Bate/Seattle Times
When it comes to Griz basketball, there are not a lot of positives to be drawn after last night. One could be that Griz commit Shawn Stockton (pictured far right) won his second straight class 4A Washington state title.
Stockton plays point guard for the Saxons, who not only won back-to-back state titles, but also finished consecutive undefeated seasons.
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I'm sorry I don't have more tonight. Rough game.
I did catch one thing that was disappointing to hear. Overheard one Griz player talking to a couple guys about what happened following the game. Supposedly Tinkle comes in yelling, tearing things up, maybe tossing stuff around. You know, how a coach probably has a right to act after his team gets blown out by 52. Well, a couple guys started chuckling as they were getting ready to leave and while this was going on. Tinkle gets mad and I believe they are suspended for the next practice. Not a good thing to hear; for the coach or for these players.
Next up: Idaho State in Pocatello. Should be a very intense rivalry game after what transpired a week ago. While I'm not completely sure, I believe I will be there with a few other students.
At it again. Live photos and comments straight from the student section.
Photos can be found at flickr.com/grizzoulian. Not guaranteeing that I'll have as many as some previous games but I'll try to toss a couple up there.
Live updates can be found at twitter.com/colinokeefe. Also available in the flashy thing below. Use arrows to scroll through.
This post can also work as a live thread for the game. If you have any comments or questions, leave them. While I may not respond in the comments section, I'll get them and may respond in the Twitter feed.
Also, if you have anything you want me to ask coaches and or players after the game, leave those in the comments as well. Not guaranteed that I pose the suggested questions but I will take a look at them and strongly consider it.
This game is not meaningless because if the Griz win, they will likely get the four-seed and a home game against Idaho State. Sorry fellas.
On top of that, a win here would go a long way towards establishing confidence in this team and putting a bit of fear into others. Giants-Pats serves as another great example. Right now, the Griz are considered the top team in the conference's second tier, behind the trio of PSU, WSU and NAU. A win wouldn't necessarily put them in that group but it would make them very wary of playing a Grizzly team that could be peaking at the right time.
Oh, and a heads-up: Drew broke his nose in practice yesterday, good start to Senior Night.
With two games left in the regular season, the Montana Grizzlies—who were favored by the media to win the conference—had yet to clinch a spot in the Big Sky Tournament. Thursday night they kicked down the door with an 81-66 victory over the University of Northern Colorado.
"This is a game to clinch," said sophomore guard Cameron Rundles, "it doesn't matter if we're playing Duke or Northern Colorado, you have to be fired up because if we lose this game or lose Saturday, it's possible we don't make it into the tournament."
Rundles, who finished with 16 points in 21 minutes, was part of an overwhelming opening run that put the Grizzlies up by as many as 22 in the first half. After the game's opening 20 minutes, the Griz (14-14, 8-7) were on pace to score 96 points.
"I made some shots on Saturday [against Idaho State] in overtime and I was making some shots in warm-ups so I just thought, 'what the heck, I'm going to put some up and see what happens,'" Rundles said.
Early in the first half, it seemed as though no matter what the Griz did with the ball, it would end up going through the hoop. At one point, Ceylon Elgin-Taylor made a crisp pass to junior forward Kyle Sharp, who wasn't ready to receive it. The ball ricocheted of Sharp's flat hands right to Andrew Strait, who laid it up and in for a 20-4 advantage.
Both Rundles and head coach Wayne Tinkle credited Elgin-Taylor's play with getting the Griz going early. The junior point guard had 10 assists in the first half and finished with 8 points and 11 assists for the game.
"I knew he was getting guys involved," said Tinkle of Elgin-Tayor, "but then I saw the stat sheet at half-time and told him to go out and get 10 more in the second half...Maybe that was a mistake because we stopped running offense and it looked like he was just trying to make plays out there."
Things were rosy in the first half, but in the second Northern Colorado (12-16, 5-10) cut what was once a 26-point lead all the way down to 9 with a 26-9 run that stunned but didn't quiet the crowd.
"It's easy to come back, it's hard to come back and win," said Northern Colorado Head Coach Tad Boyle, "I told my team I was proud of them for for about 6 minutes of this 40-minute game, but other than that I was really disappointed with our effort and execution. It's just disheartening."
On Saturday night, the Griz will bring a historic lineup into their match-up with first-place Portland State as senior guard Matt Martin's 7 points gives him 1,001 for his career. Jordan Hasquet and Andrew Strait—who along with Martin were part of the 2004 recruiting class—make this year's Griz team the first ever with three 1,000-point scorers.
"We all came in together and we're all in it together, it's pretty neat," Martin said. "The coolest part is that we all played on some really good teams."
Saturday night will be more than just Senior Night and the trio's first appearance as 1,000-point scorers. The Griz will have a chance to clinch the fourth seed in the tournament and a home game in the opening round with a win over Portland State, who blew out Montana State by 28 to ensure that the Big Sky Tournament would be held in the city of roses.
Coach Tinkle made sure that everyone knew there was still work to be done in the regular season.
"We'll see if we can send a message Saturday night...We've got bigger things in front of us and it starts with Portland State."
You know the deal, live photos and comments straight from the student section.
Photos can be found at flickr.com/grizzoulian. Not guaranteeing that I'll have as many as some previous games but I'll try to toss a couple up there.
Live updates can be found at twitter.com/colinokeefe. Also available in the flashy thing below. Use arrows to scroll through.
This post can also work as a live thread for the game. If you have any comments or questions, leave them. While I may not respond in the comments section, I'll get them and may respond in the Twitter feed.
Also, if you have anything you want me to ask coaches and or players after the game, leave those in the comments as well. Not guaranteed that I pose the suggested questions but I will take a look at them and strongly consider it.
Edit: Flash icon below may be a little behind so following on Twitter page is probably best.
Students Challenge For East Side Seats in Dahlberg Arena Falling Short
Last fall, I issued a challenge to the students at The University of Montana that would allow them the opportunity to return to the east side seats in Dahlberg Arena for Grizzly men’s basketball games for the first time in a decade. It was a challenge to re-energize the student section like the days of “The Zoo” from the early 1970s through 1999. Our goal was to average at least 700 students per home contests, and create a lively environment that would return Dahlberg Arena to the intimidating home-court arena it had been for the Grizzlies prior to the Adams Center renovation.
I envisioned a scene similar to that at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium or the Kennel at Gonzaga University in Spokane. Instead, the numbers have been rather sporadic. Good student attendance was noted at the Colorado State game (1,140) when we experimented with re-locating the students to the east side seats on Nov. 9 and again for rival Montana State (1,131) when they remained in their current end zone sections on Feb. 9. (Incidentally, both were impressive victories by the home team). Aside from that, the most noticeable crowds were for Cal-State Fullerton (587 on Nov. 30) and the University of Portland (516 on Dec. 7). Since the Intersession break, the largest student attendance aside from MSU was for Eastern Washington on Thursday, Jan. 24 when 492 students went through the turnstiles. In our most recent games, we had 225 students for Sacramento State and 357 for Northern Arizona.
For the 13 home games thus far, we are averaging 432 students per game – or about 25 more per game than last year. For the 10 games outside of the Intersession period, the average is still only 517. That being said, it will take an impressive showing this week for Thursday’s game against Northern Colorado, and again Saturday night for league champion Portland State, for UM Athletics to take a serious look at moving our dedicated boosters away from the east side.
Let me be clear: I’d like nothing more than to re-visit the return of the students to those seats next year, but if they don’t show up now, it doesn’t make much financial sense. It wouldn’t be a battle I’m willing to wage – nor a very smart one. Remember, I’m also being tugged in another direction by loyal boosters who pay significant dollars to sit in those seats, who like the east side and its proximately to the playing floor. It isn’t an easy decision, unless, of course, the students chose not to attend the games.
There are two home games remaining. I challenge you to attend in big numbers, and make our decision tougher. Come out and support your peers, and create an atmosphere that is the envy of the Big Sky Conference. The players will appreciate it, the fans will enjoy it and we’ll all be winners. For those students who have loyally supported the team this year, I thank you – and acknowledge the effort you’ve made to get this challenge off the ground. Let’s hope more follow your lead this week.
Director of Athletics
The University of Montana
Here's what a few people had to say about him:
"Most people don't know him," Washington said. "They think he's all mean or intimidating. But really, he's one of the softest guys."The article goes on to say that Montana is interested in him as a non-qualifier, requiring him to sit-out next season. Part of it is grades. Part of it is due to the fact that, at the moment, all our 08-09 scholarships are used up. Strait and Martin go out while Mathias Ward and Shawn Stockton come in. This doesn't mean Parker will not be a Griz for the '08-'09 season. Following last season, the Griz lost two scholarship players: Austin Swift and Gus chase. Speaking of Gus Chase, he was a 6-foot-5, 240 pound forward.
Except on the basketball court, where Parker has been a four-year terror. He became Kentridge's career scoring leader this season and needs 31 rebounds this week to break that career record.
This year, he is averaging 21.9 points, shooting 64 percent from the field, and 9.8 rebounds.
"He's just a monster in the paint," Decatur coach Kevin Olson said. "He always makes big plays. ... Renado's a beast."
Apologies for the poor image quality.
Saturday night, the Lady Griz blew the Bengals out by 22 at Dahlberg Arena. After the victory, it looks like the conference winner will have to win the championship on the same court. With the win over ISU, the Lady Griz's magic number is one with only three to play. A victory in any of the Lady Griz's final three games (@NoCo, @EWU, @PSU) means the conference tourney will be played in Missoula.
Here's an interesting tidbit on what Selvig & Co. used as motivation going into the game. From the Missoulian:
Doma, who entered the game needing 26 points to pass Montana assistant coach Shannon (Cate) Schweyen as the Big Sky's career scoring queen, finished with her lowest points total (12) of the season. She didn't score at all in the 10 minutes Lohman was assigned to her in the first half.[...]Here's some audio from my post-game interview with Coach Selvig.
“A lot of her shots weren't falling that maybe might have other nights, but it was nice to hold her to 12. Shannon (Schweyen) has the conference record right now so we were like, ‘We can't let (Doma) beat Shannon's record in our house.' We were talking about that before the game and used that as a little energy.”
Anyway, here's a taste of what Bengals fans are saying, straight out of an email a fan sent to me. This fan was too "classy" to leave his name or email address.
Are you kinding me? You think that win was legit? Oh yeah im talking to a grizzly fan! You probably havent seen the footage from the game and ALL the [MESSED] up calls that benefited the Griz! I believe in fair wins. But when a game is given to a team and they dont even have class about it. (as in Mr. Hasquet aka ****) I think it is VERY VERY funny that you guys dont even recognise the Technical foul that should have ended the Game! Griz= Classless HumanLet's start with a couple key sentences. "I believe in fair wins. But when a game is given to a team and they dont even have class about it." Alright, it's one sentence and then another uncompleted thought. Even so, were we "given the game?" Yes, you can argue that. But only because the Bengals gave the Griz the game. Let's look at this...
- In the last 7:30, the Bengals scored 5 points.
- Demetrius Monroe misses the front-end of a 1-and-1 that would've for all intensive purposes ended the game. The lead would've been 4 with 31 seconds left.
- Cameron Rundles misses a jumper off of penetration and the Bengals fail to get a rebound even though the lane was filled with ISU players. Strait kicks to Hasquet, he drills it to tie the game.
- After that, Idaho State has 17 seconds to set something up. TONS of time. Stucki lofts up an ugly 3-pointer that I'm not even sure caught iron. 17 seconds, and that's the best shot the Bengals could get.
If we both were to say that the ref looked the other way and let the players decide the game in overtime then all he did was give the Griz a chance to play it out. A chance to win. Well, interesting thing, both teams start with the same number of points in overtime and therefore have the same chance of winning. In that overtime, the Bengals got dominated. Similar to the last 7:30, when the Bengals scored 5 points. If they score 6, the game is over. It didn't happen. Leading up to that call, the Griz put themselves in position to win and the Bengals put themselves in position to lose.
Well, the Griz made it drought (opposite of make it rain?) at the Dee Center tonight. The Griz shot 32 percent for the game, 20 percent in the first half. The Grizzlies shot 30 3-pointers tonight, they made five. Well done. One Matthew Martin led the way, shooting 1-10 from outside the painted arc and 3-13 overall. Fraught naught Gar and Sanchez, I have your Jordan Hasquet numbers: 2-8 from outside and 2-11 overall. 13 points, 0 rebounds. Interesting stat: CET led the scoring with 14.
The Griz trailed by 15+ the entire game and the final score was closer than it should've been. Anyone who takes solace in the fact that we made a run in garbage time is pathetic. I'd rather be a somewhat talented inconsistent team who plays crappy half the time and gets blown out by 10-15 than be the type of team that feels a certain pride when they say "hey, at least we made a run at the end" and still loses by 9.
The Griz need to win out to finish above .500 in conference and overall. Amazing. Who the hell let this happen? I mean you can blame coaches all you want but even if you have a knucklehead coach (I am not saying we do) a player has to step up and lead the guys. Even if your coach is an amazing leader of men, you still need a player to lead. Where has that been?
Seniors, I'm looking at you. Sure, do all you can with the minutes provided but sometimes that's not enough. I mean if I'm a senior, or pretty much anyone in the rotation, I'm legitimately furious as soon as things start dipping south. I start blowing people up and melting faces. Does anyone remember any player being seriously fired up at all this season?
Ohhhh, they have the flu. You know what, I shouldn't know that. This game came with built-in excuses. Players can't have that back-door. The Missoulian's preview article for this game was titled "Ailing Griz look to get back into groove." The lead quote is Tinkle saying people are sick. Why? He doesn't name names, but if you're stubborn enough not to name names, why not just not bring it up?
You know what you do... show them this, tell them to nut up because it's the stretch run then say that when they have a phenomenal game you'd not only say they had the flu but had been randomly experiencing paralysis on the right side of their body. On top of that, they did it for testicular cancer awareness. Hero.
At this point, anything short of making a run into the NCAA Tournament will be a gigantic disappointment. Even if they make the championship game. Because let's be honest, that championship game should've been played in Dahlberg OR after only one playoff game. You put yourself at the bottom of this hill, now climb it.
Tonight, there wasn't much to said for the Griz. Not a great showing but you couldn't really point at one particular thing and say "this is why we lost."
So, tonight, we go with the winning coach, NAU's Mike Adras. I stumbled through a couple questions. Also, not a "huge" difference in FT shooting, 63 percent to about 70 percent. I guess it just seemed like they were making everything when we couldn't hit one.
Here's coach Adras on getting a win after a rough stretch, free-throw shotting and the game inside.
Don't get me wrong, I love fan support on the road. Hell, there aren't many things in sports more enjoyable than going into an opposing venue, having your team win then taunting opposing fans on the way out the door. Really, it's a hoot. However, dancing like this should be avoided. I know the Griz tend to have more fans on the road than any other BSC team so I hope that they don't look like this when they celebrate.
The Griz made a few runs and even led by as much as 7 (48-41 15:41 left in the second) but they could not get legitimate separation. After the game, coach Tinkle spoke about the Griz's inability to get any momentum.
"It seemed like anytime we got momentum going, it was somehow taken away from us," Wayne Tinkle said.
I hate to do this and I don't want this to be one of those instances where I blame the officiating —the referees did not shoot 71 percent in the second half—but it was definitely a factor. The goal of any officiating crew should be to go unnoticed. If the game is well officiated, no one says anything about it. No one remembers it. Tonight, it lingers.
There were several instances when I thought they controlled the game when they didn't need to, almost as if they felt they needed to be a part of it. After a past game, I asked one player about the officiating and he echoed the same thing, saying "I know he was just trying to control the game."
Even without the poor officiating, the Griz would not have won this game. They were 19-28 from the line (3-11 in the first half) and were out-rebounded 35-24.
Tinkle said the loss of center Brian Qvale hurt on both ends of the floor. "When guys get to the rim, he's there to block shots and we really miss that presence underneath."
Besides Qvale's presence underneath, there was another key barometer for a win missing from tonight's game: Ryan Staudacher's outside touch.
For those who made it to the game, his 2-7 from beyond the arc isn't very telling. He wasn't forcing up shots and he wasn't missing badly. Every time he shot it seemed like there was a piece of plexi-glass about four inches beneath the rim. I counted three or four shots that seemed like they were almost all the way down before popping out. Ryan spoke about it after the game.
"Sometimes you just have those nights, but it was frustrating. They all felt good, I thought they were all in but they just rattled in and out. There's nothing you can do about it."
Just not a very enjoyable game all-around. Weber State on Thursday. One game at a time.
Photos can be found at flickr.com/grizzoulian. Most recent ones will be ahead of anything showing last game's final score. Should be recognizable.
Live updates can be found at twitter.com/colinokeefe. Also available in the flashy thing below. Use arrows to scroll through.
This post can also work as a live thread for the game. If you have any comments or questions, leave them. While I may not respond in the comments section, I'll get them and may respond in the Twitter feed. Also, if you have anything you want me to ask coaches and or players after the game, leave those in the comments as well. Not guaranteed that I pose the suggested questions but I will take a look at them and strongly consider it.
The Griz have also buttressed their thin bench by recruiting Dan Beaudin from the Griz football team. Beaudin, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound tight end, earned all-state honors in basketball for two years at Class C Noxon.How does this type of thing come up? Does Dan go to Tinkle or did someone tell Tinkle about Dan? Anyone?
“He's up for the challenge,” Tinkle said of Beaudin, who practiced with the Griz on Friday and will suit up Saturday.
The Griz can use all the big men they can get to deal with NAU center Kyle Landry. Landry is second in the league in scoring at 17.7 ppg, and third in rebounding at 8.3 a game. Josh Wilson fuels the Jack attack at the point, averaging 11.3 points and a league-best 5.8 assists a game.
"You know, I didn't know what to expect and he's had a great career. I couldn't be more proud of him being the one to pass me just because of everything we've been through as coach and player.Drew:
I threated that I wasn't going to play him at all tonight and stick him on 1,499. He had a great game, he's a super kid. He's obviously a corner stone, one of the pillars of our team. It's exciting for him that he was able to accomplish that."
"It's pretty special. I mean, he's kind of bitter about it but he's a good sport and it means a lot just to be up with that group of guys who are on that list...it just says a lot about my career here at the University of Montana. It's been a great experience for me, I love the coaches and couldn't of been a better place.
While the marketing department shouldn't be forced into bribing students with shirts, we're down to the very end now and they have to give the students every incentive they can. Shouldn't just being able to come watch your team blow out the opponent by 33 be enough?
Anyway, the shirts were given out last night at the Sac State game but seeing as no one showed up, there'll be plenty left for the NAU game.
For live photos from tonight's game against Sac State, go to flickr.com/grizzoulian. For some live comments on what's going on, go to twitter.com/colinokeefe. Also, the live comments will shown in the little flash item below.
Also, I'm going to try and get player and coach comments after the game. If you have any ideas or certain questions you'd like me to pose, leave them in the comments.
Up to this point, my coverage of the Griz-Cat basketball game has been nothing short of God-awfully wretched. One entry, that's it. It's been an interesting week and I hope to do as Lloyd did and TOTALLY redeem myself.
For those who get the reference, here's the 70 mpg moped that will be my Montana Grizzlies/Montana State Bobcats coverage: I will be providing live comments and images from the game.
Now, that won't be done right here on the Grizzoulian, but on other pages done by me. For live images taken from the student section go to flickr.com/grizzoulian. For my short comments on whatever's going on, go to twitter.com/colinokeefe.
Also, the game's on KPAX. Starts at seven.
This morning's Kaimin has a story on the results so far. It's not good. Up to this point the men's team is averaging 390. It's only 10 off the pace of conference-leading NAU but still abysmal when compared to the goal for the season. O'Day now says he'd be content with a bit less than the original 900.
According to the article, O'Day now says he would have to see 700 at each game to consider displacing the 450 season ticket holders. Five of the Griz's final seven games are at home so the students have plenty of opportunities to get out there.
O'Day also says that it's not just about showing up:
In addition to more students, O’Day said he would like to see more enthusiasm and passion from the students at the games. As it is, students often filter in after games have tipped off and sit and watch passively, he said.
“It reminds me of a Lakers game in Los Angeles,” O’Day said, alluding to an atmosphere where it is more important to be seen supporting a team than actually trying to bolster it.
O’Day said an unenthusiastic crowd rubs off on the team and that his primary goal in potentially relocating the students is giving a boost to the team.
“I know that that’s been frustrating to (the Griz), and that‘s one of the things that I hope we can do down the stretch here,” he said.
The Griz are making efforts to get it started with Saturday's Griz-Cat game. Doors will open a half hour early—at 5:30—and free t-shirts will be given out to the first 800 students as part of a white-out.
- "We'll be right back. Key game between two teams battling it out for sixth place." Ugh.
- Griz start second same way they started the first, by shooting the long ball. Hasquet and Staudacher make a pair of threes.
- Then Drew gets an offensive rebound and puts it back. 8-0 run to start the half. Well done. Good pep talk.
- Griz need to reign it in as Sharp and Hasquet huck up a couple long ones that don't fall.
- 32-30 at first media timeout.
- Pace picks up as EWU hits a pair of threes while the Griz get a couple plays off penetration. 36-36.
- The Griz just shot their first FT. There's 12:36 left in the second half.
- Staudacher hits another trey. 13 points. 5-5. How good can he get in two more years?
- 42-41. As Mick would say, we're not at crunch time right now, but you can almost see it from here. OK, normally he says it with like 6 minutes left, little early. I just don't want this to be another close game.
- Broadcasters calls this a "beautiful game." I disagree.
- Martin penetrates and kicks to CET, who makes a three. Nope, that isn't backwards.
- Staudacher drains one with a hand in his face. 6-6.
- 46-45 Griz. 9:00. Please, get a bigger lead.
- EWU gets two offensive rebounds. Bald guy gets basket and goes to the line for 3-point play. Come on fellas.
- Great give-and-go on what looked like an impromptu pick-and-roll between Qvale and Staudacher. Brian gets a dunk. My favorite play of the game.
- 50-48 Griz. 7:10.
- "Couple of baskets while we were away." Um, what? 52-50 Griz.
- Staudacher misses his first but hustles for the rebound, forces a foul. Griz ball. Great play. These are the type of hustle plays that win close games... unless you fail to score on the ensuing possession. Which is what happened.
- 52-51 Griz. 3:28. Martin just chucked a long 3 early in the shot clock. Need smarter play down the stretch.
- And there it is. Great penetration by Martin. Lays it off to Drew for a lay-in and 3-point opportunity. Makes it.
- 55-51 Griz. 2:30. Push it guys. Make it 6.
- Ahhh. Matt dribbles around with an open CET on the wing. Keeps it. Griz don't even get a shot off as EWU comes down and cuts it to two. 1:17 left. 55-53.
- Griz really need to prove they can win a close game.
- Jordan makes a very tough shot just inside the FT line. Ball bounces around as I nearly pass out then finally falls through.
- EWU misses a forced 3-pointer. Time to make FTs. Jordan makes a pair, 59-53, :26. Yes. Finally.
- CET misses the front-end. 59-57, :7.6. Come on. Ball has to go to Martin or Staudacher on this inbound. Be smart, don't try to make a risky pass.
- Martin does go to the line, misses the first. EWU runs down then DeLeon loses the handle doesn't get a shot off. Jesus. I was about 95% sure he was going to make a 3 for the win. Everyone shoots a 1,000 FTs tomorrow.
- Alright, Griz finally get a close win, even though they tried to give it away. I'll take it.
- There's no one there. Shocking. Lots of echoes. Sounds like a high school scrimmage.
- Flurry of threes to start out, including CET stopping and popping. Will be interesting to see his continued development as an offensive threat.
- Plenty of guard offense early.
- Hasquet off to a strong start with a pair of threes and some play in the post. Looking for some redemption after tough game against Portland State.
- Early on, Eagles have four offensive boards. Last game, when we won by 19, the Griz out-rebounded the Eagles 36-15.
- Score is 20-14 Griz with 8:00 left. Sloppy game so far. I don't want to bash on the Griz too much because there's been some solid play but I can't help but glance at the score and think "we're still winning, really?" Eagles are getting lots of rebounds and layups.
- Once again, our commercials are phenomenal. Please, get those out there more. I don't know what we paid for those but we could've paid a lot more and it still would've been worth it.
- Stads is great coming off picks. Love that play where he flies out of the left corner, catches and pops it at about the free throw line. Usually pretty early in the shot clock.
- Lots of points in the paint early. To be fair, I'm writing this after they just scored on the small D. Even so, if I had to guess, they have roughly 14 of their 20 points in the paint.
- Series of turnovers and EWU ties it at 22 after a 8-2 run.
- Strait a non-factor so far. Echoing what broadcaster said: hopefully not a repeat of Jordan vs. PSU.
- Official points in the paint: 18 off EWU's 22. Think he said we have 4.
- Qvale having a rough afternoon. 1-6 from the field right now.
- Griz don't get a good look at all on last possession of the half. Griz really need to work on scoring in situations like that.
- Poor showing from the big lineup so far. Getting killed on the boards and allowing a lot of points in the paint.
- EWU's AD is on at half time. If O'Day and Chaves somehow got in a fight, O'Day would pwn. Just sayin'.
- 26-24 as we head to the second.
Yeah, so if you're beyond sick of hearing Emmitt, Jaws & Co. yap about the Super Bowl, take a break and watch the Griz, which may or not be three times more painful.
The Missoulian article says the Griz are not taking the Eagles for granted even though they beat them by 19 just 10 days ago. Good. At this point, I wonder if there is a team out there these Griz could take for granted. It's not that they're bad, it's the complete lack of consistency.
Game is on Altitude, or channel 59 if you have basic Bresnan cable, at 2:00 MT.
In the first seven minutes, I believe the Lady Griz were shooting somewhere around 25 percent from the field. At that 13:00 mark, the Lady Griz were down 18-6.
Then a 3-pointer by senior guard Laura Cote sparked a 11-2 run in which she hit another jumper while Johanna Closson knocked down a pair of shots from beyond the arc. After another Closson 3-pointer put the Lady Griz ahead 22-20 at the 5:46 mark, the Lady Griz didn't trail again.
I got a chance to speak with Coach Selvig and Britney Lohman after the game. They left a similar impression: the Lady Griz play with a perfect balance of confidence and respect for the opposition.
I first asked Lohman what coach Selvig says coming into games like the one against the Eagles (who have yet to win a conference game). Her response: "It's a big game no matter who we're playing." When asked about falling down early, said the shots just weren't falling but everyone was confident they'd make their run.
Selvig, almost the same thing: "We make every game the biggest we got." Also: "Our girls play with a lot of confidence."
The Griz were down 17-2 early. I was at the Lady Griz game, checking scores on my phone and was so mad at how flat the guys came out that I barely noticed the ladies were pissing away their own matchup against PSU. Then things turned around. The Lady Griz won in OT and Matt Martin pulled the Griz by their shaggy, ridiculous-looking hair to a 37-34 advantage.
Back to the fires of hell it went. In the second half, Martin sees less of the floor than a blind man and the Griz are down twelve with 9:00 to go. Then CET (gets career-high 15 points) hits a three and a two. Killa Cam knocks down back-to-back treys and Stads knocks down a pair of deuces and the Griz are right there.
Flash forward. :41 left, tie game, Griz ball after Qvale's fourth block. Cam dribbles it down to nothing (intentionally, nothing wrong with that). Ball goes down to Drew. He misses. Dominguez, hustles it out, gets fouled with :05.7 left. Nails both and the Griz are in a position they've been in before. See: Weber State, Idaho State. That's just in conference. There's more.
Griz break the press and push the ball up the court. Cam gets what Mick called a good luck from 13 feet. It goes in and out. If it's me, I do give the ball to Rundles in that position only because Martin's been sitting so long and the D is looking for him.
That's the Griz season. This game defines the whole damn season more than anything else. But hey, EWU lost so we're still looking at a 6-seed. God, this season is horrendous.
Let's lay out the facts, Griz were down 17-2 but are up 37-34 at half. Once again, Martin had 15.
I don't want to discuss it completely because I'm sure it'll come later via Gar and Sanchez but here's what I do with Martin: give him starter minutes but bring him in off the bench. Who knows what happens if he gets stuck in the same funk the starters were in or if he's out there when the Viks are knocking down everything?
He was perfect coming off the bench. He did exactly what he was supposed to: played like his hair was on fire and provided a giant offensive spark.
Great game so far by Martin. Finish it off.
Nonetheless, this game should be enjoyable. Last season, the Lady-Griz lost a single game during the conference's regular season and ran away with the regular season title. At this point in the season, things are a little more interesting, especially with the schedule ahead.
After Saturday night's three league games, the first half of Big Sky play will come to an end. With just two home games and six road games over the back half of the conference schedule, Montana and Northern Arizona will face the toughest stretch over the final five weekends leading up to the 2008 Big Sky Conference Tournament.Now the big question, go to the Lady Griz game or listen to the fellas? As of 5:42, I'm undecided.
Northern Colorado and Eastern Washington both have six of their final eight at home, Portland State and Idaho State have five, Weber State has four and Montana State and Sacramento State three.
Via the grizzlyjournal:
I would think the Vikings would want to be the aggressors Thursday to take advantage of the team's superior depth and athleticism. PSU has a surplus of big bodies to throw at Hasquet, Strait and Qvale and I think Murray and Huff (and freshman Justynn Hammond) will be tough matchups on the perimeter. Tinkle's reliance on the bigs should play to PSU's strengths, whether they can execute will be the question.Before I respond, here's what grizzlyjournal's Glenn Junkert had to say in his scouting report on PSU:
...it’s been 5’-6” junior transfer point guard Jeremiah Dominguez who has been the key cog in Portland State’s success so far. Dominguez leads the Big Sky Conference in steals (2.00 per game), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.65) and ranks third in assists (3.94 per game). He also paces the Vikings in scoring with a 12.1 per-game average. Dominguez is a slasher who creates havoc when he penetrates into the key. Morrison and Huff are the key benefactors of Dominguez’ penetrate and kick style.In simple terms: the Viks offense essentially revolves around Dominguez' ability to get into the paint. Dominguez is 5'6". This fascinates me. I wish the game were on TV. Define playing into another team's hands: having your offense revolve around a 5'6" guard driving against a giant front line anchored by 6'11" swat-machine Brian Qvale. If all works out, Dominguez can't get by the bigs and the perimeter players have no need to collapse—eliminating any penetrate and kick-out game. It'd be like tossing a hand grenade into a wet cardboard box. If it doesn't work out, Qvale gets in foul trouble and we start tossing sh*t at the wall. Should be interesting.
- Three is a streak. For this inconsistent Griz team, winning back to back games is nothing to scoff at. At the same time, winning two games over teams in the conference's lowest tier isn't something to rest on. A win tonight would legitimize this streak and set them up nicely for a road sweep and four-in-a-row with EWU up next. That's a sizable chunk heading into the second half of conference play.
- The big lineup doesn't suck. At this point, the Qvale-Strait-Hasquet-Staudacher-CET lineup looks phenomenal. Tonight, they will face a balanced, versatile Viking team with skilled players in both the front and backcourt. A blowout loss at the hands of the Vikings could send the Griz coaching staff back to the drawing board. This season has been flipped over enough times, we do not need that again.
- We can play with the contenders. Going into this season, who would've thought we'd be asking ourselves if the Griz could play forty minutes with the best teams in the conference? At this point, I have no idea. I'd like to think we can after dominating league-leading NAU for one half of basketball but who knows? A win over PSU (tied with the leaders in the loss column) would prove that the Griz can play with anyone in the conference.
- Time to re-evaluate goals. After the loss to Weber State, there was a team meeting in which coach Tinkle asked the players what their goals were for the rest of the season. They said they were content just making the Big Sky Tournament. A win here should change that. I mean if we pick up a couple wins, at some point you have to once-again look at making the real tournament and maybe getting a bye-week on the way.
The argument undermining the quality of these wins is that the Eagles and Bears are terrible and small. Well, remember, going into the EWU game, the Eagles had two more conference wins than the Grizzlies. And the Bears? They beat first-place Weber played close games against Montana State and Portland State. Very capable of beating an inconsistent Montana team.
Now the other argument, that they're small and our bigs should dominate easily. OK, if someone proposed this lineup to you before these couple games, what type of teams would you be most afraid of? Small quick teams like EWU and NoCo or big teams who run closer to our speed? It'd be EWU and NoCo. Going into the game, I was terrified of what Adris DeLeon—coming off a 42 point effort against NoCo—would do to this big and slightly slower lineup. After the game I thought DeLeon was a prick and our big lineup was more than capable of defending guards like him.
Looking forward to seeing how these guys do on the road against PSU. Also, anyone know where I can get a #44 Montana jersey?
“Today, at the beginning of practice, coach brought us in and asked us what we thought a realistic goal was for us at this point,” Montana senior Andrew Strait said after Tuesday's spirited workout. “We mentioned we just want to be in the top six at the end of league so we can get in the tournament. I think that's plenty realistic at this point. We have 11 league games left, plenty of time to crack that top six.”As a fan, it blows to hear this. It's admitting some sense of defeat. Personally, I've been dying to see the Griz host a conference tournament. I've been here for three years and have yet to see them battle for a NCAA Tournament bid inside Dahlberg. Of course, I'd rather have them win the conference tournament instead of the regular season but who doesn't want to see what this place would be like for a BSC Tournament?
The goal is realistic and at this point, seems like the best-case scenario. The thing is, you wish the players wouldn't realize what the fans already have. When hearing this, the first thing that jumped into my mind was the '95 Seattle Mariners. Going into September, the M's were down like 10 games to the Angels. There's a story of a locker room exchange between Jay Buhner and another player. The other player said something like "Hey, if we get our act together, we can win the wild card." Then Buhner said something along the lines of "Fuck the wild card, we can we this thing." Where the hell is that mentality? Is there a single guy on this team with that sense of confidence and ability to lead? I doubt it at this point but if the Griz go on a small roll over the next few games, I hope it emerges somewhere.
At Montana State, senior guard Carlos Taylor scored a career-high 34 points in rallying the Cats past the Griz in the Big Sky Conference opener. At Northern Arizona, center Kyle Landry ended up with a career-high 25 points, but it was the penetration of point guard Josh Wilson that got the ball into Landry's hands in the Jacks' big second half.This doesn't include Portland's Nik Raivio hitting a game winning 3 or Fullerton absolutely killing us with the same shot.
Then last week at home, it was Idaho State guard Donnie Carson who grabbed the rebound of his own miss and put back the winning basket. Three nights later, Weber State point guard Dezmon Harris scored 17 points and 5-foot-6 reserve guard Kellen McCoy added nine more and came up with a decisive offensive rebound in the waning seconds.
Weber's Harris and McCoy might be the toughest tandem the Griz have faced. Harris was 5-for-6 from 3-point range, but he's equally adept at driving to the basket and drawing fouls. McCoy shoots a whopping 49 percent from 3-point range, but at 5-6, can be past his defender in a flash.
So, where do we go? If you asked 10 passionate, intelligent Griz fans what they'd do in an attempt to cure the problem, at least eight would say the same thing: play Zach Graves. Continue Reading...
The Montana Grizzlies basketball team has lost 9 of 11 games. Those two wins: against NAIA Montana Tech and Sac State, who at the time had a single Division 1 win. Unbelievable. As Matt Martin pivot-stepped his way to another Griz loss, I couldn't help but smirk at how bad things have gotten.
It reminds me of a scene from the No Country for Old Men (here's a heads up, do not watch the last 15 minutes) where Tommy Lee Jones' character describes to a fellow cop a murderous scheme where a man and women invite older couples to a bed and breakfast, torture them, steal their Social Security checks and kill them before burying them in the back yard. Jones says no one noticed until an old man ran from the premises wearing nothing but a dog collar. The other, much younger cop chuckles before catching himself. Jones' character gives him an "it's alright" look and says "sometimes all you can do is laugh."
The thing is, when is this team going to wake up and see the nude, escaping 70-year-old? What's it going to be? A 20 point home loss at the hand of Montana State? It's getting ridiculous.
Here's an excerpt from the Missoulian's preview on the game:
“A slight bit of frustration has moved off of their shoulders,” said Griz basketball coach Wayne Tinkle, whose team notched its first Big Sky Conference victory last Saturday at Sacramento State while winning for just the second time in nine games. “There's also been a little bit of eagerness; they've been a little owly. I think they're looking forward to the league (home) opener here (Thursday) night.” [...]As evidenced by two losses earlier in the season to Cal-State Fullerton and Portland, home-court advantage does not automatically translate into a win. Tonight they should be extra-wary as a huge turnout is less than likely. I say that because a majority of students haven't made their way back to Missoula yet, myself included (had to work). Hopefully the community can pick up the slack but these Thursday night games are rough.
Tinkle has warned his team that playing a home game is no magic potion.
“That was the first thing we said when we came together as a team on Monday,” Tinkle said. “Home-court advantage is only an advantage if you make it so. You have to do that by playing with energy, a sense of urgency and physical play. If you come out and establish all those things right away, you can get things going.”
Even though home-court advantage doesn't directly translate into wins, the Griz have to convert as many opportunities as they can. Home games during the conference season are like free-throws. You have to convert on them or they've going to come back and bite you hard. Probable somewhere around the calf/ankle area. Not just nip. Home conference losses will take most of your lower leg and you'll be forced to play catchup in the standings on half of a leg road games. Not fun. Here's the thing: the Griz are terrible at making free throws.
For more pre-game insight, the grizzlyjournal always has great scouting; this game is no exception.
For Sunday's special Show your Attitude on Altitude game, the first 1,500 general admission fans get let in free.
There's one problem, Sunday is Championship Sunday. Here's the solution, enjoy it and watch sports all day. The AFC Championship is on at 1. That should be pretty much over by the time the 2:00 tip rolls around. Then the Griz game should done by the 4:30 start of the NFC Championship game. It's like a 5 minute walk/ten minute stumble to the press box, where I will likely be headed to watch the Packers advance. Feel free to join me.
The Montana State Bobcats basketball team was livin' the good life. On top of already beating a WAC and Pac-10 team, they had recently outplayed and demoralized the rival Griz. With the worst team in the conference next on the schedule, it looked like the hot streak would run at least one more game. Nope.
The Sac State Hornets, who had not beat a Division I team all year, knocked off the Cats 78-77. The Cats battled back from being 9 down with less than six minutes to go and led with 1:15 left. Then Sac missed a shot, Cats got the ball and were fouled with 17.9 seconds left. Phil Friesen missed both. Hornets got the ball and freshman guard Vinny McGhee Jr found senior forward Justin Williams for a 16-foot baseline winner with 4.7 seconds left.
Here are some quotes from the Bozeman Chronicle:
It's worth noting that Carlos Taylor scored 34. Again.
“Yeah, I'm frustrated,” MSU coach Brad Huse said, before quickly crediting Sacramento State with dictating the pace and flustering his team, which shot 38.0 percent an committed two technical fouls.
“We came back and had a chance to win it, and it would've been a good win on the road.”[...]
“We got beat up by a freshman guard tonight,” Huse said, adding: “We're not going to win a lot of games unless we get more balance in scoring.”
Agreed Taylor: “People who usually make shots didn't make shots.”
Now the Cats head to NAU, where'll they'll take a long bus ride up to 7000 feet and try to succeed where the Griz didn't. Needless to say, it wouldn't be surprising to see both the Griz and Cats sitting at 1-2 after Saturday. If the Griz are 0-3, I'm gonna lose it.
I'd say it's damn near impossible to start a game better than the Lady Griz started last night. Twelve minutes in, the Lady Griz were up 24-0. Not only is that on pace to pitch a shut-out, but also to score about 85-90 points. Both the offense and defense were there. The Lady Griz led 44-14 at half en route to a 77-55 win. Here's Britney Lohman on the win:
“We came out with a vengeance tonight,” said Lohman, who matched her season high with 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting. “It was tough to lose to them (last season) on our home floor in front of our fans, especially in the conference tournament.I have no doubt that Lohman, who led the LG with 18 points, was not only vengeful over last season's loss, but her recent legal troubles as well. Lohman and Johanna Closson combined to score the Lady Griz's first 22 points, each netting 11.
“Tonight we were going to send a message of how we're going to play this year and not be scared of a team that handed it to us last year.”
- I thought the second half against MSU was the worst I've ever seen. This one comes close.
- The Griz got away from what they did in the first half. The offense was horrendous. I can't think of a single good offensive possession that stands out in the entire second twenty minutes. Just horrendous. In the first half the Griz ran a patient yet purposeful offense.
- Shooting wasn't there. The Griz were not getting Staudacher the ball. He also wasn't getting the same open looks. As I'm typing this in what are essentially garbage minutes, Staudacher hits a fadeaway three. Inside offense should be run around Jordo and Drew while outside game points toward him. Great personnel for an inside-out offense and we're not taking advantage of it.
- Free throws weren't good. The turning point in the game was probably with about six minutes left when the broadcasters said it would come to free throws. I knew we'd have a tough time from there.
- Cam fouled out really early on some terrible calls. The charge that sent him out was awful as the defender really slid in front of him. While it was going downhill before that, once he went out, the offense didn't have much flow.
- I don't know what else to say. It was your typical Griz second half. It was awful. As it was happening I wanted to tell myself that this would be different, that NAU would make a run and we'd make one and pull away. Didn't happen. They made a run, tied it, then got a few good possessions and some breaks, then it was over.
- Ceylon Elgin-Taylor's foul trouble hurt bad.
- This team doesn't have it. Not right now, probably not this season. They cannot play forty minutes. There is zero composure. None. No one—coaches, upper-classmen, not anyone—is holding this team together. No composure. Cam picked up a ticky tack charge to foul out then Jordan Hasquet drills someone and gets an intentional foul. Game was pretty much over after that.
- And I thought we didn't get enough fans. There is no one at this game. Based on TV it looks like there's less than 500 people there. No, I'll be honest. Based on TV it looks like there are less than 100 people at the game.
- The University of Montana needs to find a way to get on TV more. This is too good. Get on FSN Rocky Mountain. "They have professional hockey, basketball and baseball though! And bigger colleges!" So does FSN AZ. This is great. Look at how many people are at this game.Griz games would get at least three times as many viewers.
- NAU's commercials blow.
- The offense looks good. Not great, but good. Hell, when Ryan Staudacher is in and CET is running the point, I'll give it a "very good."
- CET: He is the starting point guard and should get most of the minutes at that spot. He can't shoot. Sooo, that's why he's not a shooting guard. He's great at distributing and driving to the basket. Not great at finishing but just driving opens up so much on offense.
- Ryan Staudacher should be getting star minutes. Jordan Hasquet-like minutes. He is great. The knock on Ryan is that he can't "create his own shot." I've said it myself and I don't think it's wrong either. The thing is, he is the very best person on the team at getting open shots. He comes off his screens harder than any other Griz. Once he gets the looks, he knocks them down. The hustle is the best part though. Watch him. No one gets as open as him.
- Martin is a shooting guard. That's just the way it is. The offense slows down a bit (not a ton) when he's at the 1. He's better filling in as a shooter.
- Griz are killing NAU on the boards. It's 19 to 10. Not even close. NAU is not boxing out at all and the Griz are taking advantage.
- Griz are making the extra pass. It's happened a couple times. Both times I recall had the pass going to Drew. One where the shot clock was winding down and Cam found him for a layup. Another time, Jordo was close to the basket, went up for a shot against a double team then laid it off to Drew as he was going up. Drew finished easily.
- NAU is not a very good team. At least not right now. They're not making their shots and are getting killed on the boards. A win here could do a lot of good to the Griz's confidence considering NAU's success in past years. This year, they're a bad good team. Yes, I meant to type both words.
- Griz need to play 40 minutes. If they do, they'll pull away and the 'Jacks won't even be there at the end. That's been the knock on the Griz to this point. This is there chance to rid themselves of it.
- They showed a graphic saying the Lady Griz were down 26-3 at half to NAU. They had it wrong, it's the other way around. Ahahahahaha.
Every week we say "Well, it's gonna get better the next week." It's like a guy that fell out of a 20-story building and every time he went by each floor he hollered "Hey, I'm doin' okay so far!" Lou HoltzThe Griz kept falling and according to Wayne Tinkle, it sounds like they're still saying "Well, it's gonna get better next week." This from The Missoulian:
“We're past the point of screaming and yelling to try to motivate and keep guys focused,” Montana coach Wayne Tinkle said. “We're past the point of doing a bunch of break-down drills in practice. Our guys know how to defend ... they know how to run our stuff offensively, and when we do all that, we're pretty darn good. Now we have to do it from tap to finish.I don't want to be one of the fans who's beginning to turn on Coach Tinkle because I'm not. However, I do not like what he's saying in these quotes. The middle one is alright but the other two sound terrible if you take a slightly closer look at them. They have a "we've done all we can, it's on the players now" theme to them. Sounds like he's saying "I've tried screaming and they just won't respond... I've taught them how to play defense and run the offense, they just won't. If they don't come out fired up they're going to get killed."
“We're just short of that one breakthrough. If we can do that in one of the games this weekend ... everybody's going to be able to take a deep breath and say, ‘OK, we finally did it for 40 minutes.' That's the point we're at.” [...]
“If we come out with the energy and focus that we have every game to this point, we'll be in good shape,” Tinkle said. “But if we let them come out and throw the first punch ... it could get ugly. I'm confident our guys will come out with the right frame of mind.”
I know you can only blame the coaches so much, the players have to go out and do what they're supposed to do. I'm just sensing a small rift between the players and the coaches that first reared its head when Tinkle first called out his guys, telling The Missoulian that their play in the second half of the MSU game was "a joke."
Who knows, maybe this is what they needed. Maybe it will push them to get their act together and win a Division 1 game. They need something. I personally don't think this is it but I'm also not a Division 1 head basketball coach.
According to DirecTV's guide (pictured above), tonight's game against Northern Arizona should be on Fox Sports Net Arizona. Of course, you have to get that channel to get the game. It's not included in basic packages and requires that you have some sort of sports pack. It does not require you to have any college hoops package, I believe. I'm really not sure. I'm assuming it's possible they black out the game like they do baseball ones but this game isn't listed on the ESPN FullCourt schedule so why would it be blacked out?
I'm really not trying to get my hopes up too far after what happened last week. Imagine if that game hadn't been blacked out and this game actually goes on air. Back-to-back televised Griz games in the span of one week. Is this what it's like rooting for a big-time team? Must be nice.
It was the greatest night Mathias Ward ever had on a basketball court, and he had to make sure the evening had a happy ending.
Ward, Gig Harbor's 6-foot-6 forward, broke school records with 56 points and 23 rebounds as the Tides beat the Central Kitsap Cougars in overtime Friday night, 83-78.
Ward, who dominated the paint, scored his team's final eight points, including four in the final 1:14 to send the game into overtime.
"I knew I needed a big game for us to get a victory," said Ward, who has signed with Montana.
While reading this article I pulled up Google Maps and calculated the time it takes to drive from my house on Bainbridge Island to Gig Harbor...1 hour, 11 minutes. Hm.
When it comes to the Griz, there's
It sounds dumb, doesn't it? It's right there with the Princeton Offense as one of the most basic gameplans in all of basketball. Opponents should be able to pick up on it and defend easily, right? If this were the case, why would the Phoenix Suns, possibly the NBA's most effective offense, continue to go to it?
Imagine, Jordan Hasquet could be a whiter, hairier and slower Big Sky version of Amare Stoudamire. It'd be great. Toss in Cam Rundles or CET as a de facto Steve Nash and you have it. Why can't this work? Let's take a look at the possibilities while running a basic, top of the key, Cam/Jordo pick and roll:
- Cam gets pick, drives down lane and lays it up and in on sleepy defense
- Cam gets pick, defense recovers too late and he's fouled
- Defense swarms, Cam kicks it to Staudacher or Martin for wide open three
- Cam drives down lane, help-side D comes, Cam lays it off to Drew for a dunk.
- Defense tries to jump under screen, Cam hits jumper from the elbow
- Both defenders jump on Cam, bounce pass to Jordo for thunderous dunk
- Cam passes to Jordo off screen, Jordo gets fouled.
- Griz run pick and pop. Cam gets screen, D follows him down the lane, he passes back to Jordo for three.
Q: You go to a lot of Griz basketball games. What's your favorite part of it?It'd be fun to see Jeff to a game and stand with the students. Jeff, if you're reading this, feel free.
A: I just love watching these guys play and I really appreciate the purity of the game at the college level. Jordan (Hasquet) is an exciting local kid, Cam (Rundles) is amazing, (Brian) Qvale has a great future. To me, it seems like they really enjoy playing together. I think Wayne (Tinkle) is doing a great job. But the best games I remember seeing were when I went to school here from 1981-83. The place would be just packed. I wish it could get back to that type of atmosphere, like football is now. I guess I just don't really get why basketball hasn't taken off again like that. It's probably the best value in town for the entertainment. The team can do a lot this year and they're fun to watch, and hopefully that will translate into ticket sales.
Q: Who are your favorite all-time Griz basketball players?
A: Oh man, that's a tough one. My man Larry (Krystkowiak) and Wayne (Tinkle) are going to kill me. Those guys are in my top four, no doubt, but I have to go with Micheal Ray Richardson. I saw Micheal Ray play when I was younger. For 10 bucks, we could ride a bus from Big Sandy and come watch the Griz. I'd never seen such a great player. I also love Derrick Pope. That guy was unbelievable.
Montana closed the first half and opened the second half with a flurry of made threes. It looked good at the time but couldn't have been more detrimental to the final outcome.
Throughout the entire second half, the Griz jacked up poor outside shot after poor outside shot. It was dreadful. Every time the Griz went inside, points were there for the taking. The inside-out game was there. The 25-foot treys and fadeaway jumpers were not.
When MSU made their run and grabbed the game, the Griz didn't put up an ounce of effort as they fell to the canvas. The Cats were the more disciplined and efficient team. Throughout the game, they stuck to their gameplan and ran a balanced offense. The Griz did not. They panicked, tried to be heroes, fell behind and tried to jack up threes.
The Griz have not won a D1 game in more than a month. It's been since the weekend following Thanksgiving. Depressing, huh? This 07-08 season doesn't feel like last year anymore. It's worse.
I missed a lot of the first half trying ti figure the TV thing out so I don't have a ton to offer. It sounds like the Griz are running a solid, patient offense. There was at least one time where Rundles lofted up a trey early in the shot clock but that was all I heard. Once again, I didn't hear much.
Ceylong Elgin-Taylor made a positive impact in the first half. I like having him running the point. He did a great job in the Fulerton game and it sounds like he's doing the same here. If Rundles can regain last year's form these two should prove to be a very skilled tandem. We just need CET shooting thousands of FTs every day.
As for the bigs, I'm not really sure what's going on. I believe Jordo his being his usual self, just going off the few plays I've heard. Drew has six points at half. Not a ton for him, but it'll do right now. Hopefully he can get more in the next twenty minutes.
The Griz have led and trailed, had both positives and negatives on offense and defense. However, you'll always take a lead at half in a conference rivalry game on the road.
Well, there's some kind of biology or nature expert on at half. I'm getting a beer. Tonight's beverage: Newcastle.
For the Griz, this is the first step in erasing a disappointing non-conference season. It's also a chance to pick up an impressive road win and potentially re-establish themselves as the favorite to win the conference.
For the Cats, it's a chance to kick their rivals while they're down. They looked great in non-conference play and a win here establishes them as a Big Sky power.
For those still in Big Sky country, this game is on KPAX. For all of those wishing you were, it's on DirecTV channel 693. Just a reminder: it's free.
A live blog with complete with scores, analysis and rants is after the jump. Continue Reading...
Tonight though, is not one of those rough nights. The Montana/Montana State basketball game will be shown on ESPN FullCourt. Channel 693. It says the game starts at 8 ET on the guide but both team's web pages say 7:05 Mountain Time. Alright, now that everything's out of the way. Tonight's game will be on TV, for free. It's part of the package's free preview, which extends tonight through the twelfth. So, as long as you have DirecTV, you get the game. Enjoy.
Oh, and if you're really ADD and need multiple Griz things to look at, there'll be a live blog running here as well.
Also, all you lucky local people—well all of you not in Bozeman...any Bozone Griz fans should definitely be at the game—the game can be seen on KPAX at 7.
Deadspin has the complete .pdf and a list of just how many updates you can give per sport:
Fall SportsThe best response I've seen to this comes from a commenter on Deadspin:
Soccer: Five times per half; one at halftime
Field Hockey: Five times per half; one at halftime
Volleyball: Three per Competition; one in between Competitions
Football: Three per quarter; one at halftime
Cross Country: Ten per day/session
Men's Water Polo: Three per quarter; one at the halftime
Ice Hockey: Three per period - one in between (includes overtime)
Basketball: Five times per half; one at halftime; two times per overtime period
Wrestling: Ten per session
Indoor Track and Field: Ten per day/session
Swimming and Diving: Ten per day/session
Bowling: Ten per day/session
Gymnastics: Ten per session
Help Wanted: NCAA Blog WranglerThe reason behind the regulation: the NCAA is worried fans will go to a live blog instead of getting their updates from media who paid for the writes to broadcast the game. Yeah, right. I read a lot of live blogs and I've never thought of reading one instead of watching or listening to a game. Who would? Well, I could watch this game on tv... or I could read a sarcastic and satirical post on it without any play-by-play. Right.
Must have prior experience looking over other people's shoulders. Abacus provided for counting, but applicant must procure own horse-and-buggy ride to/from athletic facility.
The NCAA needs to wake up. Not only does this have little effect seeing as most live blogs are done by people who themselves are at home watching games watching TV, but it also negatively affects college sports. More coverage means more exposure and attention for athletes. It means more information for fans. Why limit that when, realistically, it isn't hurting anyone? On top of limiting the big time sports, they limit posts on other, non-revenue, ones as well. If a member of the press wants to provide an endless stream of updates to a cross country or a track meet that otherwise has no media exposure, why stop them?
A lot of Griz fans are arguing that we need to go with who they say are our best players and pound it get it to the bigs more. At the same time, others are calling for the guards to get more touches and have more control over the offense.
What if we did both?
Think about this: when was the last time the Griz ran a great pick and roll? When was the last time a guard knifed down the lane and kicked it out for a wide open three? When was the last time guard took a pick, got to the hoop then laid it off to a big for a huge dunk? I sure as hell can't remember.
I listened to and live blogged throughout the Santa Clara game and heard Mick and Mike constantly say things like "Great offensive possession for the Broncos"..."Really efficient play there"..."Great possession." I don't think I can recall them saying this more than once or twice for the Griz. Santa Clara had a phenomenal inside-out game.
Imagine this: "Rundles, top of the key, gets a pick from Drew, hits it hard and comes flying down the lane kicks to Jordan, swings it to Martin, wide open...DOWN THE PICKEL BARRELLLLL!"
Or: "Martin, off the pick from Jordan, hesitates, bounce pass right back and huge slam!"
It seems like every possession is an either/or. Either we swing it around and take a jumper or cram it down low to Jordan or Drew.
I hope the Griz got some good tape of John Bryant and Santa Clara's inside-out game. The Broncos probably have the best big man we've seen all year and yet they still had the most effectively balanced offense. With the even talent the Griz have at just about every position, they could learn a lot from Santa Clara.
At this point, the Griz basketball season is going the same way a lot of individual games have gone. Every time we get a little run going or see a few positives—like the solid effort at Pacific—we let it all slide away.
These guys have to get out of this mentality that everything is okay because we still have enough talent to win the conference. It's the same way we get down early and figure we can come back in the second half because we have so many talented players. Have you seen what happens? We come up short in every rally. A lot like how we came up short in the Big Sky tournament last season.
I'm not tossing blame on any one person or group of people. This is everyone. We're in a spot where this "it's ok, we'll be fine" attitude isn't going to work. The mentality needs to change. No more "we're okay!" because four straight isn't really "okay." That's bad.
I don't mean to sound like hopelessly pessimistic, because I'm not. I have confidence in this team. As long as they change their ways.
As always, the grizzlyjournal has an excellent preview on the game.
Tonight I'll be running a live blog on the game. I've done this before, but never without TV. I'll be listening to the radio broadcast over the web and offering up any comments and insight I have. On top of that, Glenn Junkert, author of the grizzlyjournal, will be chiming in as well.
It all starts after the jump. Feel free to add whatever comments you have. Continue Reading...
The video above contains Utah State highlights from their 71-65 win over Santa Clara. The video has zero Santa Clara highlights so I can't say for sure what they look like on offense, but I'm gonna guess they feed 6'10" 305 lb center John Bryant repeatedly and let him truffle shuffle his way towards his 20.7 ppg average.
Going off the Utah State highlights, it looks like they beat the Broncos with solid guard play. The video shows the Aggies making several contested shots. This is interesting because shooting by our guards hasn't been so good as of late and it wouldn't be surprising to see the Griz go big against Santa Clara.
My favorite play: watching Bryant try and defend the pick and roll. If we can get him out there on a few of those, it should be an entertaining night.
Every team needs a Mike Chavez. Scratch that, every good team needs a Mike Chavez. Someone who goes out there and gives the rest of the team a proverbial punch to the ear when they're dicking around, letting the other team go on a run or not pulling away from a bad team.
Anyway, here are my three candidates for this year's Mike Chavez:
Yes, he's currently a starter, that doesn't mean he wouldn't be better coming off the bench. Martin already plays with something of a chip on his shoulder, why not make it bigger by bringing him off the bench? He could swagger onto the court, make 2-3 treys and all of a sudden a one point lead is double digits. This may not include reducing his playing time. Tinkle could bring him off the bench a few minutes into the game while still giving him starter-like minutes.
The explosive combo guard could be the most athletic player the Griz have. He's a slasher. A quick guard who can get to the paint and has the hops to finish. Graves is not a drive a dish guy, as we've seen before. He has gotten very few minutes so far, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Here's what I think is going on: Graves' playing time is based on how he's done in practice, which is against team full of bigs. Not quite the type of opponent he'd thrive against. He gets in the paint and it's a sea of four foot long arms. Against some of the smaller, quicker teams we've been playing, that wouldn't happen. I'm surprised he hasn't gotten more minutes considering the size and quickness of our opponents. Imagine a Jeremy Pargo-type player coming off the bench. He's starved for minutes and would fly around on the defensive end while driving hard to the whole on offense. Nothing would get guys pumped and the crowded going like a huge dunk over an opposing forward or center.
At the beginning of the season, Tinkle said he would look at giving this "practice player" more playing time. That hasn't been the case. So why give Greg this spot? You would never question his effort. Out of all the players on the team, I doubt you'll find another who could come off the bench and give the team as much pure effort. He would follow the gameplan and work his ass off. Out of the times I've seen a Griz basketball player at the regular students gym, either shooting around or working out, just about every time it's been Spurgetis. For the short time I worked as a team manager for the Griz, Spurgetis was almost always the last one out of practice and would always put in extra time working on his shot. It's shown too. The kid can knock down a jumper. More than anything else, he can hustle, and that's something this Griz team hasn't shown a lot of.
While the men have lost three straight, Saturday's LG win made it three in a row—all withough star Mandy Morales. On top of that, the Lady Griz made 11 of their last 15 shots to close out the game while the men finish off games like a drunken idiot trying to make the last cup on his fifth game of beer pong.
Sonya Rogers led the Lady Griz with 16 points, 9 of them scored in the final five minutes.
After the wins in Spokane, I was hoping this team wouldn't even sniff .500 until they started out the '08-'09 season at 0-0. After three straight losses, the Griz are back there for the first time since November 11, when they lost to Gonzaga.
I don't know if it was lack of endurance or what but the Griz locked up bad down the stretch. There were very few solid offensive possessions towards the end of regulation. I believe we freed up Staudacher for a wide open 3 in overtime but he missed it. That's the only good offensive set I can remember.
It seems like it's been forever since someone on this team made a game-winning shot. Hasquet had a chance to win the game at the end but missed. From what I heard, this sounded like another jumbled offensive possession. We swung it around for ten seconds before dumping it down to Hasquet and giving him a shot. This came after Pacific came out in a 2-3 zone, something the Griz surely weren't suspecting. Probably wouldn't have hurt to call the last timeout there and reset. We didn't, we missed and it went to overtime.
My guess on why the offensive sets aren't working: having Martin and Staudacher on the court at the same time down the stretch. They have very close to the same game. Neither of these two are particularly quick. They don't quite have the skills required to create their own shots which means they either have to take contested shots or run hard off of screens. It's not a huge knock on them, both are legit spot-up shooters capable of playing the shooting guard position, it's just that we don't need two of almost the same player out there. Staudacher's size gives him an advantage on contested shots—I recall a few occasions where he made a fadeaway with a hand in his face—while Martin has a bit more quickness.
I'm not sure who to plug in there. I've mentioned I few options in an early post: either going big at the three with Hasquet or going with a small three guard set of Rundles, Martin or Staudacher and possible Graves. Basically, the loss of juco transfer Sean Watson hurts and we need to cover up the bald spot he leaves behind as soon as possible.
Here's forward Britney Lohman on the game and playing without guard Mandy Morales:
“It's really great for us to be able to utilize some of our other offensive threats,” said forward Britney Lohman, who tallied eight points and seven rebounds Saturday. “Laura Cote steps up, Lauren Beck steps up in areas where sometimes they're backing (Morales) up and might not get to showcase some of the stuff they have to offer.This is what good teams do to bad teams. They don't let an 0-7 team come in and improve to 1-7. They don't even give them a sniff of it. They beat them by 30+.
“It's really great for our confidence as a whole. When Mandy is tired she doesn't have to play 36 minutes a game. She can come out and rest her foot because other people will be there.”
It was a bad night. Throughout the game, I never really felt too positive about what was going to happen. On the last possession—one in which Cam fed a driving Hasquet—I had a feeling the shot wasn't going to fall. It was just that type of night. The Griz shot less than 25% in the first half and 35% for the game.
Going off the Missoulian article, it sounds as though players aren't buying into the coaches' gameplan.
“We get great looks out of our offense when we run it all the way through,” Strait said. “We're kind of struggling right now with that.”The Griz cannot lose these type of games. In the most recent simulated RPI listings, Portland was over 200. And we lost to them at home! It can't happen. Not when we have a potentially season-defining road trip on tap. I don't know if it's leadership, execution, coaching or the lineups, but it has to change.
“We give him that shot all day long,” Montana coach Wayne Tinkle said of Raivio, who scored 13 of his game-high 17 points after the break. “I am a little disappointed that we left him. We had a timeout where we said stay with their shooters, make them dribble into our big players - we were ready to take charges - and we left him alone for a split second and that was enough for him to get the shot off and make it.”
Tinkle was upset with his team's inability to execute the game plan.
“We took a lot of mediocre shots, to say the least,” Tinkle said. “For whatever reason, we weren't focused on our game plan. We came out and wanted to go 94 feet of pressure. We didn't do it the first four times we scored. Our game plan was to pound it at them, pound it at them, posts take it and finish strong.
“Maybe what happened when we threw it in to them early and we were soft going to the basket, maybe the players said we shouldn't throw it in there anymore. I thought we came out and played very soft on both ends.”
Here's my proposal for the lineups, without really factoring in Cam's possible injury: I believe we have to either go big or go small, no more 'tweener lineups that force us to play the other team's game. We can go big with Qvale-Strait-Jordo-Martin-Cam and squash teams while potentially taking our lumps on the defensive end. One thing is for sure, teams will have to live or die by the outside shot because it'll be tough driving on those bigs. If we go small we toss in the slashers and go with a lineup like Strait-Jordo-Cam-Graves-Martin/Elgin-Taylor. Graves, who is potentially the most athletic player on the team needs to get minutes against smaller quick teams. He also needs minutes when we're trying to press. With Cam not starting and Tinks trying to press, it would've made sense to start Graves.
However, I am not laying this on Coach Tinkle. This loss was on the players. A coach can't do anything to make players shoot that poorly. With that, something does need to be done. A leader needs to step up and discipline needs to be laid down because if the Griz go on this road trip with the mentality they've had in the past two games, they'll come back to Missoula as a 5-7 team.
Nine hundred. That's the number. If we average 900 students per game, we get our courtside seats back, according to Marketing Director Christie Anderson. If not, no dice. As of right now, before the Portland game, we have it. This number/average does not include non-D1 games. However, we only got 600 to the CSF game so the CSU opener is carrying the average. We need to get this going. To all those interested, get the word out. We average 3,000 per football game. We need less than a third. Come on. Imagine, two sports, equally as wild. Get this going, get it out.
Another person in favor of moving the students back: former Griz Engellant says we need to bring back 'The Zoo'
One thing for sure: Engellant is a big fan of the idea of moving the students back to side court in Dahlberg Arena and trying to recreate the old Zoo atmosphere.How much does this sentiment need repeating? The student section can have an enormous impact on the game. That is, when a third of it isn't sitting down while others are moving away at the 8-minute dash. No one can deny that the CSU opener was one of the most enjoyable basketball games of the past three to four years. The only other one that comes close is the Stanford opener. If the students want to get the seats back for good, we have to earn them. Right now, we're not doing it.
"I think it's a great idea," Engellant said. "I really was surprised they had done that (moved the students out) and I know the reasons they do it. But when they built that whole arena I guess I was skeptical.
"That (students at side court) was a huge advantage for us," he elaborated. "Even when they introduced our team and we could go over there and slap five to all the football players who were down there supporting us and standing up.
"The other team would take the ball out of bounds and they'd be screaming in their ear. You talk about a sixth man. That was huge for us. You get the students there and it actually becomes a participatory sport because they will stand.
"I would tell you that we probably wouldn't have had the record we had at home if we didn't have the support of those students at courtside."
Oh, and look at that, football players supporting the basketball team. Who would've thought? Them actually coming and supporting other teams after we go and watch them, sometimes in the cold, and stand for close to four hours? That's amazing.
During a media timeout about halfway through the second half Friday night, I sat down, stared up at the scoreboard and felt like transferring. I wanted to get the hell away from the University of Montana. I'm far too competitive and overly obsessed with sports so I couldn't fathom how I ended up at a school with a basketball and football teams that could lose to Cal State Fullerton and Wofford respectively in the span of one week. Wofford has less students than my high school and for a million dollars I couldn't tell you if Fullerton (if it is in fact a city) is closer to Oregon or Mexico.
On top of this, the Lady Griz lost to Wyoming and my Packers lost to Dallas. The Lady Griz were without Mandy Morales and Wyoming was ranked but it's still a disappointment. Then the Packers lost Favre early and were without Woodson and KGB. Point of this paragraph: the hoops lost was the worse.
This is the year men's basketball is supposed to make its move. At least that was the thought I had going in. This was going to be the year where we only lose two types of games: games against ranked teams and tough conference road games. No more losing to decent mid-major teams most people have never heard of. This was the year we were going to establish ourseves as that mid to upper level mid-major team. Consistently between 15 and 10 in the mid-major rankings. Right now we're not even in the top 25, we're barely in the "also receiving votes" category.
As hopeless as I was Friday night, I still think it can happen. It's going to take better defense and better support but it can and eventually will happen.
Here's the lede from that article: "Tony Bennett wasn't surprised that his No. 9 Cougars had a rough time with unheralded Montana on Friday night.
'I had a feeling it would be a real good test,' Bennett said."
When your team carries that kind of a reputation into a game against a top ten team, things could be worse.
Grizzlies hold on for win against Air Force. The Falcons came into the game 5-0. They were down 18 at half and 23 with 17 minutes to play. Then things went bad. The Falcons used a 15-0 run to help get back in the game. Here's how it ended, courtesy of the Missoulian's lede on the game.
Cam Rundles thought he was going to be on SportsCenter for all the wrong reasons.The Griz did not show that killer instinct they needed to. Letting a team climb back into a game after being down 20+ is never good but a win is a win and it's a lot better being on the other side of these rallies.
The sophomore buried a clutch 3-pointer to help blunt an Air Force rally during the Montana men's basketball team's 59-57 win over the Falcons on Saturday in the Cougar Hispanic College Fund Challenge at the Spokane Arena.
But that wasn't why the Griz guard thought he might show up in ESPN's highlight package. After receiving a football pass from Jordan Hasquet on an inbounds play with seconds remaining, Rundles passed the ball to an unsuspecting Greg Spurgetis, who watched the ball go through his legs and out of bounds with less than a second to play. The Falcons, though, could not muster a shot as time expired.
So what will Rundles do the next time he's in that position?
“I'm going to dribble it out,” Rundles said with a laugh and a shake of his head. “I'd have been on SportsCenter for the all-time record for the dumbest play in the world.”
Griz beat Mississippi Valley State, 69-62. The first half didn't go so well as Wayne Tinkle said his team was in "La-La Land." MVSU was up 30-28 at the break. On Friday, they only scored 29 points the entire game against Washington State. Yeah, it didn't go so well. They wanted to salvage their dignity before getting out of town but that didn't happen as the Griz pulled out the win.
Also, Matt Martin was named Big Sky Player of the Week.
On the Saturday of Cat-Griz, The Missoulian dared to run an article on basketball. While the article, titled "Football rules in town once known for hoops," is only half about basketball while the other half describes football's ascension, it's good to see this town's history of hoops get some press.
Whenever someone asks me about Griz basketball in comparison to football or tells me this is a football town and basketball will never make it, I always counter with something very similar to the lead of the article.
This was a basketball town 25 years ago. No ifs, no ands, no buts about it.I encourage everyone to read the full article, which gives a great depiction of football's ascension in comparison to the fall in basketball. After the jump is one more excerpt, with O'Day describing his hopes for the future of basketball. Continue Reading...
Missoula may not have been the most feared place on the planet for an opposing college basketball team to visit, but it ranked up there. The courtside student section filled to the gills an hour before tip-off, and thousands of town folk filed in behind them.
The atmosphere was electric. The crowds were both feared and revered by opposing coaches, who often talked about how basketball-savvy the fans here were.
For several years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Grizzly men averaged - averaged, mind you - more people at home basketball games than the current Dahlberg Arena (capacity: 7,500) can even hold. If today's basketball team sold out every single home game, it would still never touch a University of Montana attendance record.
Football, on the other hand?
There was a November day in the late 1970s that stands out, but only as a monument to Missoula's apathy toward Grizzly football back then.
It was the final home game of the regular season. It was cold, snowy, and the wind was howling through the unprotected bleachers at Dornblaser Stadium.
Less than 1,000 people showed up to watch Montana. Imagine that: A Grizzly home football game with more than 90 percent of the seats empty.
Because this game was a comlpete blowout (72-47 Griz), let's start with the students' perfomance tonight. It was God awful. Really. The south student section (why the student section is split up into two halves is beyond me) sat the entire game and made zero noise. None. Wonder why the game was so close in the first half (29-27 Griz)? It's probably because the Lights were going at the end completely devoid of any activity.
The second half, the Lights were going at the north end (bleacher side) of the student section. I'm not sure how they could've possibly been rattled because we didn't make much noise. Maybe they were just intimidated by anyone that stood. If that's really all it takes, this shouldn't be too difficult. Case in point: when the Lights were going at a dead student section they were -2; when they were going at a somewhat active student section they were -23.
I want to get this across. The north end was standing the entire game but made almost no noise. Things finally got going when a few rowdy kids walked in with five minutes left and the Griz already up twenty. When we start playing better teams, the students cannot wait til the end of the game to make noise. We also can't wait til we face the good teams to be loud the entire game. Teams practice before they play anyone and we should get this cheering thing down before we play half-decent teams.
Oh, yeah, and almost no one wore the student shirts. I saw less than 50. The marketing department gives out a thousand student shirts and more than half the students show up in ridiculous looking non-Griz attire. You know when you try and look good by wearing Abercrombie and Fitch or Hurley to a sporting event? Yeah, it doesn't look good at all. It's like trying to wear fancy fake athletic shoes to go work out. You're trying to look stylish but the look is doing the exact opposite of what's intended. You know, at most other schools students have to pay for the shirts and they still all wear them. Unbelievable.
Onward with game-relevant material. Martin looked amazing. He drained shot after shot and finished with 13 points. The Griz were led by Hasquet, who was his usual self. His line: 19 points, 8 boards and 4 assists. Tonight the reboarding looked solid, especially from players coming off the bench. Both Qvale and Sharp finished with 10 boards while neither could've played more than 15-20 minutes. Qvale also finished with 8 points on 4 of 6 shooting. Other scoring notes: Drew had 12 and Cam had 13.
While the numbers don't really show it, Zach Graves also impressed tonight. He's easily one of our most athletic players. When he gets in, he puts forth more effort than anyone, as evidenced by his 3 steals (leading the team) in 13 minutes. He finished with 4 points and 1 assist on 2 of 3 shooting.
Back to the crowd thing: besides the students, there was no one there. The official attendance:3,334. Come on. Seriously? We can get behind a football team that plays down to every opponent and has players who terrorize the town but we can't draw 7k for hoops? I'm not saying people should follow basketball more than anything else or that people should abandon our football team. I'm saying anyone who calls themself a Griz fan should actually be a Griz fan, not a Griz football fan.
Edit: the directions were off. The south side is the chair side, the north side has bleachers. Thanks Mr. Gregory McDonald, who apparently hates Griz basketball.
Lights Out: Montana State Northern, the Grizzlies’ Wed. opponent, rolls into town with a 6-0 record, which includes an interesting comparison against a common opponent. The Lights -- an NAIA Div. I school and a member of the Frontier Conference -- are averaging 92.3 points per game. Included in the 6 wins is a 93-82 victory over the University of Regina, which beat the University of Great Falls 84-59. The Griz beat UGF 77-46 in a pre-season game Oct. 31.Against this small, quick, fast scoring offense, it'll be interesting to see if Tinkle changes the lineup a bit. The Lights seem like the type of redshirt freshman guard Zach Graves would do well against. He's a quick kid who could penetrate on a team without a decent shot blocker. The Lights' roster says they have a few guys who are 6'7" and 6'8" but this really means they're about 6'5" and 6'6". I want to see a lineup that includes the 3 guard trio of Martin, Rundles and Graves. Rundles and Graves can fly around while Martin spots up from beyond the arc.
I'm not going to give much of an in-depth recap because I'm so sick of everything Gonzaga-related I can hardly stand.
With that, here's a quick outline of things we did in Sunday's game that would've meant a loss to any team, no matter how good they were:
- Come out flatter than Qvale's feet on the dunk above. At first, we didn't seem intimidated but once the game started we were a little brushed back. Not by the crowd, but by GU's speed. Their pressure on defense rattled us a bit. From the first offensive possession, I could tell we were going to have a tough time getting confidence.
- Not rebound. GU has a size and strength advantage at just about every position but we looked exceptionally bad on the boards. No boxing out, waiting for the ball to come down to us, etc.
- Not making and taking open shots. There were shots that could've kept us in the game. We didn't make several open shots and even more were left untaken. There were several times where an open shooter would get a pass, then take a dribble so he was no longer open and then take a contested shot.
- Go down early. We did this throughout last year. We'd go down by 15+ to teams that were a lot worse than he Zags. This has a lot to do with coming out flat. The problem has to be figured out and solution needs to be applied. We cannot do this all season.
- Miss foul shots. A big reason GU built the early lead it did was because we couldn't make our free throws and they made pretty much all of theirs. Not once did someone step to the line who made me think "alright, two easy points." That needs to be fixed.
- Don't be selfish. This wasn't a huge problem but I know there were at least two instances where a Griz player should've made another pass. One was not kicking it out for three while the other was not giving it up on a fast break.
The shirts are in place. Thanks to everyone who got this off the ground. Now let's have fun.
Anyway, here's Tinkle on what he hopes to see from the students tonight:
“I hope everybody is just in a frenzy,” Tinkle said. “It would be nice to get as close to that Zoo atmosphere as we can. That gets the rest of the crowd into it. Maybe we can get some folks up out of their seats, making some noise. Hopefully our guys will perform well and make it a real positive start to what could be an exciting season.”Tinks also offered some good examples from the past:
“I know it would be thrilling for them,” Tinkle said of his players. “Matt Martin pulled me aside when he was a freshman and said, ‘Coach, I've heard stories of how this was when you played. A goal of mine is to have this place filled by the time I leave.' I think it would really mean a lot to have that atmosphere we see at so many other colleges with the students on the sideline. I know it would set the tone.”
Late in Tinkle's career, Weber State brought star player Rico Washington to Dahlberg Arena.If the students put just a little effort into this, they'll get a lot in return.
“He was a pretty darn good player,” Tinkle said. “He and one of our forwards, Ossie Young, were kind of getting into it. I went to separate them and we were right in front of The Zoo. (Washington) went to say something and I told him, ‘Listen, you've got to stop right now or I'm going to throw you into the second row. Those are two of my football buddies and I don't think you'll make it out of there alive.'
“He turned and looked and smiled and said, ‘You're right.' ”
Another thing worth noting, one strong student turnout alone doesn't give us back our seats.
Tinkle, who played for the Grizzlies in the ’80s, during the height of The Zoo, agreed that it would be good to have students back along the court, but cautioned that the decision to move them back there permanently will not be based just on Friday’s turnout.Seriously though. We gotta cram at least 425-500 in that section. Students, disregard the seats behind you. The area in front of them is not yours and yours alone. Plus, if you're sitting, I swear to God I'll do my best to find someone who will stand directly in front of you. Not a row down. Their ass will be right in your face.
“They’re going to have to show up, give us the support throughout the rest of the year when they’re in the end zones,” Tinkle said. “And maybe the powers that be will make that decision down the road.”
Here are some rankings from Rivals.com:
108. MontanaThere are more teams between Colorado State and us than there are between us and North Carolina.
Big men Andrew Strait (6-8) and Jordan Hasquet (6-9) combined to average 28.0 ppg and 12.8 rpg last season.
250. Colorado State
Rams have a new coach (Tim Miles) and an almost entirely new lineup from a team that went 17-13, 6-10 in the Mountain West.
Here's part of the Kaimin's article detailing his recruitment and how he almost never made it to Missoula:
After being recruited to Montana as part of the 2004-2005 recruiting class, he decided to decline his scholarship and stay close to home to play for Bellevue Community College where he gray shirted. Unlike players who redshirt, those who grayshirt can join the team midway through the season.Staudacher paid his own way last year and earned a scholarship for the 07-08 season.
But Staudacher never played for the Bulldogs.
Head coach Wayne Tinkle, who recruited Staudacher as an assistant coach under Larry Krystkowiak, said his backing out was hard to take.
“We took it as a slap in the face at first,” Tinkle said. “We were disappointed with his decision, but I kept in touch with him.”
When Tinkle was named head coach, he contacted Staudacher about coming to play at Montana.
“I let him know that some of his concerns would be taken care of and that he would be a good fit,” he said. “I knew what he could bring to the table and that I could convince him that this was the place for him.”
Staudacher said after watching the success the Grizzlies were having, such as making it to the NCAA Tournament, he knew he should give playing at Montana another shot.
“Sitting on your couch and watching on TV and you are like, ‘Man I want to be a part of that,’” he said. “I got to know Coach Tinkle really well through the recruiting process; I liked his personality and the way he coached. I just wanted to be part of everything here.”
To see the complete letter, the basis for this article, scroll down or click here.
Remember “The Zoo?”
Only if you were born prior to about 1970, or so.
The Zoo was to Montana men's basketball what the Cameron Crazies are to Duke - a raucous student section that made life miserable for visiting teams.
Montana's Zoo peaked during the late 1970s and had all but died by the mid-80s. The east bleachers occupied by The Zoo were replaced by seat-back chairs during the 1998-99 renovation of Dahlberg Arena and the student section was pushed behind the end lines, making way for season-ticket holders.
On Friday, when the Griz open the regular season against Colorado State, The Zoo will return, or at least the students will reclaim their seats on the east side of Dahlberg Arena.
UM Students Return To East Side Seats For CSU Game
A challenge has been issued to the students at The University of Montana. They will return to the east side seats in Dahlberg Arena for Friday night’s game between the Grizzlies and the Rams of Colorado State University. This will be the first time in more than a decade that UM students, cheerleaders, dance team and band will fill those prime seats and floor space across from the team benches.
The entire section will be occupied by UM students… just like it was during the time of Jud Heathcote, Jim Brandenburg, Mike Montgomery, Stew Morrill and Blaine Taylor.
I remind you that this is only an experiment. A final decision will not be made until the season concludes as to whether or not a permanent change is forthcoming. All will be determined by the atmosphere on Friday night – and a continuing emphasis by UM students to back the team in high numbers for the remainder of the 2007-08 men’s basketball season. This is the students’ chance to show they will support the program. If student involvement is noticeable, and there’s a noticeable difference in the excitement level, our athletics administration will have a tough decision ahead.
It’s an ideal time for this experiment. The game will be played on a Friday night; the opponent is a quality Mountain West Conference team with star players; the football team is on the road; it’s the official season opener; and there should be relatively few conflicts. We hope to pack the house. The student gate will open one-half hour earlier for UM students (5:30 p.m.) so they can get their east side, lower level seats. Pizza will served to these early fans, courtesy of President George Dennison.
It’s a time to “Turn Back the Clock” to see if that old energy can be restored. It’s a challenge to the students to return to the glory years of Micheal Ray Richardson, Ken McKenzie, Derrick Pope, Larry Krystkowiak and Wayne Tinkle… when students made a tremendous difference in each and every game… when “The Zoo” was a factor in the final outcome, and caused the opposition to make mistake after mistake. It was a time when the student fans demonstrated their creativity, i.e., reading newspapers during pre-game introduction of the visiting team, studying the opposing players’ habits and standing and screaming in support of the five Grizzly players on the court.
It’s a time to put Dahlberg Arena back on the map as a place where opponents prefer not to play, but the home team prospers because of its home court advantage. I would also hope that it returns as a venue where students line up early outside the building to get the best available seats in the house to cheer their beloved Griz basketball team to victory.
Together, let’s see if we can make this a positive experience for the Griz basketball program. It should be a special night to remember.
Director of Athletics
The University of Montana
From The Missoulian:
“We're going to give him some time to sort through some things, put a plan in place,” Montana basketball coach Wayne Tinkle said after the Grizzlies' 77-46 win over Great Falls. “When we're confident he's done that, we'll welcome him back.This is best for both sides. UM gets to, at least temporarily, distance itself from the controversy and Marso gets a chance to get ahold of himself.
“We know he's hurting and we wish him the best. We've just kind of agreed that's what he's going to do for the time being. We look forward to him rejoining us down the road.”
Others Receiving VotesIt's going to be a good season for hoops.
DePaul 75, Middle Tenn. St. 71, Notre Dame 57, Auburn 41, Wisconsin 32, Mississippi 31, Xavier 30, Marquette 30, Georgia Tech 30, Wyoming 26, USC 17, BYU 17, Oklahoma State 16, Bowling Green 16, UCLA 12, New Mexico 12, Western Kentucky 11, Temple 7, TCU 7, Nebraska 7, Montana 7, Marist 7, Iowa State 6, Minnesota 5, Kentucky 5, Gonzaga 4, Boise State 3, Old Dominion 3, Texas Tech 3, Tulane 2, Ball State 1, Hartford 1, Utah 1, Wisc. Green Bay 1.
From the Great Falls Tribune:
"They're a really good team, a very experienced team," said Silsby. "Coach Tinkle does a heckuva job.For those of you who are even slightly interested, I strongly encourage you to go watch the game. It's the second to last opportunity to get a look at Missoula's own Jack McGillis before he has to sit out the regular season.
"My expectations are that we compete hard and let the chips fall where they may. We're playing a Division 1 team, we're not supposed to win.
"If we don't match their physicalness and intensity, it'll be a long night."
Game tips off at 7.
Brian Marso, in the second year of his second stint with the Grizzlies, was cited with DUI early Saturday when police received a report that he was passed out behind the wheel of his Isuzu pickup truck in the drive-up lane at the Taco Bell on Brooks Street, according to an affidavit by the arresting officer.Going off the press release alone, things do not look good for Marso. "Coach Tinkle and I would be severely disappointed" sounds more like "this may cost you your job." I'm not sure where I sit on this. This would be Marso's second DUI with the Griz, the first coming as an assistant under Pat Kennedy. This doesn't set a good example for other players but JD Quinn has three DUIs and he's still on the football team.
However, in a press release issued late Monday afternoon, O’Day said, “At this time we are investigating what took place Saturday morning. This matter is in the courts and we will continue to closely monitor the situation as it moves forward.“Both Coach Tinkle and I would be severely disappointed and concerned in Coach Marso’s apparent lack of judgment if these charges are proven. Our coaches and student athletes are held to high standards and we take that very seriously. It is an internal personnel matter and will be dealt with accordingly.”
According to the officer’s affidavit, Marso smelled strongly of alcohol and his eyes were red and watery.
Marso refused a Breathalyzer test but failed other field sobriety tests, the documents said.
On a humorous note, you have to at least smirk at his style. If you're going to get a DUI—which you should never do because you can kill someone, seriously, don't do it—falling asleep in the Taco Bell drive-thru has to be one of the better ways to do it.
Complete rankings from bigskyconf.com.
- Weber State (4)
- Montana (4)
- Portland State (1)
- Northern Arizona
- Idaho State
- Montana State
- Northern Colorado
- Eastern Washington
- Sacramento State
- Montana (14)
- Weber State (8)
- Portland State (2)
- Northern Arizona (2)
- Montana State
- Idaho State
- Sacramento State
- Northern Colorado
- Eastern Washington
- Montana (7)
- Idaho State (2)
- Montana State
- Weber State
- Northern Arizona
- Portland State
- Eastern Washington
- Sacramento State
- Northern Colorado
- Montana (24)
- Idaho State (2)
- Montana State
- Northern Arizona
- Weber State
- Portland State
- Eastern Washington
- Sacramento State
- Northern Colorado
One thing I really liked tonight is that it looked like a completely revamped offense. We weren't jacking up threes or clogging up the tempo by running every play through our bigs. There was a lot of movement and great balance between driving to the basket, taking jumpers and running it through the posts. The shooting could've been better but that's expected this early in the season.
Jack McGillis: I know he's not playing this year but tonight he was easily the most impressive player on the court. That's why I'm starting with him. An excerpt of my notes on him read "GREAT...really, really, good." At the beginning of the scrimmage he was going to the basket a lot but as it went on he showed his range of skills. He made 3's, a tough fade-away, layups and a couple dunks. On one of them he was one on one with Greg Spurgetis on a fast break. Both players went up, Jack let Greg fly by before throwing it down. There really should be an exception to the transfer eligibility rule if said player fits so perfectly onto a team.
Brian Qvale: One of our two young (very) bigs. He's a bit more filled out than Selvig. He's a very aggressive defender. On one possession, he went one on one with Drew. Drew made his usual low post move. You know, where he does a bit of a dipsy-do before he lays it off the glass. Well, Drew has him beat with the spin and as the ball kisses the glass, Qvale smacks it off the backboard. Lookin' good. Besides that, he also was great on the boards.
Derek Selvig: His style, figure and demeanor remind me a bit of Spencer Hawes. He's all arms and legs. He's willing to take the 3. To be honest, I think the only shots I saw him take were from beyond the arc. If he can consistently knock that down and bring a center out to guard him, it'll be good news for our quick guards, especially...
Zach Graves: He's a great Nellie-ball type player. Great bursts of speed. Flies around the court offensively and busts his ass getting to the basket. However, against our defense, he had some trouble. With all the talented bigs, that lane just fills with arms. If someone tries to play small-ball, he's the type of player who can make them pay.
Matt Martin: His shot was falling tonight and he was taking it. He played with a lot of intensity, and rightfully so. He's trying to get his starting gig back. A spot he'll be battling Ceylon Elgin-Taylor for. It was interesting seeing them go head-to-head, easily the most competitive part of the scrimmage. Martin runs a bit slower offense than the other guards. He runs the play and waits for it to set up. It's not a bad thing, he just runs the offense with a slightly different style than Elgin-Taylor or Rundles.
Ceylon Elgin-Taylor: He reminds me a lot of Bryan Ellis. He's a bit bigger. He has that same defensive intensity, he'll take chances and go for the ball. His offense game is somewhat similar to Ellis' as well. More of a distributor than an offensive threat and why not? He's a pure point, exactly what we need.
Cameron Rundles: Cam performs a bit better when there's something on the line, which makes sense. Even so, he still looked good tonight. As far as his offensive style and pace goes when running the point, his is the fastest. It's more improvisational and not as stuck on the play. If he sees something, he'll jump on it. Besides that, he has a great looking shot.
Greg Spurgetis: He was out there, getting bounced around a bit but still working hard, trying to be more than just a "practice player." Made a few shots, hustled on D. The type of player every team needs.
Ryan Staudacher: Pure shooter. He's a big, strong player and that helps him on getting boards. Need him to consistently deliver that dagger 3 and most of the time he does. He must run off screens well because he almost always finds a way to get open beyond the arc.
Michael Taylor: Another guy that won't play this year due to the transfer rule. He's a guard that's in the Steve Kerr/John Paxson mold. A solid shooter who can make passes. Maybe he'll eventually be a GM too, who knows.
Jordan Hasquet: You know the deal, this Jordo is a beast. He's a leader on the team who can overpower almost anyone you put on him. A lot of other guys were taking shots tonight and it's tough judging any possible improvement in an intrasquad scrimmage.
Andrew Strait: Similar to Jordo. You know what he does. He was going to the basket a bit more of the post up. He was trying to get to the hoop for layups as opposed to settling for the baby hooks. Something I liked to see.
Kyle Sharp: Looked good defensively, didn't do a ton on offense. He grabbed a few boards. He's gotten a lot bigger over the last two seasons.
Tyler Hurley: Didn't get much playing time so I can't really leave any notes. Looked a bit timid. Too early to make any real judgement.
From The Missoulian:
“We're excited to be able to get out in front of some people,” second-year coach Wayne Tinkle said. “We've been going at it hard for about a week and a half, so it will be nice to have a little more of an open environment and let the guys get some of the nerves out.I'm really looking forward to getting to my first solid look at this team. I hope to have some detailed impressions up tonight.
“It'll give us a starting point so we can continue to correct mistakes and get the guys better as we move forward.”
“I think the ladies are always excited for this scrimmage,” 30th-year coach Robin Selvig said. “It's nice to get in front of some people.
“We have quite a bit of our stuff in so it should be a good gauge of where we are. The freshmen have been learning quickly so we should be able to put together a decent performance.”
The '07-'08 season will be Wayne Tinkle's second as the head coach of the Montana Grizzlies. This season brings with it a whole new feel. We're not coming off an NCAA Tournament victory and assuming a new coach will give us another one. There's a whole new chemistry and attitude surrounding this team. The likely reason: coach Tinkle is starting to make his mark on this program.
Here's five questions with Griz head basketball coach Wayne Tinkle.
Grizzoulian: In terms of your comfort level coaching this team, how does the beginning of this season differ from your first year as a coach?
Wayne Tinkle: The biggest change for this year is that my staff and I have had a complete off-season to prepare for this season. I got the job in late June of 06 and we were in the middle of summer camps. Now we have had a complete off-season to implement our plan.
Grizzoulian: What's one thing you really want your team to focus on more than anything else this season?
Wayne Tinkle: Defense and rebounding are the two areas that we are really focusing on this year.
Grizzoulian: What are your thoughts on the tough schedule?
Wayne Tinkle: Our schedule is very challenging…we play a reinvigorated Colorado State, Gonzaga which may have its most talented team ever, and Air Force and Washington State, all in the first few weeks. We will definitely be challenged early and often.
Grizzoulian: Going into last year, you'd lost all the senior leadership. This year you lost several players but I'm not sure the impact on leadership will be the same. What are your thoughts on the chemistry and leadership of this team as we head into the season?
Wayne Tinkle: We will certainly miss some of the qualities that last years seniors left behind, but I truly believe with the upper classmen we have this year that our chemistry is much improved. Our guys are battling each other every day but it’s for the good of the team. In years past we had some guys that just wanted to humiliate their teammates, not trying to get one another better for the good of the squad.
Grizzoulian: What do you want from the fans? As you've heard, the students will be sitting courtside for the opener and possibly Griz-Cat. How big of a role do the students play in the game and in getting the rest of the community excited about Griz hoops?
Wayne Tinkle: We truly want a loud, loyal, consistent fan base supporting us throughout the year. It’s great when we go recruiting and run into coaches that talk about playing here in front of a raucous crowd and how it affected their team. We need to get back to having an intimidating atmosphere where our opponents fear the friendly confines. I really believe that this starts with our students. They are the straw that stirs the drink. Hopefully we can get things going and make it fun for the students to get involved.
Photo by Glenn Junkert, from the grizzlyjournal
Glenn Junkert of the grizzlyjournal has the first report from practice I've seen. I strongly encourage Griz hoops fans to go and check it out.
He's impressed with size and depth of our squad. As is always the case after the first practice, things look good.
Tonight, the University of Montana basketball team will hold its first practice. The amount of talent coming in is overwhelming and the expectation amongst many fans is that this team will be hosting the Big Sky Tournament come March.
From the Missoulian:
“This year there's a lot more feeling of calm,” said Tinkle, who guided the Griz to a record of 17-15 and a berth in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference tournament in his first year. “It's not only that I have a year under my belt, it's that I know our staff is more cohesive and the group of guys we've got are at the head of why I have a pretty good feeling.”The Griz did not have enough senior leadership going into last season so it's no surprise that last year's losses didn't overly affect the chemistry of this team. As far as this being a calmer situation, I think the players are starting to see Tinkle as the head coach instead of the assistant who took over by default. With the talented bigs coming in, Tinkle will have a great chance to stamp his mark on this program as he molds the young frontcourt players.
“Our chemistry is just great,” Tinkle said. “They worked hard and we really pushed the kids in the fall. They really compete, but when they walk off the court it's pretty much arm-in-arm.”
That wasn't always the case last season.
“Last year we had some guys who were a little too worried about their station in life instead of the good of the team,” Tinkle said. “It hurt us for a while early on.”
“The first thing we're going to do is set the tone defensively, establish our philosophy right away,” Tinkle said.
On the defense: this area needs the most improvement. I know last season started out with a similar tone but the defense never really developed. With Bryan Ellis and Stuart Mayes gone--both great perimeter defenders--it will be interesting to see who steps up.
In just a few weeks, Larry Krystkowiak will start his first full season as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. The preseason start got off to a mediocre start as the Bucks won and Yi looked awful in his debut. The game took place in LaCrosse, WI, where I watched Flip Saunders sideline many a game for the LaCrosse Catbirds. Good times.
[Jim O'Day] said that the Maulers are trying to work out a deal with the Griz that if something great happens at the hockey game, it could result in discounted admission to a UM basketball game.Interesting. I'm not sure how much this will help but it's a creative idea. Really though, can this town get their act together and support the hoops team. Look at the football schedule and look at the basketball schedule. It's not even close. When we have to look to the local semipro hockey team for help drawing people to basketball games, something is very wrong.
Grizzly basketball has had difficulty drawing fans in recent years, O’Day said, and working with the Maulers could help boost attendance.
“(The Maulers) want to make sure that both programs succeed and we really appreciate them working so closely with our people,” he said.
Pictured above is one of the 'Griz Nation' student fan club t-shirts. Recognize the design? It's loosely based off the design for the basketball shirts. I'm not really sure where you get these Griz Nation shirts. I believe they cost between $10 and $15 and include discounts to places around town. Might want to start by asking at the McDonald's by the Campus Inn, they have a lot of them.
As for the Griz hoops shirts, I do know where to get those. The first 1,000 students to get in the Colorado State game will get one for free.
Here are five questions with the transfer from Missoula.
Grizzoulian: Back in the day, the Griz hoops program didn't recruit you as hard as they could've. What was that like? How big was that chip on your shoulder?
Jack McGillis: Not really, I wanted to get out of the state for a while and experience something different and I'm glad I did so. I got a great opportunity at OSU but the bottomline is this is where I want to be.
Grizzoulian: Why'd you decide to come back? For most, they'd go Gilbert Arenas vs Team USA and despise everyone who was part of the program. I'd think you'd be begging for a game against the Griz just so you could drop 35 on us. Instead, you come back to your hometown program. Why?
Jack McGillis: Because I bleed Maroon and Silver.....
Grizzoulian: What do you see as your role on the team? In the next couple years, it's likely you would've become a starter on a Pac 10 team, how big of an impact do you think you'll have?
Jack McGillis: I will do whatever it takes to help my team win.
Grizzoulian: Where do you see this program going? We've got a few 7 footers and tons of young talent coming in, is there a ceiling?
Jack McGillis: Theres no reason we can't be one of the top mid major programs in the country. We have a good core already and solid young players coming in. I'm really excited for the future of Montana basketball.
Grizzoulian: What's the schedule as we go into the preseason? When do practices officially start? Are there scrimmages fans can come and check out?
Jack McGillis: Practice starts October 12. We have open gym daily around 4 and we play pick up before the griz football games in the WAC as well.
I'm going to take this football bye week as an opportunity to jump into hoops news and analysis. There's a lot to be talked about when it comes to basketball. This team has changed quite a bit with several important cogs leaving and a bunch of new guys coming in.
I plan on doing a series of previews on the basketball team. Up first is analysis on who we lost.
Here's the list and after the jump is a complete rundown of what each loss means.
- Matt Dlouhy
- Bryan Ellis
- Austin Swift
- Stuart Mayes
- Gus Chase
- Mike Chavez
- Charlie Cox
Idaho State's 2007-08 men's basketball schedule is set, loaded with big names for the second straight year, such as UCLA, Washington, Brigham Young, Iowa and Utah. However, head coach Joe O'Brien has one of those big names, Washington State, coming to Holt Arena, along with Boise State and a full slate of Big Sky Conference games, and he promises that is just a taste of things to come as far as home scheduling goes.Yea, challenging your squad by tough opponents is a good idea, but this is out of hand. On top of these tough squads, they also face Long Beach State, an NCAA Tournament team.
They may lose every single one of these games but that Washington State matchup in Holt Arena makes it all worth. Even if they lose by 45, it'll still be fun for at least the first few minutes. I'm not envious of their away games because the Griz have a pretty fair yet challenging schedule but I do wish we had a shot at the Cougars in the Zoo instead of on a neutral court.
Here's are some notes from his '06-'07 season:
Tripled his scoring average from a year before, as he averaged 5.7 points as a sophomore ... Saw the most playing time of OSU’s reserves, as he averaged 20.2 minutes while playing in all 32 games (with six starts) ... Also averaged 2.2 rebounds ... Had the second-highest three-point percentage on the team (35.9%) ... Reached double-figure scoring six times ... In his "homecoming" game at Montana State, made his first start of the season and scored a then-career-high 10 points ... Made all three of his three-pointers and scored 11 points vs. LSU ... Second-highest scoring output of the season was 15 points vs. Western Oregon ... Made what would have been a game-tying three pointer at the buzzer vs. California, but released it just after the buzzer ... Played his finest game at California, scoring a career-high 24 points while making five of nine three-pointers ... That was his first time scoring in double-figures in a Pac-10 game ... Helped OSU to its home win vs. Washington by scoring all 11 of his points in the second half ... Earned the team’s Jim Anderson Award (most improved).Glad the Griz eventually got a kid they missed the first time around. His size and range will be big for the Griz. Unfortunately, he has to sit out a year as a transfer. He does have a redshirt available so he will not lose a year of eligibility.
The Griz open the season against the mediocre Colorado State in what should be an exciting game, but it's all uphill from there in the non-conference schedule. It includes three tough games in Spokanistan. The first is against Spokane on November 11. Then the Griz will play Air Force and Washington State in the Hispanic Invitational at Spokane Arena Nov. 23-25.
"The game at Gonzaga will be a marquee game," said second-year head coach Wayne Tinkle. "From what I've heard, it may be their most talented team, maybe ever.I'm really looking forward to these match-ups. I have this to say in case the marketing department is giving out a few tickets or bringing a couple students with to Spokane: dibbs.
"Washington State will more than likely be ranked in the Top 10 when we play them in their tournament," Tinkle said. "Air Force is coming off a great year, and Mississippi Valley State will be a formidable team as well."
Besides the big match-ups, there are also some TV games. No ESPN right now but the usual KPAX games and the new Altitude game of the week
Montana opens its season Nov. 9 against Colorado State and begins Big Sky Conference play against rival Montana State on Jan. 5 in Bozeman. That game and the rematch on Feb. 9 in Missoula will be televised by KPAX-TV.I'm not gonna lie, I am much more excited for basketball season than football season. They've done everything they can to get people pumped. I know there's more on the way. Including a commercial. This is going to be great.
The Grizzlies will play three Sunday afternoon Big Sky games on Altitude Sports: against Weber State on Jan. 20, at Eastern Washington on Feb. 3, and at home against Idaho State on Feb. 24.
The complete schedule is after the jump. Continue Reading...
This would include UM logo on the top of the back. In place of where 'Stand' used to be. Colors aren't quite right but you get the idea.
This one came in from a friend:
Possibly with a Griz paw on one sleeve and a UM logo on the other.
With that, here is a very rough draft of a basic design, any suggestions are welcome.
I know the quote is dumb and cheesy, that's the point.
Seriously though, let me know in the comments what you think.
UPDATE: Matt, not quite the verticle eyechart look -- that can get confusing -- but something a little similar.
Each preview gives a brief intro to then sections on why the team should be ranked where it is, why it should be ranked higher and why it should be ranked lower. Seeing as these are both legit top 25 teams and we or may not crack the top 144, let's take a look at why they should be ranked lower for hope we can pull off the upset.
No. 15 Gonzaga
Why This Team Should Be Ranked Lower: There's still the issue of when and how effective Josh Heytvelt will be when he returns. Because of the rest of the WCC, Gonzaga can't afford an inconsistent start to the season. If they stumble, early there won't be much of an opportunity to recover in the polls.I absolutely hate that Josh Heytvelt is on this team. He was caught with hallucinogenic mushrooms, a felony. Because he hadn't been caught before, he got off on community service or classes. Maybe it's just me, but you'd think a private Catholic university would take a tougher stance on this. If it was someone outside the starting 5, they'd be gone.
No. 11 Washington State
Why they should be ranked lower: The surprise factor is gone. The Cougars were the darling of the West Coast last season, and they were able to sneak up on just about everybody. Even when they got ranked highly, opponents still seemed to fear the Cougs' cross-state rival more than WSU during the Thursday/Saturday match ups. People will be ready for the Cougs this year, so the guerrilla tactics of college hoops are obsolete.The hope with this team is that we can sneak up on them like they snuck up on everyone else. Maybe an early season loss will shake their confidence and remind them of the team they were two years ago.
Montana will face four teams that made the 2007 NCAA tournament (Boise State, Gonzaga, Mississippi and Idaho State) ... The Lady Griz will also face two teams that advanced to the 2007 WNIT (UC Santa Barbara and WNIT champion Wyoming) ... UM will play six of its first seven games on the road, then have nine straight home games extending from Dec. 8 to Jan. 12 ... The Lady Griz Holiday Classic will feature a three-team, three-day round robin format with one game each day ... The Holiday Classic's three teams (Montana, UC Santa Barbara and Mississippi) have made 43 NCAA tournaments between them, with the Lady Griz and Rebels playing in 16 each and the Gauchos 11 ... Montana's Big Sky Conference schedule has the Lady Griz playing six of its eight first-half league games at home, then six of eight in the second half on the road ... With Northern Colorado filling the role of "lone wolf" in the Big Sky schedule, the travel partners that existed before UNC's arrival (Northern Arizona/Sacramento State; Idaho State/Weber State; Portland State/Eastern Washington; Montana/Montana State) are back in effect.There aren't any big names from major conferences but the schedule is solid. All the major contributors are back from a team that rolled through most of the season before stumbling in the Big Sky Tournament. Wins over tournament teams bode well for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament if the Lady Griz somehow come up short again.
Since then, there hasn't been a game where the crowd -- and the student section especially -- has reached the same excitement level. Outside of a few select games, the '05-'06 season was disappointing from an atmosphere perspective. The team played great but fans didn't come in earnest until the meaningless regular season finale against NAU. I didn't get it. After football season and the Stanford upset, I thought obsessive insane fans were the norm out here. That wasn't the case for hoops.
Turns out it wasn't always this way. Hoops used to be big, real big. Bigger than football. The students used to stand in the courtside seats, not sit in the baseline bleachers. The frenzied pack of undergrads was dubbed "The Zoo." Since then, the students were moved and "The Zoo" disappeared along with the overwhelming enthusiasm for the basketball program.
Well, The Zoo may be on it's way back. This comes from Griz basketball head coach Wayne Tinkle:
We are planning on putting them there for the CSU game, and IF there is a great showing we’ll entertain the idea of putting them there for the MSU game. We really need to make a push for the students to show up in droves in order to influence the administration. I believe the lack of student participation has severely declined since the late 80’s…due to multiple factors. I know that we coach’s are working hard to make it exciting now the fans need to buy in and stir up the frenzy!It's tough not to look ahead to a time when the students are back where they belong. However, UM Athletic Director Jim O'Day points out some big issues that may prevent a permanent move.
We have many issues to consider first, such as hearing from those who pay higher prices to sit there, and what to do about the media tables … or more importantly, what to do about the signage for the corporate sponsors. Where can we put them? Also, we have to look at court space for adding additional media benches on the west side if such a decision is made… to make sure we have enough room for the teams. We are looking at all avenues --- and may only be able to do it for one game, if at all, this year, as an experiment.Oh no, not this again, right? Just like all the roadblocks preventing a move to the FBS, there's financial stuff with this too. Well, don't fret too much, O'Day seems to be a bit more enthused about this idea.
As a former member of “The Zoo” while in college, I know how special that was… and if we do it and the students are challenged to fill the seats and create atmosphere, we’d have to look at a permanent situation if it made a difference. If we took such a gamble, I would only hope that the students would respond in force… to demonstrate interest for men’s basketball.So it's all up to those it benefits the most. Let's do this students.
Tinkle announced Friday that junior college transfers Sean Watson and Ceylon Elgin-Taylor would join the Griz for the 2007-08 season. They join prep recruits Derek Selvig of Glendive and Brian Qvale of Williston, N.D., in the 2007 recruiting class. Selvig and Qvale signed last November.Tinks on Watson:
Tinkle said the Griz have one more scholarship to give and “we have a guy that we're trying to work all the paperwork out with.” Jucojunction.com reports that player is 5-10 point guard Lloyd Phillips of Allen County (Kan.) Community College.
“He handles the ball, he's athletic, can shoot it and score,” said Tinkle, who added that Southern Mississippi, Louisiana Tech, St. John's and Texas Tech were some of the other schools recruiting Watson. “When I saw him play I thought what a great defender. He keeps his man in front of him.”Info on Elgin-Taylor:
Elgin-Taylor is a 6-1 point guard who averaged 13 points and 5.5 assists for Irvine (Calif.) Valley College last season. He was named first team all-conference.It's looking good so far. Tinks says it best later in this article, "It looks like a talented group. The challenge will be getting them to gel." Just like last year, this year's team looks phenomenal on paper but it doesn't mean a thing if they don't fill their potential and gel as a team.
“He can play both guard positions,” Tinkle said. “He's a quarterback who runs the team. He's a very, very tough-nosed defender, just a tough-minded point guard who runs your team and sets the tone defensively.”
"We've signed a couple of junior-college players, one from Texas and one from Kansas, who I think will really help us in the backcourt," Tinkle said. "Along with the high school kids we signed in the fall, it really is shaping up to be a pretty darn good class."Well, this is kind of what we expected. I'm almost certain the first two players are Lloyd Phillips and Sean Watson with the third questionable kid being Ceylon Elgin-Taylor. Phillips is listed at 5-10 and is more of a strong shooting speedster than a combo guard. He's closer to a pure point than people like Zach Graves and Matt Martin.
"One kid's a 6-1 combo guard. The other kid's a 6-3, 6-4 wing who will add a lot of toughness and athleticism. Both are highly touted players," Tinkle said. "Then we've got a third kid who we've got to go through the process and finish the paperwork on who I think will really add to the class as well. We're pretty excited and looking forward to it."
There was also news on the upcoming schedule:
"We're looking to go over and play Gonzaga in Spokane and it looks like we'll be in a tournament with Washington State in Spokane also," he said. "Air Force and Mississippi Valley will be there.The games against Gonzaga and Wazzu in Spokane were expected but it's good to hear about some other teams. I love that we now know who we'll be opening with. It makes hoops season seem just a little bit closer.
"We open up with Colorado State in Missoula. So we're going to be challenged the first couple of weeks out of the game, but that's the way we wanted it."
I exchanged emails with him ten days ago, upon which he said the names of signees would be released "in the coming days." Coming days is like three, right? If it was a week he would've said "next week." Something's up.
The show will also roll into Butte on Friday. Fellow head coach, Robin Selvig (women's basketball) , as well as assistants Kraig Paulson (football), Andy Hill (men's basketball) and Harry Clark (track and field) are also expected at the event.
There is no proposal to push back the women's line; that mean's two separate lines a foot apart. Plenty of people believe this could get confusing for players and referees with the two and maybe three (if a team plays in an NBA arena).
I doubt this will make judging a three as confusing as some people believe, but a proposal to help those out who can't tell the difference between two lines a foot apart comes from the AOL Fanhouse NCAAB blog via an ESPN Insider article:
There will be two separate lines of contrasting colors. Rules committee chair Larry Keating, an associate athletic director at Kansas, is proposing to have a one-foot wide band instead of two separate lines. He wants to see the women play off the front of the band and the men off the back. The intent is to have a vote next year for either the two lines or a one-foot band.Didn't some hockey leagues do this for a bit, make the blue line huge? The line would be hideous but imagine how much worse things would get if teams like Boise State started decorating the inside of the line. I don't need to horses, flames, paws or anything else prancing through the 3-point line.
Dave Trimmer, who writes for the Spokane Review and their EWU Sports blog points out how disappointing it is to look back on Stuckey's tenure as an Eagle.
First, no hard feelings for Stuckey leaving. It's The League and it's big bucks.He does think Stuckey will make it though.
Second, it's a travisty that the Eagles managed just one postseason berth and a 30-29 record in the "Stuckey Era." There is plenty of blame to go around from the coaches, other Eagles and Stuckey, heck, even the recently departed A.D. if you will but only Stuckey is going to the big time. The others will rue the day they let this oportunity get away. A knock on Stuckey is putting up his numbers in a weak league. Shouldn't a team with a player of his calibre accomplished more in a weak league?
Fifth, I think he'll make it. His strength, finishing ability and point guard experience will make him a valuable asset in any back court. And, with him projected in the second half of the first round, he could end up with a better team, which lessons the pressures and demands on a rookie.I'm not sure Stuckey will make it or not, but I find it odd how much value is being placed on this guy. Sports Illustrated has him going at 18 to the Warriors. The main point I have is one that everyone has heard before on Stuckey, how does a player of this calibre fail to make it the NCAA tournament, win the BSC regular season title, or even make it to the Big Sky Tournament championship game?
One completely random thought I've always had is just how much of an effect an NBA star would have on a mediocre college basketball team. For example: If you plucked LeBron James out of the NBA (now, during this coma of a conference final) and put him on the Griz, could he carry them to an National Championship? I don't have an answer, but it's fun to imagine. Rodney Stuckey isn't Lebron James -- and the Eagles aren't the Griz -- but if Stuckey's so good, he should've shown it a bit more.
Kentucky was not completely unjust when it decided to back out of the game as they followed the opt-out clause laid down by the contract for the game. It still sucks for UMass, financially and otherwise.
The cost to the Wildcats to back out of the game? $50,000... chump change compared to the $250,000-$300,000 the match would have generated. And of course, Kentucky being a marquee opponent would have brought a lot of media and publicity to UMass.The game was scheduled by Tubby Smith's program because UMass' head coach, Travis Ford, played his college ball at UK. Views on this issue range from highly unethical to "it's all a business."
UK is going to try and cash in on the Gillispie hype by scheduling a less dangerous home game instead of flying out to Boston. It's really great that teams can't play a single game to help a former player out because they want more money. I really hope they schedule some extremely low-major and suffer some horrible defeat that sets the tone for the rest of the season. Or even better, they get 12-5 upset by UMass in the tournament. A Karmic kick to the groin would be great.
To put this in perspective for Griz fans, it'd be like Gonzaga or maybe even U-Dub backing out of a game in Missoula. Even months out the anticipation would be huge. It'd be like Vancouver putting up Olympics 2010, "Our Time to Shine!" signs. Could you imagine that suddenly being gone?
UMass already sold 7,000 tickets to the game and now have to use that 50k just to pay everyone back. For UK fans, it's tougher to see how much this sucks for the Minutemen and their fans, but just try to imagine for a second that the biggest game of the season just got cancelled. For UMass, this was their Ohio State/Florida. Just a huge non-conference game and now it's gone. You know what, I'm glad you didn't get Billy Donovan.
We will be releasing the names of our signees in the coming days. Not trying to hold out on anyone, just making sure that all of the paperwork etc is correct! It should prove to be one of our better classes in some time! Thats on paper anyways...they still have to get here and perform both in the classroom and on the court!Well there you go. He sounds pretty enthusiastic.
3. Montana – The Grizzlies were coming off a fantastic season in 2006 when they defeated Northern Arizona in the Big Sky Conference championship to reach the NCAA tournament where they upset Nevada in the first round. They returned much of their lineup from 2006 including Andrew Strait. The only questions were in the backcourt where former backups Matt Martin and Bryan Ellis would enter the starting lineup. Ultimately, the Grizzlies could not put it together like they did in 2006, and they finished 10-6 and in 3rd place in the conference before they lost to Northern Arizona in the Big Sky semifinals. Grade: BI really cannot decide whether or not I agree with this. If you had told me before the season that the Griz would finish third and get knocked out in the Big Sky Tournament Semis then asked me to give them a letter grade I would've probably tried to give them something below an F. Maybe somewhere around a J.
Then, if one looks at the major transition this program was going through having lost LK and some major senior leadership you realize that this team made some big steps forward. Then a B+ would be about right.
Check out the complete entry for all the grades.
The Wildcats will have its own mid-major outreach program by playing Cal State Fullerton, San Diego State and UNLV this upcoming season. (Three teams, incidentally, that yours truly follows the most.) Arizona also will play Fresno State, too. The Titans and the Big West are a long-shot for an at-large bid, but UNLV and San Diego State (and maybe Fresno) certainly are. So Arizona should be applauded for helping outIt's sad that its gotten to the point that it's probably gutsy-er to schedule a mid-major than a major opponent. You'd think coaches would have enough confidence in their teams to go out and play teams with much lower talent levels. If you're an elite team, you really don't lose much from a defeat at the hands of a fellow major hoops team. However, it looks awful when you lose to, say, Oral Roberts.
Does anyone else find it bizarre that a team is under more pressure playing in Dahlberg Arena than Cameron Indoor Stadium? Seriously, if you're on the line, down by two with a FT percentage floating somewhere near 50% would you rather be facing Duke or UM?
I wonder how long it'll be before a Stanford-calibre team finds its way into the Zoo again. Can someone sign the Griz up for the Lute Olson Sympath Tour?
The AAU team Big Sky Hoops, which is coached by Montana AAU girls' basketball director Bill Hill and former Lady Griz Lisa Tinkle, is made up of the best girls high school players in the state. These players include Lady Griz commit Ali Hurley and Joclyn Tinkle -- daughter of Wayne and Lisa Tinkle.
“We all get along really well,” Joslyn Tinkle said. “That's really the best part. We have all these girls from all over Montana, and it's fun to see it all come together like this. It's great to represent Montana and show everyone that we can play.Now think about how much fun it'd be to do it on the college level.
“I think we opened some people's eyes to what girls' basketball is like here. We definitely take pride in that.”
Phillips is a bit small at 5'10" but he's only going to be a sophomore and has the ability to shoot the ball as he made 48.3% of his shots from distance while averaging 17.2 ppg and 3.5 assists this past season.
The guard position is pretty stacked with these type of guys as the Griz now have four young point guards if you toss tweener Zach Graves into the bunch. It's five total if you decide to count Matt Martin as a 1. The starting job is all locked up in Cameron Rundles but it will be a fight for the spots behind him.
Rundles has shown he can play the two in the Big Sky so this will a lot with two point guards on the floor. It will make be easier for guys like Phillips, Graves and Cox to find time if Staudacher and Martin aren't knocking down shots.
Grizzoulian: First off, why UM and which one of these factors was the biggest in your decision to become a Griz: the city of Missoula, the coaching staff, or the players?
Sean: well to be honest the players and coaches had alot to do with my decision all the guys were easy to get along with an the coaches were really straight up with me. one of the players that i bonded with really well was cam rundles he was my host on the visit and we basically jus became cool ever since
Grizzoulian: What do you think of your future teammates and the things they've accomplished in the past couple years? Where do you see this team going with you a part of it?
Sean: well the players seem like they are all winners an thats what i want to be apart of they won what about 17 games but they got a couple nice wins like for example the win over minnesota was a good win for the griz basketball.....i think with an addition of me on the team we should do really well because i am a winner and so are all the other guys so i see us having a very successful season coming up
Grizzoulian: What do you think of the players and coaches you've met so far and what do you think your role will be as a Griz?
Sean: the players and coaches i have met so far were all nice guys they were easy to get along with and they were really honest with me so thats all u can really ask for
Grizzoulian: Do you have any specific goals for the upcoming years?
Sean: yes i do my goal this year is to win the conference and get to the tournament and from there we will take it one step at a time
Thanks again to Sean and I wish him luck in his future as a Griz.
The game away game against the Zags will likely be held in early November and the Griz will compete in a holiday tournament at the Arena in Spokanistan.
Mark this down as one of the many reasons I like the Griz basketball program more than the football one. While the Griz football team plays Sisters of the Poor Nunnery and the Sentinel High School Freshman squad, the hoops programs schedules a mid-major powerhouse and one of the best 15 teams in the nation. Even during something of a down year, they faced West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Minnesota and Boise State; and they beat Minnesota and Boise State!
My brother, Eamon, had me take a look at Andy Katz's preseason top 25. Gonzaga is at 11 and Washington State is 5. I'm not saying I agree, but still, if someone who does this for a living think's they're this good then they have to be in the at least somewhere in that range.
I think we got a shot at the Zags. They play in a conference that isn't a whole lot better than ours and they their lost veteran point guard, Derek Raivio. If anyone knows how much that hurts, it's Griz fans. Oh, and what happened to being all upright and holy? This is a Catholic private school that charges students their weight in frankincense and they allow Josh Heytveldt — the guy that got busted with mushrooms — back on the team. Then again, that fine, fine institution did produce this nut.
WSU is a bit tougher but you have to try to get up and make them think they're really not that good. You know, hope for some kind of mental collapse. They played way above their heads last year and their talent level doesn't quite match their record. Wait, Tony Bennett didn't move up to take a better job? Nevermind then.
I'm not gonna lie, these teams are probably way better than us but this is still going to be a lot of fun.
While stumbling around Youtube looking for clips on a JuCo commit I came across this video of yet another small school with much better fans than us. It's really kind of sad.
I'm not sure what the Montana alternative would be on this. Odds are it'd include rodeo and/or country music. I mean I really wish our school was as intense as this — as long as it did not include any square dancing or cowboyness.
The player above is Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes, he is transferring away from Gonzaga, where he started 31 games a sophomore. Rumor has it he is interested in becoming a Montana Grizzly. I have nothing againt that. Who doesn't want a player on their team with a nickname like 'P-MAC?'
My favorite part of the video is that the broadcaster tries to hurry and finish saying his name before the ball goes through the basket. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Most have probably heard but Phil Nelson, who got some starts at UW, is headed to Portland State. He's definitely going to have an impact on that program and probably the conference as a whole as any player who can contribute as a frosh in the Pac-10 certainly has some talent.
Mac Hopson, a sophomore who made some starts early in the season for WSU, is reportedly interesting in attending either the University of Montana or MSU.
As you can see there, Mac was pretty candid about just wanting more playing time in the future, and there's no doubt that he could get it at a bunch of schools out there. Hopson, you'll remember started the season as a starter for WSU and was clearly capable of making a decent contribution at the Pac-10 level, even if he was best suited as a role player right now. Should he opt for a lesser-conference school, I have to believe he can get the 30 minutes a game he's looking for. Mac mentioned Montana and Montana State to me, and said that he's looking to stay in the Northwest or on the West Coast, so we'll see how that all goes.Sounds like this kid is very capable of making a major impact on this team. Come on Tinks, land this guy.
With the Fab 4 or whatever they're called on this Gator team, you rarely saw one without the other. Random pictures would surface of them at random places with the quad constantly being intact. This off-court chemistry contributed to major success on the court. I read somewhere that, as freshman, this quad and some other guy beat the starters in a scrimmage.
I don't understand how something like this isn't possible with our Griz. They don't have nearly as many distractions. I mean come on, is Sharpie gonna be selfish to try and crack the SC Top Ten or is Drew considering jumping early just so he can go off and make it rain? I don't think so. Everyone is here for four years, there is no TV and no Florida girls. Come on guys, just be friends.
For those of you that aren't on campus and don't get a chance to see the "quasi-celebrities" that are the Griz hoopsters, they really aren't a solid group of buds. I mean I'll see them eating together every now and then but it's rare and they're usually split up into a couple groups. The two main one's I've seen are the middle guys of Swift and Sharp, they seem kind of inseparable, well, until one bolts. Then there's a duo/trio of Gus, Cam and Zach. As with the Sharpie/Swift combo, part of this group is gone as well. Besides thinking Gus is a really solid player, his chemistry with the young great players is another reason I hate that he left.
As far as the upper classmen go, they tend to be a off on their own. I'm going to stop with the stupid speculation and say that everyone is friends but the team is just not as close as it could be. Come on guys, head up to Canada, bunk together, do what ya gotta do. Lets get this rolling.
They're about to cue up this year's "One Shining Moment" and I have to say I feel pretty bad for whoever had to edit this. With this year's vanilla tournament — kind of expected it after the World Series, BCS Championship and Superbowl were all pretty bland — the editors really did not have much to work with.
Seeing as this will be pretty bad, I decided to look at last year's and try and find Montana. I always thought they showed every team in this cheesy little clip but I've gone over the '06 version twice and have not found any Griz footage. You'd think a 12-5 upset would get us in there.
Last night I spent about two and a half hours compiling links to stories that would make people believe that LK could really make a difference in Milwaukee. At the time, I was convinced it was almost useless because the Bucks would get blown out by the Spurs and everyone would look at this hire like they looked at the Dan Hawkins hire after the Montana State game.
Well, not only did Krystkowiak ("stk," learn it) not embarrass himself, he somehow won the game. Over the San Antonia Spurs. Just a day short of a year since beating Nevada in the NCAA tourney he goes and beats the Spurs in his NBA head coaching debut. This is great.
He didn't say why but one can only assume it was due to disappointment after not getting very much of an opportunity to contribute this season.
Many have doubted his size, but I have always been a huge Gus Chase fan. When he does get into the game, rarely does another player put forth more effort on the court. Yes, he is small for the front-court positions but often times he manages to out-rebound players who are a few inches taller. Then he'll put up shots that look hideous because of all the trees around him but many will somehow fall through.
Along with Gus, I really think he should've been given more of an opportunity. Ah, as I look through which image to toss up I just get more frustrated that he won't be here next year. I can't recall which game but remember when he came in and scored like 10 points in five minutes? This blows.
UPDATE: There's more information on Gus' departure in this morning's Kaimin.
“I feel as though I wasn’t given a fair chance to play,” said Chase, who said he considered leaving at the beginning of the season. “I ain’t getting better by sitting on the bench.”
- Coached here at the University of Montana for two seasons, going 42-20, not 42-40 as the Milwaukee Bucks Media Guide indicates. He led the Griz to two consecutive NCAA Tournaments and won one tournament game. His biggest wins come over Stanford and Nevada.
- Big Man on Campus. This is the best article I've found on Krystkowiak. It describes the emotion and fire he brings to a team. Just read the first couple paragraphs and tell me he won't be good for an underachieving Bucks team.
- Krystkowiak to guide UM men's basketball. Story on his return to Missoula as a coach instead of a player. Should be taking the same approach to turning the Bucks around.
- "A lot of it has to do with being prepared and finding the right approach. Experience is fantastic, but I think you can get a lot accomplished by being organized and efficient. I think I have what it takes in terms of being organized and getting the program back on track."
- Old school battle: Krysko, Griz have tussled with these Dawgs before. In the '05 tournament, the Griz had many bracketeers on edge has the Griz hung with the Washington Huskies for most of the game. This was largely due to Krysko's coaching. He plays like he coaches and this article describes how he played — and brawled — against the Huskies in 1985.
- Griz basketball wrapup — More than imagined. A reflection piece on LK's best season as a head coach.
- Awakening The Griz: Basketball coach helps restore pride. Another great article on the huge impact Krystkowiak had on the UM program. Before him, the Griz program had no swagger, confidence or pride. The point is: he's come into a situation like the one and done what was needed.
- Quote on his practices and how he managed players dealing with a new coach from the Billing Gazette.
- "Changes can be hard. It's not easy for the players. This was the third head coach for some of them,'' said [former Griz assistant] Huse. "Larry allows the players to be their own person, but when they step between the lines, he expects a full effort ? whether it be games or practice.''
- Sky's the limit for Montana. A preview article on the Griz/Husky game in the '05 tournament. Also includes how he has been doubted before, starting as a college player, and an interesting story on his pro career.
- "We're not flashy. We try to get it done the old-fashioned way."
Kind of like their coach once did. Krystkowiak played the game with a chip on his shoulder, motivated by slights like the one from former Washington State coach George Raveling. Krystkowiak says that as a high school player in Missoula, he attended a WSU camp and was told that Raveling said he was "not big enough to be a post player, not skilled enough to be a wing."
Despite that, he won Big Sky MVP honors three straight times. Then he played 420 games in the NBA, including one year alongside Michael Jordan with the Bulls. But symbolic of Krystkowiak's career, that year happened to be 1995, which Jordan began on the retired list before returning at midseason, only to fall short of the NBA Finals.
"We kicked a field goal between the two three-peats," Krystkowiak jokingly said.
- "We're not flashy. We try to get it done the old-fashioned way."
- Several good players missed '84 Olympic cut. LK did have his doubters but he was good enough to be considered for the 1984 Olympic team. He got the chicken pox and never made the cut.
- Interesting note: he was coached by Del Harris, one of the most respected coaches in the league, for five of the ten years he spent in the NBA. LK was even brought in to play for Harris during his Lakers days; this was the last year of Krysko's career. Del is also the father of Bucks GM Larry Harris.
- He was punched by Shaq.
The Bucks are expected to make a formal announcement about Krystkowiak's promotion Thursday morning.Yes, that's right. In a year, he went from coaching the University of Montana Grizzlies to a first-round NCAA Tournament victory over the Nevada Wolf Pack to being an NBA head coach. Well, after he pulled off that upset, probably his best hoops accomplishment to date, he had to face Boston College. The team he faces following his most recent accomplishment will be a bit tougher. Krystkowiak's first game as an NBA head coach will be against the San Antonio Spurs, winners of 13 straight. Yeah, good luck with alllll that.
Lawyers for Bucks' owner Herb Kohl worked all of Wednesday afternoon in Milwaukee constructing a new contract for Krystkowiak. Krystkowiak then agreed to the terms and conditions of the contract early Wednesday night. The guaranteed contract is for the remainder of this season -- the Bucks have 18 more games remaining -- and the following two seasons.
To all you Bucks fans, congrats. I'm sure LK will get this team heading in the right direction. You may have to invest in more clipboards seeing has he tends to break them when he really gets going. In an earlier post I compared him to Lou Piniella and I really can't think of a better analogy.
Last year at UM, Krystkowiak had a talented but not great team and led them to upset victories over Stanford early in the season and Nevada in the tournament. Had a few things gone his way — namely, the double OT Boston College/Pacific game — he likely would've had Montana (!!) in the Sweet 16.
I know it's always a bit disappointing when an assistant gets elevated to head coach — I know, it happened to us after LK left — instead of grabbing an established head coach. Try not to fret, Krystkowiak is your prototypical head coach, not someone used to being an assistant. Look for LK to really take charge and start having this team playing at or above their talent level.
However, it seems as though most of the team is still pretty bummed about being left out of the field of 64:
“To be honest, practice (on Tuesday) was less than inspirational,” said UM coach Robin Selvig. “I hope it's because it was in the morning. Obviously, it's been a scramble. But at least we got on the floor and got a little sweat up.”Let's hope they don't pull a Drexel and prove the selection committee right.
“Like I told the team, there's a couple 100 teams out there sitting around not playing,” Selvig added. “This is a good deal for us, and we need to take advantage of it.”
Here's Krystkowiak's comments on Utah's efforts to land him:
"I'm not going to talk about that at all," Krystkowiak said earlier today of published reports linking him to the Utah job, vacant since Ray Giacoletti resigned on March 2. "I'm an assistant coach with the Bucks; that's what I can say.
"I'm looking forward to finishing the season out (with the Bucks)."
This sounds kind of similar to what he said when there were rumors swirling that he would be leaving the University of Montana.
After all that's happened in this situation so far, it would be hard to imagine anyone other than Krystkowiak taking over as the head coach of the Bucks.
Athletic director Chris Hill and other university officials interviewed assistant coach Larry Krystkowiak of the Milwaukee Bucks for the position Tuesday in Milwaukee and they are believed to have offered him the job, sources told The Salt Lake Tribune.Wow. For all of you that thought Krystkowiak was curiously hired by the Bucks to eventually become their head coach, it's looking like you were right. He's like some hot prospect they don't want to bring up to soon but wouldn't dare let go because they know he'll be good. Ladies and gentleman, Larry Krystkowiak is the Felix Hernandez of 2007. And Terry Stotts is Jamie Moyer.
The interview ignited a series of meetings involving high-ranking Bucks officials, sources said, which endured into the night and included U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, the team owner. The Bucks were grappling with whether they plan to fire embattled head coach Terry Stotts and replace him with Krystkowiak - a move that presumably would keep Krystkowiak from joining the Utes.
However, if Krystkowiak were to quickly accept an offer from the Utes, an announcement conceivably could come today, before Hill is due to attend the NCAA Tournament games Thursday in Sacramento, Calif.
More information on the Krystkowiak/Chris Hill meeting here.
UPDATE: AD Chris Hill says he has met with Krystkowiak but has not officially offered him the job. Another meeting is planned. Here's an interesting clip from that article regarding the Bucks' perspective:
Highly regarded in both college and pro basketball for his engaging personality and basketball knowledge, Krystkowiak is widely known as a favorite of Kohl, one of the most respected owners in the NBA. However, Kohl is said to be torn over what to do about Stotts, who has led the Bucks to a 23-41 record this season but endured a series of devastating injuries.It always helps when the owner is on your side, just ask Joe Girardi.
Michael C. Lewis' Utes Basketball Blog, done in association with the Salt Lake Tribune, has been on this story for quite some time but big news comes courtesy of ESPN.
According to Andy Katz, reporting via a source close to the situation, LK has met with Utah athletic director Chris Hill and is very interested in the job.
Of course I'd be happy to see a LK, who has done so much for the program, succeed at any level. However, I really couldn't help but be extremely jealous and wonder what could've been here in Missoula if he goes on to lead the Utes to any semblance of hoops prominence.
Hill, meanwhile, is on the NCAA Tournament selection committee and would probably like to wrap up the search rather quickly since he must be in Sacramento this weekend and will be busy with the tournament the rest of the month.The source told ESPN.com that if Krystkowiak is offered the job he is likely to accept and a decision could be made within days.
This "opening round game" is supposed to include the two worst teams in the dance, normally based on RPI. Well, Niagara was ahead of four teams in terms of RPI; one of them was Weber.
Selection committee chair Gary Walters basically said he did this to avoid claims of racism as he thinks some out there believe the play-in game is reserved for predominantly black schools.
"First of all, I think we are, as you know, sensitive to the historically black colleges..."If this is the case, I still can't grasp why Weber isn't in this game. Aside from one guy, Niagara is a team comprised entirely of African American players. Weber is from Utah. Robin Williams once called Utah "the whitest f***ing state in the union."
When a team has player who has overcome gang violence to become conference freshman of the year, you can't play the race card.
Walters also said Niagara is in this game because they won the conference tourney, but not the regular season title but honestly, if you're going to bring up race at all — which you probably shouldn't — Weber should be in this game.
It looks like NCAA tournament history — by both Weber and past Big Sky teams (us) — played a factor in the committee's decision on where to seed the Weber State Wildcats.
Many saw Weber as a 16 seed playing 1 seed UCLA; well, these teams will be playing each other but with different seeds. Weber received a 15 seed and UCLA got the 2.
Weber has some bizarre amount of tournament appearances, something like 14; it's pretty crazy for a Big Sky team. As much as I dislike these guys I hope they have a decent showing and help UM out next year when they're looking for a decent seed after going something like 15-1 in conference play.
UPDATE: It looks like they have a shot to not get completely blown out of the water. ESPN's new NCAA frame just stated their two most recent tournament victories came as a 14 seed, with one as recently as the mid-nineties.
NAU beat the Cats by a total of 21 points and come into tonight's game with a bit of swagger. Well, at least the NAU coach doesn't sound too afraid in this article in the Montana Kaimin.
“Come to conference tournament time it doesn’t matter if you’ve won 27 games or if you’ve won 15,” said NAU coach Laurie Kelly, whose team entered the tournament with a regular season record of 18-11. “That’s what the tournament’s all about, the feeling that every game could be any team’s last game.They do have reason to show a bit of confidence; the Lumberjills (come on, it's perfect) have played the Lady Griz close in both meetings this year and beat UM in a semifinal game last year.
“Basketball is my life and I love it,” said Cam in the article. Who doesn't want to hear what this kid has to say about this and next season? Well, here is my email interview with Cam:
Grizzoulian: When you came to this team it was coming off a 24-7 season where they were a win away from the sweet 16; did the team meet your expectations and did you reach your own goals this season?
Cam: No the team didn't reach my expectations at all, we went to the final 32 and personally I think we were a better team this year even though cris and virg were huge, and we didn't even make it to the big sky ship. Personally I reached some goals but not the ultimate goal. I wanted to play a lot minutes and contribute right away for the griz. but i also personally wanted to make it to the ncaa tourney and that was disappointing that we didnt.
Grizzoulian: I understand you spent a lot of time working on shooting this past offseason (it's definitely shown); what aspects of your game do you hope to improve on during this coming offseason? What other plans do you have for the offseason?
Cam: I plan on focusing on 3 things....ballhandling, getting stronger and quicker, these 3 things take time and consistent hard work so ill be busy...I also plan on going home this summer to play in some leagues and work out with my best friends (Jamar and Treasure).
Grizzoulian: Many Griz fans believe you have the potential to be the leader this team needs. What do you believe your role will be on this team next year?
Cam: I believe my job will continue to be the energy man on the court and the bench and the floor general and an extension on coach Tinks on the floor...I might have to score a little bit next year because we're losing a key scorer in Matt D.
Grizzoulian: Many Griz fans are disappointed at where this year's hoop season ended. Where do you see this team going next season? Any specific goals?
Cam: Well next season is a long time away and right now the griz are just focusing on getting better day by day...But with the tradition U of Montana holds, a goal every year is to host the big sky tourney and advance to post season play.
Montana's Wayne Tinkle and his staff must have CPR certification and first aid training, which is mandated by the school and recommended by the Big Sky Conference.Yep, that's right. Tinkle is certified to give you mouth to mouth if the need be. It's really interesting when you look at some of the things on other coaches' contracts.
Ohio State's Thad Matta has use of a private plane for recruiting and other business trips — a private jet when he's traveling more than 200 miles from Columbus, Ohio — up to a cost of $65,000 annually. He also gets 10 hours of private use of a personal jet each year.You really can't help but think "Well, that's why we're Montana and they're Ohio State."
Note: Yeah, Danny Davis did something similar but I did start first.
This season started with the Griz hoops program returning almost everyone from a team that finished as one of top 32 teams in the country. Returners included the Griz's best player and all-conference performer Andrew Strait as well as freshman stud and Big Sky Tournament MVP Jordan Hasquet. Things weren't looking too bad after losing guards Kevin Criswell and Virgil Matthews. Most Griz fans thought we'd still be fine even though Larry Krystkowiak left for the Association. Well, as we know now, it didn't go smoothly.
Seems like we should've known after all the previews pointed to these things as a reason we wouldn't be as good. However, it wasn't Criswell and Matthews' 26.1 combined ppg or Krysko's X's and O's that led to a subpar season. It was something you can't teach. It was leadership.
After the jump I'll take a closer look at the leadership on this team.
From what I saw of this game, which wasn't much because it filled me with a jealous rage, it was eerily similar to the Griz game last night. NAU was down by 21 (19 in the second half!) and came back to get it within 4. Sure, they never went up like the Griz did but it was pretty close before they let it slip at the end.
I really don't want to describe it much more because it's really kind of frustrating. Watching Weber State get their dance tickets was probably only comparable to how one feels they walk in on their significant other in bed with someone else. "These guys are going instead of us?!"
And where were our beloved Grizzlies when all this was getting underway? OK, I don't know where all of them were but I saw a couple guys at the Food Zoo. THE FOOD ZOO! DURING THE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. I pray to God this never happens again because it was honestly one of the saddest sights I have ever seen.
Well, that doesn't mean they can't lose. Kellis Robinett, whose coverage of Big Sky hoops has been excellent this year, points to what other dominant teams have done in their respective conference tournaments.
Three Division I teams — Duke, Uconn, Tennessee — went into their respective conference tournaments without a conference loss, and one team (Ohio State) only had one conference loss. All of those teams, however, were upset in their tourney semifinals.However, he does point out that "The Zoo" may be very good at aiding this Lady Griz team:
One thing that will make the task of taking out the Griz so daunting is the crowd factor. This season, Montana women's basketball nearly outdrew the men's team's crowds. The Lady Griz average just about 4,000 per game, and they are fans who know when to cheer, when not to, what to yell and how loud to yell it.The complete article offers some good insight and opinion. One opinion LG fans may not agree with: he thinks the MVP award should've gone to Idaho State's Natalie Doma, not Mandy Morales. He also has an interesting take on Missoula.
Poor shooting from the foul line was one of the most frustrating aspects of watching the UM basketball team throughout this season. The final NAU game was probably as sickening as any: the Lumberjacks outshot the Griz a full by a full 23% from the line.
The Lumberjacks made 24 of their 30 free throws; the Griz made 7 of 13. Obviously, getting to the line is also a problem but a team should put up better than Ben Wallace type numbers from the stripe in the biggest game of the year. It's easy to see that there is a problem, the bigger issue is finding the cause.
The Griz were down by 22 early in the game and I really can't describe how much I hated the team at this point in the game. Most fans know what I'm talking about. You know; those moments when you can't help but wonder why they can go out and not give a damn while you have so much emotionally invested in them. You can't help but wonder why the players can't get up for a game that decides their season. You have to ask how a coach can't get his team pumped the most important 40 minutes of the season.
Then they go and remind you why you've never been more obsessed with any sports team by playing like their hair is on fire and making up a deficit you thought was far too large. At one point the Griz couldn't be beat on the defense end and could not be stopped when they had the ball. Things were looking up and it appeared as though I would be hopping on a bus tomorrow morning to go watch our Griz get their passes punched for the Big Dance.
Then things started to slip a bit. The lead decreased and Drew headed to the line before a media timeout. Coming out of the timeout, the world was thrown off its tilt for all Griz fans as it seemed like the nothing was right on Earth.
The time out ended and the game was over. The music cued on the radio broadcast for the game to come back but it just wasn't right as the cheesy techno-ish music cut out for a few seconds only to be replaced by cheesy country music and someone announced that they were having technical difficulties.
As the technical difficulty break went on I tried to convince myself that when the game came back we would be up but I couldn't help but be afraid that when it did come back we would be down by some insurmountable margin. Mick came back on what sounded like an old Nokia cell phone and we were down by 9. I had a feeling this was going to happen but had no idea how it did.
The roller coaster went up again as the Griz cut the lead to 5 on a big trey with less than thirty seconds to play. Then it shot downwards for good as the Griz turned it over and the Lumberjacks made two free throws.
It was the story of the season with a poor showing in preseason play then showing strong signs in early conference play.Things dipped after a couples losses but we picked it up again and at one point it looked like we were going to host the tournament. Then we lost a couple big ones and didn't even get a bye. Now it ends in a disappointing loss that we should've won.
That rant is all I have on the game for not but more analysis on the game is sure to come.
Take a look for yourself: The Lady Griz are the 25th best women's team in the land according to the AP Top 25.
Congrats ladies and coach Selvig, hope more recognition is on the way.
This is from a preview of the Griz/ISU game:
With his five 3-pointers Monday at ISU, Rundles qualified for the league leaders in 3-point percentage and finished first in the league at .481, just ahead of NAU’s Stephen Sir.Sir has jumped back ahead of Cam, .479 to .471, with Cam's 2-6 performance in the quarterfinal game. This matchup will be an interesting one as outside shooting could play a big role in deciding who goes on to play Weber or Portland State.
This is from a Kellis Robinett article in the Idaho State Journal:
Late in the game, with Montana surging back against Idaho State, the crowd at Dahlberg Arena became a legitimate distraction to the Bengals. That might sound a little odd considering Idaho State spent much of its preseason playing at Illinois, Marquette, BYU and Oregon. But on one possession John Ofoegbu held onto the ball without worry while the shot clock expired.It was good to see the Dahlberg crowd finish the men's season on a high note. Lets hope it not only carries over into the Lady Griz playoff run, but also into next season.
“When they made their run, the crowd definitely got back into it,” Schroeder said. “The atmosphere definitely changed, and it was hard to communicate.”
I can't get a link to the actual article but the complete text can be found in a comment on this blog. Here's a longish excerpt:
Cameron Rundles walked off the court following DeLaSalle's 61-56 victory over Minneapolis Henry wearing a smile that somehow looked out of place with the large bandage wrapped around his head.
The senior guard had just led the Islanders to a victory in a Class 3A, Section 5 championship game at Osseo so brutally physical that shoulder pads would not have seemed odd.
Rundles took the biggest hit of the game, colliding with Henry's Al Nolen Jr. while going for a rebound with 5 minutes, 32 seconds left in the first half. The two banged heads and Rundles landed hard on the floor.
The result was a dislocated left shoulder and a nasty gash over his right eye. The shoulder was popped back into place, but he left the court for the remainder of the half and, presumably, the rest of the game.
However, Rundles came back into the game with four minutes gone in the second half, and he didn't miss a beat.
He scored all nine of his points in the second half and dished out five of his game-high seven assists as the Islanders rallied from a 12-point deficit with a 19-6 run.
"I've been in Minnesota since 1986 and I've seen a lot of basketball," DeLaSalle coach Dave Thorson said. "And I've never seen a player as tough as Rundles. He may not be the best player I've seen, but he is the toughest."
Are you kidding me? This is insane. If having his arm being popped out of its socket doesn't prevent this kid from taking over a game, Big Sky defense sure as hell isn't. This is like Dwayne Wade-esque, minus the tears and being carted off in a wheelchair.
This is from, of all places, some ads on Facebook:
The first 100 students IN THE DOOR at Saturday's Griz vs. Idaho St. basketball game (7:05pm) will get in FREE! Student tickets are $5.00 & can be purchased at the student entrance.So we can afford pizza, but not free admission for everyone. I'm down. Seriously, the student section isn't even crowded until 10 minutes into the game.
100 FREE medium pizzas will be given away to UM students showing up early to the Griz vs. Idaho St. game on Saturday at 7:05pm! Pizzas will be handed out starting at 6:30.
EVERYONE COME TO THE GAME.
I really can't describe the story or pull out interesting quotes because they really all are good. Take a look for yourself at this really great piece.
He overcame losing his parents to AIDS early in life and has transformed from a struggling student to one on the Dean's List. He went from getting a 9 on the ACT to now being a 3.7 student who will graduate with a major in Sociology.
Keep it up BE.
Here, in my opinion, are the three biggest games of the year for the Griz:
- vs Idaho State. The Griz came into this game at 2-2 in conference play and had a shot re-establish themselves as a contender by beating hot-starting ISU. The Bengals entered the game 4-0 and went on to throttle UM by ten in the Den.
- vs Weber State. Weber came into the Zoo in first place and the Griz needed wins to scramble back into the conference picture. The Griz were trailing by double-digits in the second half before apparently turning the season around with a 90-86 victory.
- @ Weber State. This was arguably the biggest game of the year. It was first place versus second place and the winner would control where the conference tourney would be played. The Griz fell in a close one: 73-67.
- vs NAU. The Griz needed this one to help secure their shot at the 2-seed after it no longer it looked like they would be able to host the tournament. Griz came out slow and were fighting from behind the entire game. They never made it all the way back and lost 88-81.
Special note: Also pictured, top leftish in the UM shirt, is Krista "whatcha gonna do?!" Paul of the marketing department.
Then there's the other reason: some people have a test tomorrow. The games are an hour and a half long and I know I don't start studying until like 9 for most nights. Even if you start studying earlier, 90 minutes isn't too much to spare. Come on, support your team.
A couple previews:
Significant showdown - Grizzlies-Jacks matchup could decide tournament No. 2 seed [The Missoulian]
Griz, NAU battle for second-place seed in Big Sky Tournament [Montana Kaimin]
Here's a great new Gatorade ad I saw last night while watching some hoops. It really sucks that he got hurt in last night's game. Hope Wade's shoulder injury isn't as bad as it looks.
I really wish we had one guy who could do this. I know not a lot of teams have a Dwayne Wade, it'd just be great if the Griz had someone who could take it to the rim. I mean Cam, Dlouhy and Hasquet have the ability but how many GREAT finishes have you seen this year?
Note: Youtube is kind of down right now so the rest of the videos in the "Youtube clips" tag may be temporarily unavailable.
I'm not going to gripe a bunch or provide a ton of analysis, i just want to toss out a little insight and disappointment over the way the most important possession of the season was handled.
It came with under 2 minutes left and the Griz trailing by between 4 and 6. Yeah, I'm sorry I don't have exact figures for what I'm calling the "most important possession" but anyone who listened to the broadcast last night knows it was tough at times to get the correct score.
Back to the game, the possession happened immediately following a time out. Coming out of the break, Weber State went into a zone and totally confused the Griz. They really didn't have anything to match it. There was no solid play and it sounded like the Griz just panicked.
The possession ended with the ball in the hands of Bryan Ellis. He took the shot and was stuffed, the ball went the other way and WSU got some easy points. Then the game was over. BE was having the game of his life but he just shouldn't be taking this shot. He's just not a shooter. It's the only knock on his game; he's good at driving and dishing as well as an incredible defender but on top of all that he has the worst shooting percentage on the team.
In situations like this, when teams go to a zone and things break down, I'd say give it to Hasquet. You don't give it down low to Drew (he hasn't been able to finish when guys collapse on him) unless he is absolutely going to kick it out.
My point is Bryan Ellis just isn't a Steve Kerr or John Paxson type point guard. He took the shot at the end of regulation in the first WSU game and it clanked off pretty badly. Keep doing your thing Bryan but stay within yourself. He played a great game but I just don't have him taking, arguably, the biggest shot of the season.
Here's an interesting quote by Wayne Tinkle from the article mentioned above:
"...It was one of those deals where the 20 or so of us in the room said let's buy in and stay together.I've mentioned before that this team is almost clogged with talent. They are loaded in the back and front-court but if their bench players don't get any time because of others in front of them, they can't get in a rhythm and play to their potential. It's odd that these players only voice their frustration at home. What, they need to impress the femininas?
“That's been an issue with us a little bit. We have so much depth that we've had some guys with frustration with playing time and it's caused us problems, especially at home. Here on the road lately guys are swallowing their ego and buying into putting the program first and it's paying off for us.”
Important stat: During the preseason, the Griz were 0-6 on the road but during BSC play they're 4-2 away from home, the same record they have in the Zoo.
Griz fans have been pretty weak so far when it comes to trying to distract free throw shooters with the exception of a couple raucous young men bringing a painted box to a few games and chanting the word "brick."
That's been ok when it worked but imagine how much better it would be if we practiced the routine above. The whole arena would be silent and sitting while one guy yelled and flapped his gut around. Can anyone think of something more perfect for our relatively lazy fans?
Applications are being accepted now and I think every Griz hoops regular knows who the ideal candidate is.
RELATED: The Most Effective Free Throw Distraction In NBA History (The Fanhouse)
Going into Wednesday night's big 1 vs 2 matchup, Weber State(17-10, 10-4) reminds me a bit of the state they reside in: pretty bland. Sure Utah has some great skiing and Ty Detmer while Weber State is in first place but that's pretty much where the overwhelming excitement ends.
If you take a look at their schedule, there aren't many really big wins or disappointing losses, at least not in conference play. They're just out there doing their thing and rockin the purple attire.
Glancing at their preseason schedule it's almost as if they played two conference schedules: one against the Big Sky and one against the Great Salt Lake Conference. They played Utah State and Southern Utah twice and BYU and Utah once. They went 1-6 in that stretch, beating only Southern Utah, who is dying to get out of the fictional Great Salt Lake Conference and into the Big Sky. Their biggest test came against the University of Washington and of course they failed worse than Dennis Miller on Monday Night Football.
When it comes to Big Sky play, the Wildcats have been consistent, with three of their four losses coming to teams they had a reasonable chance of losing. The four losses came at home to Idaho State (back before they rolled over) early in the season, back to back at Montana and at Montana State then by 15 on the road to EWU. The Montana loss was a of the OT variety as the Griz came from 11 down in the second half to beat the Wildcats. This was a major turning point in the Griz season as that game sparked a stretch of 6-1 ball with the only blemish being the PSU incident, which really shouldn't be brought up here ever again.
This game will likely determine who hosts the BSC tournament as the Wildcats only have lowly Sac State left on their schedule following the UM game. The Griz have a NAU and UNC at home and ISU on the road.
Back to the power rankings. Ian Ruder's (Vikings Blog) came out today and he has the Griz firmly at second behind Weber and in front of Northern Arizona. Another thing about power rankings is that there relatively worthless when who actually is number one will be decided on the court in only a couple days.
For his rationale for putting everyone where they are and the complete rankings, check them out at his blog.
This is the scene from a high school (my alma mater) basketball game on Bainbridge Island, WA. Yeah, a high school game. Seriously, why can't we have hoops fans that are anywhere close to this? It's in a 2,000 seat gym on an island with a population of around 20,000.
Sure, it helps that the player in the foreground is Gonzaga commit Steven Gray and the team is ranked #1 in WA 3A ball but you think we could be somewhere near half as spirited as these guys. Come on, we're I-A college hoops and we can stand and cheer for an entire game?
An important point is that when I went to school at BHS, only two years ago, the atmosphere was not even close to what is pictured here. Hopefully the UM crowd can turn it around and transform Dahlberg into a place as intimidating as the tiny Paski Gym on Bainbridge.
Interesting note: one of the BHS's biggest hoops fans and a friend of mine may be coming to UM. I really hope he does seeing as it only takes a couple people to inspire the rest.
Lets start next Saturday with the 'white-out' and really turn Dahlberg into a place teams hate to play. Lets bring back The Zoo.
The points were distributed pretty well: Rogers, who went off in the first half and finished with 16. Morales was once again very impressive as she went for 16 as well and tacked on 8 assists. She really is an incredible passer. As soon as she gets the ball going the other way she'll look up for a long pass, which she completed a couple of in the game. Johanna Closson led the Griz with 17 points.
It's really amazing how fundamentally sound the Lady Griz are in comparison to the men's team. I don't mean to bash the men's team but they really trail pretty far behind the women when it comes to the basics. The men do not have a great passer like Morales; Ellis and Rundles are kind of close but neither have the awareness she does.
The Lady Griz also run much cleaner and effective set plays. They work the picks and hustle for open shots. When they get those open shots, they seem to always knock them down, especially open treys.
Hustle is also a huge part of the Lady Griz's success. Sonya Rogers was great at chasing down fast breaks. Once she nearly picked a ball clean but there was an iffy foul. Another team she pressured a girl into missing a layup.
The Lady Griz also knock down their free throws. Come on fellas, they're free points. There's really nowhere to point for the reason the men's hoops team isn't as fundamentally sound as the Lady Griz.
There were a couple guys from the men's team at the game tonight and they probably should've brought a notebook, they have a lot to learn from the ladies.
Most people know what's going down but here are a couple previews.
Griz's most dominating force, Andrew Strait has been sick all week and no one really knows if he can play and if he will, how much. The Cats have won six of seven and haven't lost in Boz Angeles in conference play. However, they've lost the past four matchups with the Griz, including a 73-65 game in Missoula.
Well I just ate a big bowl of chili and watched th end of Au Pair so I know I'm pumped.
Lets do this, live blog is after the jump.
Fans of the two teams come probably come in in with very varying opinions on their respective seasons. First off, the Bobcats. This team came into conference play looking pretty talentless and like a team that would go pretty quietly into the abyss. That hasn't happened.
Head coach Brad Huse has this Bobcat team playing way over its head and right in the thick of the Big Sky race. It was them who ended Idaho State's undefeated stretch and sent the Bengals into chaos. The Cats also beat Weber State at home. It hasn't been this way throughout all of BSC play as they started 1-3. Then it started. They beat Weber at home and won six of seven.
The Griz are sitting a little differently. They also are 7-4 in BSC play but they arguably have the most talent, top-to-bottom, in the entire conference. This means they;re doing the exact opposite of the Cats and playing below their talent level.
When a team appears to play below its talent level, fans start questioning coaching. This has happened as several Griz hoops fan aren't has happy about Tinks as Cats fans are about Huse. I don't agree with this. Many fans expected this team to continue on its upward track but are disappointed to find them in a transition year. No matter who the coach was, this team was going to be in transition after losing the chemistry it had this year. This is more due to the loss of seniors Kevin Criswell and Virgil Matthews.
However, all Griz and Cat fans would have to agree: this game is big and the rivalry only adds to it.
When LK was about to leave, he didn't seem quite as desperate to get out. He did put his name in for the job at Pepperdine before seeing all the good that he had right in UM and getting out. He saw that UM had a great program on the rise. They just beat Nevada to get to the second round of the NCAA tourney and, before he was mentioned as a candidate, I didn't even know Pepperdine had a basketball program.
So he got out of it. He told his players he would not take any other college job. He wanted to build the Griz program into one it had the potential to be. He wanted to make this school love its hoops program again and he was well on his way.
What would be said if Hauck had a similar chat about his aspirations with the Griz football team?
"Listen guys, I know when I recruited you I asked that you dedicate the next four to five years of your life to this football program but... I'm not gonna lie, as soon as something decent opens up at the next level and they're willing to hire a I-AA coach to run their program, I'm taking the next overpriced non-direct flight out of here."I'm not blaming him or calling him a bad guy, it's just kind of disappointing that he's such a lame duck. He needs to go elsewhere to take his game to the next level and wants to do so as soon as humanly possible.
The question I have for you is this: who do you think is the better coaching prospect, Bobby Hauck or Larry Krystkowiak?
Tinkle's quote on the matter: “We told them that if they are representing Grizzly basketball, they don’t need to be clowning around on there and putting stupid pictures up.”
No, they really don't. This article could've been reported a little better seeing as it wouldn't take much to expose a couple key athletes. Well, not so much 'expose,' just make them look really stupid. I considered doing a big story on this last year but didn't feel like tearing down anyone and I don't blame the reporter of this story, Amber Kuehn, for not doing so.
It would take me about eleven seconds to grab and throw up a couple Kyle Orton-esque images but I wouldn't think of it seeing as I don't want anyone to get in trouble. Even so, these athletes shouldn't put themselves in such a vulnerable position.
I have to say that there is one major positive to having athletes on Facebook. This is messaging opposing ones after a game. Nothing beats harassing some guy all game then leaving him a nice note to read a few hours later.
I wonder what they're like as a Myspace friend. Odds are Hornets Nation lives on Myspace, putting up bulletins filled with quizzes and view trackers. Seriously, you know the people at Hornets Nation fall for those things. Come on guys, there's no way you'll ever be able to see who actually has been visiting your page or find out what Laguna Beach star you're most like.
The game's two best player's had to be Jordan Hasquet and Stu Mayes. Jordan was great on the offensive end, scoring 26, and getting to the basket for some big shots when the Griz needed them most.
Stuart Mayes was great on the defensive side of the ball, spending most of the second half inside Rodney Stuckey's shirt. Mayes, with help from Matt Dlouhy, held Stuckey to only 19 points.
The Griz needed this win, coming off a home loss to PSU. Things could be worse, but they're still in the thick of the BSC race with home game left against the first place Wildcats.
From PSU head coach Ken Bone:
“It’s hard to win on the road,” he said. “Let alone win on the road here at the University of Montana.”From Anthony Washington:
“First and foremost, they’re good,” Bone said of the Grizzlies. “Second of all, usually there’s a really great crowd here. If the crowd really gets fired up it’s like the sixth man approach.”
“They’re fun,” he said. “There’s some nut up here that yells and screams and thinks he’s funny. They’re fun and they’re great, that’s what college basketball’s about. I wish we had crowds like this.”
“I like the crowd (in Missoula),” said Vikings senior center Anthony Washington. “No offense to our fans at Portland State, but I wish we had more of a presence.”From Juma Kamara:
“I think for the opponents it can make some of them frustrated,” he added. “Especially the freshmen that have never heard anything like that before, but for the most part you block it out.”
“They’re just regular old fans,” he said. For Kamara it was the first time in his career that he had won in Missoula.From Griz head coach Wayne Tinkle:
“It’s a nice environment for basketball,” Kamara said. “Especially in this conference, to me it’s like the best gym in the conference – nice crowd, nice everything.”
“Well it’s great,” he said. “Once we hit some shots and we started showing some hustle, they rewarded us by cheering and making some noise. That’s awesome, but we can’t wait for them to get us going. We need to get ourselves going.”This team really thrives when Dahlberg is loud. The more students that come and make noise, the better this team will do.
“Hopefully we can come out Saturday night and we’ll have even a bigger crowd.”
The calls were really awful all night but lets just cut to the chase because I have just enough patience to prevent myself from ripping the screen off my laptop. There's somewhere around 45 seconds left, tie game, and a PSU player with some of the worst hair I've seen -- this guy was more done up than Sandra Dee in the closing scene of Grease --is driving to the basket and Jordo Hasquet just absolutely stands him up. The block was cleaner than a dentist's office and the refs wait to see who gets the the ball; the Griz grab it and a whistle is blown shortly after. Foul on the Griz. Shocking!
I swear to God, the Vikings just acted like they just beat Duke to go to the goddamn Sweet 16. I'm surprised assistant coach Bucktooth Blush didn't grab a fucking ladder from the storage closet and start cutting down the nets. Players and coaches alike tried to taunt fans as they made they way to the locker room, where they bounced around, apparently looking for a crate of Cristal champagne.
What happened to acting like you've won before? The little respect I had for this program was completely erased tonight.
These two teams almost met last year as the Griz pulled off the 12-5 upset over Nevada and Pacific was close to pulling off an even bigger upset over 4th seeded Boston College. The Tigers were up 6 in overtime before losing in a second OT, which was forced by a controversial call.
The Tigers led 74-72 with five seconds to play in overtime when Christian Maraker fouled Boston College's Craig Smith. Smith, a poor foul shooter who was 3 of 7 on the day, made two free throws to send the game into double overtime. Thomason insisted Maraker hadn't committed a foul and later said video replays provided proof, but the call stood.This was the second time the Griz and Tigers almost faced eachother in the second round of the tournament. In 2005, the Griz hung with 1 seed Washington for a bit before eventually getting beat by double-digits while the 8th seeded Tigers beat 9th seeded Pittsburgh before losing to UW in the next round.
Many Griz fans see this game as kind of a letdown, as they play a struggling team in a non-televised game but the Tigers are a better foe than most realize. I know they lost a lot of players after last year but this team has made the tournament the last three seasons, and advanced the second round twice in the span. This team is one to be reckoned with, and head coach Tinkle knows that.
"Yesterday, when we walked out of the office, the last thing I said is, 'I sure hope we don't get Pacific,' " Tinkle told reporters Tuesday in Missoula. "My first year here, I think in '01, they beat us by 20 (actually 77-64). They've gotten better. They're just a great, great program.This matchup also means the Griz will have to face Pacific on the road next year. They could combine this with a game or two against a couple good California foes to make an exceptional road trip.
"I know they're a little down this year. Their record reflects that, but they're still a very, very talented team, and it's going to be a big challenge for us."
In ESPN columnist Pat Forde's most recent Forde Minutes column he discusses his dislike for giant cartoon animals planting themselves on college basketball courts across the country. The University of Montana has a giant Griz on their court but Forde says there an exception to the "animal gigantism" rule: "The Grizzlies get a pass because their Grizzly bear looks semi-authentic, and because he's indigenous."
The image above is a cell phone picture taken on the court after the Stanford upset. Good times.
A big part of this was his 11-11, 23 point performance in the great road win over Northern Arizona. Drew also had 13 and 8 in the blowout win over Northern Colorado.
Awards like these are a good sign as when Drew is going good, the team usually is as well. Check out the previous entry for more opinion and some great comments on Drew's contribution to this team.
The Big Sky Conference will now have two sets of power rankings, with Ian Ruder over at Vikings Blog throwing his first set of rankings up today. Kellis Robinett also does BSC power rankings over at his blog in connection with the Pocatello Journal.
In Ian's rankings, the Griz sit at second, behind Weber State and in front of Northern Arizona and Idaho State. This definitely is a bit iffy (the very goal of "power rankings" is to stir up discussion) seeing as the Griz beat WSU last week and are tied in the loss column after road wins over NAU and Northern Colorado.
Here's the caption next to UM's ranking: "If Krystkowiak was still coaching, this deep, talented group would run away with the league. As is, the team seems to be jelling under coach Wayne Tinkle."
I would've agreed with this statement earlier in the season, but I'm not so sure now. This is a very talented team, but they also are team filled with diverse personalities and no real leader. It has taken a lot for this team to come together and I'm not so sure it would've happened any faster under LK.
The Griz came out and forced their game plan on the Lumberjacks like a teacher forcing students to do a lesson plan they don't want to do. Andrew Strait score 7 of UM's first 10 points and 11 of their first 23. The Griz fed him down low continuously and he kept putting up points.
Not only did Strait have UM back on their style of play, he was also playing his by getting to the basket and not settling for jumpers or hooks. Nine of Strait's 11 field goals came on either layups or dunks.
Force feeding drew down low is essential for the Griz to play at the level their capable of. In many of their losses they, Strait wasn't getting enough attempts and guards were jacking up threes. It's good to see them playing the way the team is suited to play and once again taking advantage of their most talented player.
Freshman Jovanni Sims has left the University of Montana men's basketball team. Sims, a 6-foot-4-inch guard from Milwaukee was expected log some playing time this eyar for the Griz, but because of issues regarding his high school transcripts, had not been cleared to play by the NCAA.It's a shame Jio never found his way onto the court. This whole things sounds pretty complicated and unfair; I really hope he hones his skills and gets his grades squared away in Junior College and comes back to contribute in the future.
UM head coach Wayne Tinkle said Sims transferred to Midland College, a junior college in Midland, Texas.
"He just wanted to go somewhere he could play," said UM head coach Wayne Tinkle, who did not close the door on Sims possibly returning to Missoula in the future.
Throughout the season, the Griz have had trouble finishing the first half. They seem to always come out playing well for the first 5-10 minutes; they came out playing very strong and were up 5 with 15:00 left in the half before things evened up for the next ten or so minutes.
Between the 5:14 and 3:28 mark the Lumberjacks went on a 7-2 run to take a 6 point lead. I was afraid the Griz would fall into old tendencies and the lead would be pushed to double digits before half.
Jordan Hasquet was crucial in the time period when the Griz had previously suffered the most. With the Griz down 6, Hasquet came out after the media timeout and knocked down threes on consecutive possessions. Hasquet also had the two points during the 'Jacks run.
I know games are decided in the second half, and this one on the final shot, but Hasquet made sure the Griz would be in it the whole way. The Griz had been playing from behind in far too many games and Hasquet's big plays during this stretch allowed them to go into the half with a lead and play from the front in the second period. The Lumberjacks led only once in the second half, and this was by one with more than 17 minutes remaining. This gave the Griz the confidence needed to pull off the huge road win.
Andrew Strait was very huge for the Griz hitting all eleven of his shots from the field and scoring a game-high 23. Jordan Hasquet hit some big shots and BE led the offense. I've said it before but everyone is beginning to find their role on this team. Hell, even Big Dave Vanderjagt got a minute or two and was able to get his first points.
The win puts the Griz a game back of first place Idaho State (5-2) and Weber State (6-3). Those two faced each other tonight in Pocatello and the Wildcats came away with a win. There are currently four teams tied for that second place spot.
I don't have time to go into too much detail seeing as I have to read almost an entire book by tomorrow (don't you miss college?) but I'm going to try to put up a series of posts on all the factors that contributed to this great win after I go to a couple classes.
Yes, the Griz won probably their biggest game of the season on Saturday night but tonight's game at NAU good be just as bad as Saturday's game was good.
This morning's Kaimin says both NAU and UM are looking to turn their season's around, and even though the game is big, this headling doesn't really seem right. NAU is 5-3 in BSC play and that's not bad considering how rough conference play for just about everyone this year. After the WSU game it looks like the Griz have turned their season around, they just need to keep it going the right direction.
This feeling was of having everything on track is not new to this season as most fans felt the same after the win over PSU on the road to open BSC play. Following that, they lost to EWU in a big test before falling to Sac State to make it two in a row.
If the Griz win tonight, they will get closer to WSU or ISU as those two face each other tonight in Pocatello. If the Griz win and ISU loses, the Griz would be only a game back of both the Bengals and Wildcats, who would be tied for first.
These two games are huge. The Griz need this one for the standings and themselves. They need to prove they can win big games on the road. Last year's team won in Flagstaff to get the Griz dancing, so lets hope this year's team can win another big one.
The article itself is about how he's a "mama's boy," which I guess is kind of interesting, but more importantly, there are some great quotes in there on his capabilities as a leader.
I can't get a link because the Kaimin's site isn't updated but here are the typed up quotes:
"I'm not leading any of the categories or anything," he said, "but I'm OK with that. I just want to help us win. I try to be the vocal man."I've been on the Cam Rundles bandwagon from the very start and these quotes just further my belief that he can and probably will have a significant impact on this program. This young team is in desperate need of a strong leader. Cam may be too gain the respect of all his teammates right now, but over the next three seasons he will become a dominant coach on the court; a Peyton Manning for Griz hoops, if you will.
"First I look at myself as an extension of a coach on the court. I'm a great communicator and a leader, so I try to communicate what coach Tinks says to us, on the other players."
Tinkle, in his first year as head coach agrees that Rundles' effectiveness lies in "intangibles" such as aggressiveness and leadership.
On top of the intangibles, Cam has all the essential tools to be a great guard in the Big Sky Conference. He's been working on his shooting and it's shown this year as he's hit some big shots from three point range. He also has the athleticism to get to the basket but still needs some work on finishing. It will come in time and Cam Rundles may go down as one of the better guards ever to play for the Griz.
Yes, this makes two entries in a row containing media from Deadspin, but I'm not going to talk about how great it was to see Tennessee head coach going topless or how Tinks should do the same. Instead, take a look at the bottom line: Gonzaga @ Portland. Yes, I know you and pretty much everyone didn't care about this game but for some crazy reason it was shown on the 'family of networks' Monday evening.
I watched this game and it was pretty awful. I don't understand why ESPN sends a crew to the tiny gym in Portland but can never bring one to the Zoo. I often watch these games and wonder how all these other schools can have such great fans but I've started to see what's going on. A majority of these big schools consistently have great fans but a lot of these other places have fans who are getting up and coming out for the game because it's being brought to you by the mightiest four letters in sports.
How great would it be to have ESPN in Missoula for a basketball game? I know I want to see painted fans and an absolutely packed Dahlberg. Seriously, ESPN and ESPN 2 do not have much better to show at some of these times so they might as well take a chance on a BSC game. They have billiards, darts and ping-pong on sometimes, why not some college hoops from out in the boonies?
And if we can't see Wayne Tinkle painted and shirtless then how 'bout Robin Selvig?
Related: "I hope you watch it over and over, like I will." [Deadspin]
The Griz lost to ISU last Wednesday night, another big road win for the Bengals, and gave up and assumed the Big Sky tournament would be played in Pocatello. Then the Cats decided to mess things up a bit.
Montana State beat ISU Saturday when Akbar Abdul-Ahad missed a three at the buzzer. Normally I wouldn't care at all who did this but I made fun of this guy for talking to the cheerleaders in Missoula before inbounding a pass and he responded by saying he'd knock down a three for me, which he did a couple seconds later. A little after that he turned it over and the Griz knocked down a three and now this. Karma.
More importantly, this game puts the Griz only two games back of the Bengals so if they manage to win in Pocatello, they only need to make up one more game elsewhere.
The Griz also sit only a game and a half of Weber State and Northern Arizona as WSU lost to
This comes with a couple huge games coming up this week: Griz vs NAU and WSU @ ISU.
Related: Around the Big Sky [Vikings Blog]
Outside of last year's upset win over Stanford, Saturday's overtime win over Weber State was probably the most enjoyable Griz game I've been to. The game was definitely great, but it did entail a male cheerleader getting hit in the back of the head with a Perkins mini-ball. Details after the jump.
The Lady Griz had won twelve straight, with their only loss coming to Ohio State before falling in Ogden.
Even with the loss the Lady Griz are still receiving votes for the women's rankings. The Lady Griz received only three votes in AP Top 25, with a lot of teams ahead of them, but in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll, the Lady Griz received 24 votes with only Mississippi having more votes and not being ranked.
They haven't cracked the Top 25 yet but someone has finally taken notice and it happens to be the big ol' ESPN. Mechelle Voepel wonders if the Lady Griz should be in the Top 25 or if they're just a good team playing a relatively bad conference.
The Griz and Bengals split the matchups last year with UM winning by 4 at home and losing by 25 on the road. Yes, I find that a little scary too seeing as this year's team is probably better than the previous season's.
ISU beat Utah Valley State, Sac State, and Eastern Washington while the Griz lost to all three of those teams. The Griz beat Boise State while ISU lost to them.
The Bengals come to the Zoo with one of the best defenses in the BSC, allowing only 65.6 points per game and holding opponents to a 42.3 shooting percentage.
This game is going to be challenging but a lot of intangibles could come into play. This weekend in Missoula may be the biggest of the year as first place Idaho State and second place Weber State both come to town. The Griz need to show that they are still contenders and potentially favorites in the conference.
A home sweep would do a lot for the Griz's confidence and show the league that the road to the BSC's spot in the NCAA tournament still goes through Missoula.
The Griz won a grinder over the rival Cats with a lot of help from their frosh. Rundles scored 15 big points in the second half. It was like he just decided that after going scoreless in the first half, he was going to carry this team.
However, it wasn't the normal way someone carries a team by making spectacular plays and obviously playing superior to everyone else on the court. Instead, he just made shots when he needed to.
I remember once when the Cats made a big basket to cut it close, Cam got the ball behind the three point line with no less than 25 seconds on the shot clock and just decided he was going to knock down a three. He rose up with a defender all over him and knocked down like he was just shooting around after practice.
Does anyone know where the ceiling is on this kid? Seriously, a freshman that runs the point and is possibly the most dynamic player on the best team in the conference. I don't think he'll ever reach the Stuckey stratosphere but Cam is good, damn good.
Fellow freshman Ryan Staudacher also played well as hit three big threes coming off the bench. As did Mike Chavez. Stads is finding his spot in the rotation but Chavy is really fighting for more playing time. That's kind of scary seeing as this team needs role players but it's great to see his effort.
The Griz are starting to find out who they are. Good timing too with league leaders Idaho State and Weber State rolling into town this week.
Tonight may be a little fawkward for the Griz as they face off against the Cats, coached by former Griz assistant Brad Huse. There are articles on the idea of facing a former friend here and here so I'm not going to go too in depth on that issue.
Instead, here's what former head coach Larry Krystkowiak had to say about these two coaches.
LK on Huse:
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, what he's gone through and how he goes about his business,” Krystkowiak said. “He's one of those people you can tell he's constantly observing and assessing. He's not full of a lot of talk. Ask Brad about a team and he wasn't going to overwhelm you with 10 bullet points. He'd have it narrowed down to two, maybe three things. With as many things as you have on your plate as a head coach, that was valuable to me.LK on Tinkle:
“He gets the big picture.”
“He'd probably be the first to tell you we had a good cop-bad cop thing going on,” Krystkowiak said. “I didn't have to be a nice guy. A certain amount of fear has to be instilled in the players. Wayne will differ from me in that way, but he may actually harden over time. I don't know too many head coaches who are good cops.I overheard someone at the bowling alley last night talking about Tinks and LK and they were saying what I'm kind of thinking after seeing this. Maybe Tinkle is still too much of a "good cop" and needs to learn how to get in his players heads.
“That's the way I did it, but just because I did it that way doesn't make it right. He could probably do a great job being a nice guy too.”
Normally I would think this is a total farce but the Big Sky Conference is all over the place this year. Just look at NAU's ranking and caption. While you're at it, check out Northern Colorado's as well.
3. Northern Arizona (8-7, 3-1) With a trip to Northern Colorado coming up, move NAU to 4-1.Well, in this year's BSC conference, guaranteed wins are a sure thing like Ohio State rolling over Florida was a sure thing. Tonight, NAU fell to UNC on a layup with ten seconds to play.
9. Northern Colorado (2-14, 0-4) One RPI service ranks the Bears last among all Division I teams.
Most of the other rankings held true as Idaho State beat EWU, moving to 3-0 in conference, and Weber State beat Sac State. Weber State is now sitting pretty after wins on consecutive nights and a 5-1 record in conference play. It is kind of odd that WSU has played six games while some teams have only played three.
I don't really know what to say on this victory as it was a somewhat easy win over a subpar team. Mandy Morales, of course, led all scorers with 20. According to the Bobcat announcers, she also went Michael Vick on the MSU crowd. Junior forward Johanna Closson notched an impressive 17 points and 9 boards.
I don't know how possible this is, but if the Lady Griz just do not get beat the rest of the season, can they make it into the top 25? If so, how high?
I don't care what sport you're in or what gender it is but if your only loss of the season comes to an Ohio State team, you're pretty damn good.
The Griz men's team come into this week needing a win pretty bad. They are 1-2 in conference play and Weber State just jumped out to 4-1 with their win over Portland State so the Griz come into the weekend a game and a half back.
It's not like this lowly Montana State team is a guaranteed win. There are no guaranteed games in the BSC this year. Just ask anyone who's played Northern Colorado (yeah they're 0-4 in conference play but most of the losses have been close) or maybe Eastern Washington. EWU lost at home by a buzzer beater to MSU, pulling off the victory in Cheney that the Griz couldn't grab.
The Lady Griz game isn't quite as enticing with the likelihood them blowing out MSU and the fact that the game is in Bozeman. Even so, they come in with an 11-game winning streak and a box full of BSC player of the week awards.
Lady Griz play at 7 on Thursday and the Griz men play Saturday at 7 so bust out that Tivo if you want to see Reggie Bush and Drew Brees tear up the Iggles.
I'm sure she doesn't mind seeing as the Lady Griz pushed their winning streak to 11 and the award went to fellow Lady Griz teammate, Sonya Rogers.
Rogers went 11 points over her career-high as she dumped 27 on EWU in a blowout victory. She shares the award with Idaho State's Natalie Doma.
With 11 straight victories and 6 POW awards, can anyone in the conference stop the Lady Griz? Also, just how much damage can this team do in the NCAA Tournament?
The Lady Griz received 6 votes in the most recent women's college basketball rankings.
The Griz are coming off a 74-71 loss to Eastern Washington. Winning two out of three on the road to start conference play would be great but imagine if we would've had a shot at 3-0. It'd be like starting off 20 meters down the track in a 100 yard dash seeing as the Griz only lost one game in Dahlberg last year. A road win over probably their biggest contender could have been very influential in deciding where the BSC tournament is hosted.
That game's over though and going into this game, the Griz come in looking once again like BSC contenders. They are ranked second on Idaho State Journal writer Kelis Robinett's BSC power rankings.
This doesn't say too much seeing as it's the second week of conference play and only one team has come out of it unscathed. This team is Weber State, who beat the Northerns and if NCAA Tournament selects were made today, ESPN says they'd be a 15 seed. Needless to say, the BSC is about as wide open as Joakim Noah's teeth.
In more important news, this Griz team is starting to play like they're supposed to and Cameron Rundles is the future.
The Griz came to the Stotts Center, where PSU was 6-0, and won a game that was far more important to their confidence than their overall record. They go into conference play and another big game against the Eagles knowing that they are not a flop but potentially the most talented team, top to bottom, in the Big Sky Conference.
True freshman PG Cameron Rundles showed that this will not only be his team in the future, but right now has as much of an impact as the players with more seniority. Cam finished with a career high 20 as he led all scorers. He also made this team run and flow. Once last night he got a defensive rebound and just took off for the opposing team's basket, not stopping until he was fouled in the lane.
Stu Mayes, who earlier this season was kind of in the dog house with Tinks, played great off the bench as he scored 10 big points including a tip-in with 13 seconds left that sealed the win.
This team is completely coming together as everyone is finding out what their role is and going out and doing it. Like I sort mentioned before, this team is finding it's identity as a team that can go out and run.
Next up is EWU on Saturday. They were shocked by MSU at the buzzer so Rodney Stuckey -- this kid needs a nickname, like Mamba and Agent Zero -- is going to be pissed.
A win in this could be just as big as the PSU win, except this time for the standings. Two road wins in the conference would be a great jump start. And because I thought this was hilarious when i saw it on TV last night, another great jump start after the break.
That doesn't matter, this game is huge. It is. I wish I could get the Donald Trump impersonator screen thing from Conan just so I could get him to say "it's huuuge" and then you might really understand.
This team needs to figure out exactly who it is, a talented flop or returning BSC contender? They go into the game with a long list of things to prove. Some of those are after the jump. Continue Reading...
I've been trying to network a bit more and thought this was an excellent idea. Ian has a very well run blog over at OregonLive.com, which is very up-to-date on the whole blogging scene with a blog for just about every local team.
The interview is after the jump, with questions on their impressive preseason, the return of Anthony Washington and the Cameron Indoor Stadium of the West -- The Stotts Center.
If you want to see his questions and my answers, head over to his blog.
Lost in the hoopla surrounding guard Mo Williams' first career triple-double in Wednesday's victory over Miami at the Bradley Center was the fact that assistant coach Larry Krystkowiak deserved an assist for the victory.The Bucks only ended up scoring 7 fast break points in the game but the change to the offense was drastic.
Krystkowiak entered the halftime locker room and reminded the Bucks - a team that likes run for a living - that they had exactly zero fast-break points at that stage of the game.
Asked about Krystkowiak's halftime message, guard Michael Redd said, "That was shocking to us. We were scoring but we didn't get any fast-break points and we were like, 'Wow.' So we made an effort in the second half to go out and push it."
This happened too many times to count last year. If the over/under for years until Krystkowiak is head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks was 2.5, I'd have to take the under.
How dramatic was the change in style from half to half?
Let's put it this way. In the first half, the Bucks scored 53 points on 44.2% shooting. In he second half, the Bucks scored 68 points - two shy of their season high for a half - and shot 61.5%.
Miami, on the other hand, scored 56 points in the first half on 55% shooting. In the second half, the Heat scored 39 points on 35.1% shooting.
The Bucks have been searching all season for an identity and might finally be finding one as an open-court team.
Update: The Bucks have won five in a row with their win tonight over the Spurs. The game mentioned above was the second in the stretch.
I've been very busy the past couple weeks having fallen behind on a journalism class article and had finals in other classes but that is no excuse for not covering this year's Lady Griz team, which has won its seventh straight and is 10-1 -- sole loss being to Ohio State, you'll take that in any sport -- after tonight's victory over Santa Clara.
The Griz didn't play so hot in the first half but really turned it on in the second having shot 62% from the field in the period.
This happened as Mandy Morales tossed in a career-high 35 points and shot 18-18 from the stripe. Can we name the Big Sky Conference player of the week award after her already? She's won three straight and has to have Barbaro-like odds for this week's awards.
Next up is Canisius (gesundheit) in the Lady Griz Holiday Classic.
This comes after three straight wins, all at home, over teams that my high school (led by Gonzaga commit and sister's ex-boyfriend Steven Gray) could contend with.
The Griz beat the Golden Eagles by 15 last year at home as part of the Bracket Buster series so they had to return the favor. I don't think they know that they just had to play them at home, not return the favor of supplying a double-digit victory. Continue Reading...
The following clip is from a recent Bill Simmon's article on Doc Rivers. The Griz players don't give too many quotes after games but if they did I guarantee they would be saying some of the things listed below.
See, it's not hard to tell when your coach stinks. You usually know when your players are constantly saying things like "We just need to sustain that intensity for four quarters," "We need to play the kind of defense we're capable of playing," "We can take big leads, now we need to learn how to keep them," "We're a young team, so we're still learning how to bring the same consistency every night," "We have to start getting stops," and my personal favorite, "We need to learn how to execute down the stretch."In last night's 81-65 blowout, the Hilltoppers made a run at the end of the first half to go into the break tied after trailing double digits previously. After the half the Griz came out flatter than a Monopoly board and Western Kentucky went on a 22-5 run. This would've never happened with last year's team. Last year the Griz would ALWAYS come out on a high and make a big run to start the second half. These runs were a staple of Larry Krystkowiak's motivational skills.
Coach K's recruiting skills also showed last night as Cameron Rundles looked very capable of running the point. He had 13 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds in 16 minutes.
Here's the worst part of the whole story: "In the police report, police noted that the victim is approximately 5 feet tall. Davis stands 6-foot-7 and weighs nearly 300 pounds."
As humbling as the story on the incident is, the jail log goes one step further as Kamarr's name appears amongst all the other possible felons.
The Griz lost by five after leading by 14 in the first half. I really don't know what the deal is with this team; they're like a bizarro version of last year's team. Last year's team always seemed to start a little slow then blow teams out in the second half. This team starts fast -- the Griz made 4 of 6 three pointers in the opening minutes -- and tends to give it all back.
Bryan Ellis missed a three that would've tied it at the very end of the game, the Griz got the rebound and Jordan Hasquet missed a three of his own. I have no idea why BE was taking this shot, I don't think he is even one of the top three people I'd want taking this shot. I don't know, maybe Tinks was going with the surprise Steve Kerr/John Paxson method.
Matt Dlouhy led the Griz with 18 points. Gus Chase only played 4 minutes, I do not understand his lack of playing time whatsoever.
Here's the AP article.
The Griz hit their peak about five minutes into the game. Yeah, it's easy to see why they lost. The Griz sank their first eight shots from the field and were still up 21-13 with a little over six minutes left in the half. Things went bad from as they shot 5 for 20 for the remainder of the half to fall to a 31-27 deficit at the break.
It was pretty much over that as the Wolverines ran away to their 17 point victory. Strait finished with a double-double with 16 and 11. Complete stats in the article.
The Griz did play awful but at least Tinks didn't go Bobby Knight on anyone.
Not only did one stand or cheer, some students even told others not to stand. My girlfriend (we need to make up some name to refer to her by, like the Sports Gal, except better) was even called a bitch when she and a friend tried to stand through the first couple of minutes.
It's really beyond me that students can stand and yell throughout the course of a 3 and a half our long football game but not stand at all during a basketball game that lasts less than two hours. The Griz basketball finished up last season with advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a win over Nevada. Nevada enters this season ranked 25th in the nation.
The point is, the Griz basketball team is not I-AA; they're straight up I-A and people, especially students, should start noticing.
Well, that's the way I am with these Griz basketball previews. Nothing is changing. Even so, there's another one after the jump that follows the same basic formula. This, courtesy of the Portland State Blog.
Oh, and there's a game tonight at 7. The Griz have their first regular season game at home, its against MSU-Northern. I know it doesn't sound like it'd be as much fun as watching Bob Saget on 1 vs 100, but it's the last home game before they take on Western Kentucky on Dec. 6 so you might as well check it out.
At the bottom of this Missoulian article on how the Griz are looking to go dancing yet again, there is a note pointing to just who may sit out. The article itself isn't very interesting, it just has the very basics every team says after success. You know, "we'd love to get back, but we're just looking to take it one game at a time." Anyway, the most interesting part is a note on who will redshirt, here it is:
Tinkle said he has talked to freshmen Zach Graves and Dave Vanderjagt about sitting out as redshirts, but the decision will be up to the players and their families. ... Freshman Jovanni Sims, who played at a prep school last season, has yet to receive the go-ahead to practice from the NCAA Clearinghouse. ... Sophomore Charlie Cox, who transferred from Montana-Western, must sit out this season.Vanderjagt's parents, who along with Big Dave are from Townsville, Australia, have been coming and watching their son at practice recently.
Graves is from Sacramento, California. He is still working on his shooting touch but he will become, in time, a very explosive player.
The previews are all the same, the Griz are picked to finish in the top 3, usually two with EWU or NAU in the top spot. Then the preview will start with how LK is gone but the respected and established Tinks has stepped in and taken over a good deal of talent.
The next step in the preview process is laying down Strait's stat line, then following it up with a little information on Jordo Hasquet. Next is always Cris. Every preview says the loss of the Grizzlies' backcourt, Kevin Criswell and Virgil Matthews, will really hurt and Tinks will be looking for Matt Martin and/or BE to step in. Depending on the length of the preview, JC transfer Gus Chase may or may not be mentioned.
Even so, there's another one after the jump; this courtesy of MontersandCritics.com. Continue Reading...
They come in one spot behind conference foe Northern Arizona, who they beat in the BSC tournament last season. The Griz also come in behind Oral Roberts and Loyola Marymount, who they also beat last year. It looks like voters are really punishing them for losing their backcourt and coach.
Also of interest: Western Kentucky, who the Griz play on Dec. 6 in the Zoo, are ranked 10th.
For a summary of all the preseason previews, check out this entry on the Portland State Blog.
Another interesting tidbit: Griz forward Andrew Strait was named to the Mid-Major All American team.
Complete Mid-Major top 25 after the jump. Continue Reading...
Tinkle said Strait, the Grizzlies' leading returning scorer (16.6) and rebounder (6.4), will start along with sophomore Jordan Hasquet and senior Matt Dlouhy, who both started last season. Sophomore Austin Swift will start at a wing, with either junior Matt Martin or freshman Cameron Rundles at point guard. Martin has had a flu bug that has bitten about half the team in the last week or so, Tinkle said. Senior Bryan Ellis, who saw plenty of minutes at the point last season, tweaked an ankle in practice and will suit up, but his minutes may be limited.It's really good to see some of the younger guys in Swift and Rundles make it into the starting lineup. Swift, a sophomore, is one of the most improved players from last year's team and Rundles is a freshman out of Minneapolis, Minnesnowda who is very capable of running the point.
From what I've heard at practice, the Griz will have a size advantage and will be looking to really control the glass. With the size advantage, look for Gus Chase and Andrew Strait to put up some numbers. Also, look for Kyle Sharp and big Dave Vanderjagt to get in there for some major minutes if the Griz get up. Greg Spurgetis is another player to watch; he shot the ball exceptionally well in the Maroon Silver scrimmage last week.
There was a lot of coverage on last night's scrimmage, with some articles even declaring a winner; this doesn't really make sense seeing as the the scrimmage was split up into two 16 minute games and another 5 minute one with the teams getting changed up after each.
The bigs were probably the most impressive as Andrew Strait and Gus Chase put up 25 and 18 points respectively. Sophomore Jordan Hasquet also looked good as he hit a big fade-away late in the second scrimmage with someone practically inside his jersey. Frosh Cameron Rundles also looked very capable of managing the 1. Interestingly, Matt Martin played a majority of the scrimmages at the 2-spot. If Martin and Ellis struggle I could definitely see Rundles getting some major minutes at the point. Greg Spurgetis, a sophomore, was on fire at one point hitting shot after shot from behind the arc.
Related articles in: Montana Kaimin, The Missoulian, The Great Falls Tribune and on Montanagrizzlies.com.
I wasn't able to stay for the Lady Griz scrimmage but here is the Kaimin article on that.
A couple of season previews have come out from CBS Sportsline and Athlon Sports over the last two days. The Athlon article picks the Griz to finish first in the conference while the CBS Sportsline piece has them all the way down at third with NAU at 1 and EWU at three. The article raves about EWU's sophomore guard Rodney Stuckey, who will be playing the two this year instead of the point.
Here are the polls, from a Sac State press release.
School (First-place votes) Points
1. Northern Arizona (4) 59
2. Montana (4) 58
3. Eastern Washington (1) 54
4. Portland State 41
5. Sacramento State 37
6. Weber State 27
7. Idaho State 22
8. Montana State 17
9. Northern Colorado 8
School (First-place votes) Points
1. Montana (9) 233
2. Northern Arizona (13) 232
3. Eastern Washington (7) 222
4. Portland 149
5. Sacramento State 143
6. Montana State 109
7. Weber State 95
8. Idaho State 93
9. Northern Colorado 30
One last note: Both men's basketball coach Wayne Tinkle and women's basketball coach Robin Selvig signed multiyear contracts.
Tinkle was a Krystko assistant, so fans can expect more of the razor-sharp offensive execution and shooting (#11 nationally in Adj Off Eff) they have grown to love. The defense was only average (#166), but it was good enough to win 24 games. The Griz will need some folks to step up in the backcourt, but the frontcourt is stacked with size and skill, and the bench has some meat on it. The most jarring part for [Hill]Topper fans is that Montana was 13-1 at home last season (including a 19-point pasting of Stanford), and that lone loss was by 4 points to a very good UW-Milwaukee team. It will be tough to come out of Missoula with a win.Tinks is certainly well aware of the Griz's defensive inabilities last year and has been working hard at improving them this year. A common theme throughout the practices so far is the confidence that the Griz will not have any problems scoring. Tinkle has said over and over they have the weapons to do so but just need to improve on the defense end of the floor. This morning's 7 AM practice was devoted almost entirely to the defensive end of the floor. At the end of practice Tinkle said the Griz D had definitely improved.
These practices are the reason this blog hasn't been updated too much over the past week; I volunteered as one of the managers (pretty much just waterboys) for the Griz basketball team. I have to say that what I've seen so far are very impressive.
Of the new players, the most impressive I've seen are Gus Chase and Ryan Staudacher. Chase, a top 20 junior college player and top 5 JC forward, has excelled on both ends of the floor in practice on just raw talent alone. Chase is still learning the playbook but has made an effort to speed up the process by making at least one visit to coaches' office.
Staudacher shoots so well I think there may have been a little precipitation in the Western Auxiliary Gym over the weekend. He's like Reggie Miller out at arc. He also has a little Joe Mauer in him having started three years at QB for the Lake Washington High School. For his AAU hoops, Staudacher played for Friends of Hoops, one of the best AAU teams in Washington state and the nation. The team was started by now Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl and boasts a slew of alum at some of the best college programs in the country and even one in the NBA lottery.
I'm not gonna lie, losing Krystkowiak really blows but I think we'll be just fine.
UPDATE: There was a great quote by Matt Dlouhy on Chase in today's Kaimin.
“Gus is probably the most raw talent I’ve seen in a while,” Dlouhy said. “He’s almost, like, 95 percent unstoppable on offense – pretty much impossible to guard.”Is it just me or could you hear Napolean Dynomite saying something along those lines?
Here is an image that looks like it could be part of the Griz Basketball poster schedule for this year. This was pulled off of the oh so reliable Facebook. Also saw these guys walking into a local business in their suits while driving down Higgins.
I don't have any real idea if this is actually going to be used for the poster schedule, but if it is, I'm kind of disappointed considering they used pretty much the same theme on their "A Formal Occaison" poster last year.
Then again, they did make it to the second round of the dance last year so I'm all for tradition.
The Griz hoops program continues to reward its own with the hiring of DuChesne. I'm definitely not going to argue with the idea as it certainly worked with LK.
University of Montana men’s basketball coach Wayne Tinkle announced this week the hiring of Nate DuChesne to an assistant coaching position. DuChesne, who played for the Grizzlies from 1986-89, most recently served as the head coach at Edmonds (Wash.) Community College.
“Nate has Grizzly blood in him, which was really important to me when I was looking at applicants,” Tinkle said. “He’s a guy that understands our program and the way things are done in the Big Sky Conference.”
“It’s an honor to be a member of the Grizzly coaching staff,” DuChesne said. “The program has great tradition and the last few years it has gotten back on track. I’m looking forward to the challenge of building on the team’s recent success.”
Also on: ESPN (AP)
The first-ever Old Spice Classic, formerly called the ESPNU Classic, will tip off Nov. 23 at 10 a.m. MST on ESPN2. The inaugural tournament field will feature Montana along with Arkansas, Marist, Minnesota, Southern Illinois, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Western Michigan. There will be four games each day with each team playing daily. The two undefeated teams will face off in a championship match on the final day.It's great to see that the Montana basketball team will finally be getting some television exposure. I was very disappointed when NAU's Bracket Buster game ended up being televised while the Griz were snubbed.
Montana will play West Virginia at 7:30 p.m. MST Nov. 23. Other opening games feature Arkansas against Southern Illinois, Marist vs. Minnesota and Virginia Tech against Western Michigan.
I will be watching this game from a Los Angeles hotel room on the eve of attending the Notre Dame/USC football game; which actually is a classic.
Yes, you can now watch all Montana Grizzlies football, basketball, and volleyball games by way of the internet says the Missoulian.
SportsCast Network out of Salt Lake City has developed and produced the project, which is at www.bigskytv.org. Prices are $99.99 for all site content (called the Annual Conference Pass), $59.99 for single-school content or for a month-long all-site pass, $39.99 for a monthly single-school pass, and $6.99 if a fan just wanted to watch a single event.To me, this seems a bit steep. Ryan at Big Sky Blog refers to value in his post about the development.
“This will be unlike anything else currently available to fans of collegiate athletics,’’ BSC commissioner Doug Fullerton added. “SportsCast Network possesses some of the best technology available. Plus our nine athletic departments will all benefit from the agreement. When you buy a subscription the revenue will go back to your favorite school.”
I saw an advance screening of "Lady in the Water", which even for free wasn't worth the price.I included his opinion on the movie because the value of Griz games on the internet is every bit as much about value as yet another movie with some paradoxical twist at the end where it all ends up being in the protagonists head. (Is it still a twist if we expect it?)
A bit pricey, but if the quality is TV tantamount, then your money may be well spent. It is well that the Bobcats and Griz have nearly all their games broadcast in Montana, but I never have the opportunity to watch other schools in the conference. A happy fan this would make.
How much better would this story be if it included a line like "free for students?" At the very least, there should be some kind of variation between how much a student and some wealthy MSU alumn pays for the content. Ok, maybe that doesn't exist, but you know what I mean. Out of staters pay around 20k per semester so aren't the schools getting enough already?
They could do what facebook used to do and verify enrollment using a University email address; no @umontana.edu email address and no discount.
Just about every single college student has the high speed connection to watch the games. The problem hardly any have the money to spend. That is unless until if they sell the free iPod nano that comes with the MacBook.
It is difficult for any is 18 or 19 year old kid to make the transition from living at home, surrounded by family and familiar friends, to living almost alone on an alien campus filled with strangers. This passage proved to be much more difficult for Chavez. His story is detailed in a recent article by Jodi Rave:
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Chavez said. “I wasn’t really vibing with the whole university.” He withdrew from school the fall of 2003. He moved to Billings and spent the next few months in front of a PlayStation 2.An earlier Kaimin article also mentions Chavez's troubled move:
An otherwise promising basketball career might have ended then. But that’s not how his story ends.
“Socially, you are out of your element being on a reservation your whole life,” said Chavez, a junior forward on the UM basketball team. “Thrown in with a group of guys from a whole other culture – that along with always being surrounded by family and a huge support system on the reservation – all that together makes it tough.”According to the Rave article, Chavez's rebound has not gone unnoticed as he was recentl presented a leadership award from officials of the Native American Basketball Invitation tournament. Continue Reading...
Here's a story on Montana Grizzlies head basketball coach Wayne Tinkle, done by Troy Oppie of KECI-TV. Please ignore the part about the donut burgers, your arteries may clog at the sight alone.
"There's players overseas that could play in the NBA. There's players in the NBA that couldn't play overseas."
With the 10th overall pick the Seattle Sonics selected Saer Sene; a 7 foot bench anchor (if he ever makes an NBA roster) who has played basketball for less than three years with 4 rpg and 3 ppg in a Belgian league. Run me off some picks somewhere around the top of the key and could average 4 ppg in some random Belgian league and I've never played competitive basketball in my life. On ESPN's TV draft coverage they said he lacked athleticism and could not rebound nor post up. Um, what is he doing doing in the NBA, let alone getting picked tenth?!
From SupersonicSoul: "Wait a minute, didn't we already draft this guy? Like four times? I guess you can never have too many 7-foot "projects" that no one has ever heard of. Sigh . . ."
How come there are never any 6' Mid-Major guards with great shooting aren't getting drafted as "projects?" The fact that Sene was picked ahead of Duke's J.J. Redick points to how GMs care more about "upside" than basic fundamentals.
Sure, you can't teach height, but is it that easy to teach the game of basketball to someone that can't speak English?
I'm totally convinced that taking Andrew Strait with the #10, had he done something as insane as entering the NBA Draft, at this pick would make as much sense as taking that stiff. I'm not saying it'd be a good pick, just saying it'd be as good as the Sene pick.
Here are the Mid-Major players taken in the draft:
- #3 Adam Morrison, Forward, Gonzaga
- #9 Patrick O'Bryant, Center, Bradley (there we go)
- #16 Rodney Carney, Forward, Memphis (to Philadelphia)
- #17 Shawne Williams, Forward, Memphis
- #29 Mardy Collins, Guard, Temple
- #33 Solomon Jones, Foward, South Florida
- #47 Paul Millsap, Forward, Louisiana Tech
- #58 J.R. Pinnock, Guard, George Washington (to L.A. Lakers)
As strongly as I dislike Adam "Big Vanilla Earthquake" Morrison, this remains the best part of draft night...
Just the basics of his summer and how he's at home in Hollister, CA instead of in Missoula:
It's going good. Just enjoying the weather and the people in Hollister. I've been in town for about a month now. I've just been working out, playing a lot of basketball. I just decided I wanted to come back and be with my family and friends. I felt like I could train here and get better, and then go back to Montana and get ready instead of staying up there. I wanted to be back with my friends after my first year of college.Should he be in Missoula practicing with the team? A month into my first summer during college, I wouldn't mind being back in the Zoo. Doesn't he have friends on the team?
Definitely. Definitely. Now, when I go back, I have a lot of people that I know and I have my coaches. And my teammates? I'm excited to go back and see them and what they've done. And we've brought in new people. It's like another family up there.On him putting on the weight with some of his mother's home cooking, I've seen him the Food Zoo and he could use another pass through that line...maybe grab some of that vanilla pudding with the Oreo crumbs in it, you know what I'm talking about.
It is. It is. She'll take a lot of credit for it. I helps out. I have to over-eat. I'm working out hard, so if I don't gain a lot of weight, I'll just gain strength which either one, I would love to do. I'm not trying to gain 40 pounds. I'm just trying to gain 10 pounds at a time. Just getting bigger and stronger and being able to hold my own down there in the post.More in the article on who he's training with , academics, AND his vacation to Cabo.
"I feel very fortunate, very blessed," Krystkowiak said at a news conference Thursday afternoon at the Bucks' training center. "I'm kind of pinching myself that it's all happening. Missoula, Montana, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, are two of my favorite places. To have an opportunity to get into the league as a coach, it's not an easy thing to do."On when it all went down and the future:
Stotts and Krystkowiak first chatted about the job at the NBA pre-draft camp in Orlando. They then met with owner Herb Kohl and after only a short period of time, Krystkowiak was a member of Stotts' staff.We saw what he did with Strait, I'm looking forward to see how Bogut's game develops under LK.
Krystkowiak called the Bucks' roster "solid" and said he was looking forward to working with Andrew Bogut and the Bucks' other big men.
The best quote I heard out of the whole situation was from Matt (not Max) Martin in a Missoulian article I mentioned in an earler post:
“He called us in and just told us straight out that he would never leave Montana for another college job,” junior Matt Martin said of the team's meeting with Krystkowiak. “It's a chance to coach at the highest level, which he can't pass up and we all understood that. He loves this place ... it was hard for him to let go.
“He's going to be missed, but by the same token I think the guys have a sense of relief and pleasure that Tinks is going to step in and be our leader.”
Head basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak has resigned to join the Milwaukee Bucks, where he played four years and earlier today signed, of course, a multiyear contract. There will be more griping in this post about how we should have offered more years and more money. Coach K (oh how we loved to call him that) has made his inevitable departure from The Zoo. As AD Jim O'Day said in yesterday's press conference, "We knew we could only keep him so long." Now it's time for the Tinkle Takeover.
After being an assistant for five years and three head coaches, it's finally time for Wayne Tinkle. No one knew for sure when the Takeover would happen, but everyone knew it would. To return to Jim "cliche" O'Day, this from a piece in the Missoulian:
“Wayne has earned his stripes,” UM Athletic Director Jim O'Day said while introducing Tinkle at a press conference at the Adams Center Sky Club. “This is his time to shine.”Many will doubt Tinks' promise to "not lose any momentum;" I don't. I stand by him as a fellow Cubs fan (another example of his dedication) and a coach who I know has the respect of both the players and the fans.
Tinks' reputation as a leader has even spread as far as the Missoula Police Department. In May, as part of a J270 Reporting class, I did a ride-along with Officer Pat Malone and Griz hoops became the topic of conversation. He mentioned how whenever one of the players got in trouble they'd neglect to mention LK, it'd always be something along the lines of "Man, Tinks is gonna kill us."
Wayne also stands out to me as a great fans' coach. As an assistant he'd walk along the baseline giving high fives to the student section (I'm calling hit right here; now the "Dahlberg Den") every single game. One game, when I forgot a certain piece of apparel he even remarked "Hey, where's your Cubs hat?" I also exchanged emails with him yesterday congratulating him on his promotion and could not have recieved a better response.
Plain and simple, Tinks has the expertise to keep the program rumbling towards the postseason every season. From Tinks himself in Andy Katz's ESPN article (yes, they know we exist):
"I've had a hand in recruiting every player that is on the roster, as well as the incoming players, and that will help with the transition," he said. "Our players are excited about the direction we are heading. I am humbled and proud to pick up the torch, and we're not going to lose any momentum."Tinks in the Missoulian:
“I think I have a better understanding of what makes 18- to 22-year-olds tick,” Tinkle added. “How to motivate them. X and O-wise, I have a better understanding of the game. The big thing is, in the five years I've been here I've worn a lot of different hats. Coaching is not just about running a team during a game. It's preparing them in the classroom to become better students, to become better people in their community so that when their playing days are over they can succeed."What does he not have? Respect, knowledge, leadership abilities, dedication; all there. He doesn't have the glamour that was "Coach K." Not yet.
This is the reason they don't show well in an initial projection by CollegeHoops.net:
The backcourt lacks experience and will have to depend on Bryan Ellis and Max Martin. Ellis is a speedy guard who will look to shine after spending last year as a backup. Martin saw his starts decrease as a sophomore and will need to regain his freshman form. The frontcourt, on the other hand, is deep and talented and will be the strength of the Montana team.Once you stop sauntering down the court and hoisting Jason Williams-esque threes early in the shot clock then they get your name right...but you can do what you want and still have your mug on this site.
The front-court strength, already bolstered by junior Andrew Strait and sophomore Jordan Hasquet (can he play the two?), is only going to get better with incoming recruits.
Coach Larry Krystkowiak is bringing in a very good recruiting class led by junior college transfer Gus Chase. Chase, a 6-4, 245 pound power forward, has a knack for rebounding. The big man is one of the top forwards at the juco level and will compete for a starting job from day one. Incoming freshman Dave Vaderjagt, a 7-0 center, has plenty of experience playing for the youth Australian national teams. Vanderjagt will need some time to gain strength, but with his size, he’ll soon become an impact player for the Grizzlies.Here's a look at their final projection and I'm going to have to say I disagree.
The backcourt has some cause for concerns, which knock the Griz down to 3rd in the Big Sky. If Ellis and Martin can prove they can be the leaders Coach K needs them to be, and Rundles can develop into a solid option off the bench, Montana can make the NCAA Tournament again and beat a five seed again.They also were ranked 144th overall by the site.
The Griz have a dominant frontcourt that is only getting better so if the guards can do anything besides making themselves a liability, I don't see them finishing third in the conference. Northern Arizona may or may not maintain the form they showed last year and Stuckey will definitely be a force, but neither team match the talent level of the Griz.
Last year, the Griz basketball team took part in one of these annual upsets as they beat the Nevada Wolf Pack and severely damaged the bracket of almost everyone outside the 406 (the entire state of Montana).
One of the reasons the Griz earned their high (for the Big Sky Conference) seed was their win over Oral Roberts as part of ESPN's Bracket Buster Series. According to an article in the Billings Gazette the Big Sky Conference's presidents are taking a look at these games and discussing their benefits and the effect it had on Montana:
Big Sky Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton thinks playing BracketBuster games were good for league schools this season, especially Montana.This game, plain and simple, was a good win over a bad team. These are games that need to be won in order for the Griz, and the Big Sky Conference, to gain any legitimacy. Oral Roberts won 21 games and made the NCAA Tournament as the winner of the Mid-Continent Conference. The fact that they earned a 16 seed and the Griz earned a 12 seed says a great deal about the steady rise of the program and the conference; in 2004, the Griz won the Big Sky and only earned a 16 seed.
He believes Montana's 88-74 win over Oral Roberts on Feb. 18 and a connection between the BracketBusters selection committee and the NCAA tournament selection committee helped Montana get its No. 12 seed in the NCAA tournament.
"Two guys on the BracketBusters committee are on the NCAA committee," said Fullerton, in Missoula for the league's annual spring meeting. "The BracketBuster is designed to improve your ability to get into the (NCAA) tournament, or to get a better seed into the tournament. I think that's what it did for Montana this year."
If the Griz, and the conference, continue to participate in events like ESPN's Bracket Buster Series then maybe they'll eventually be the bustees instead of busters.
The big red bow was tied and the wrapping paper all taped up before the University of Montana Grizzlies decided they weren't going give the game away.
The Griz were up 14 with only 8:30 to play before letting it all slide. These slides and an overall lack of confidence have been a staple of how the Griz play on the road. The Griz cannot repeat this flaw in their Big Sky Championship matchup against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks.
If the Griz, who were 7-0 at home but only 2-4 on the road in regular season conferance play, want to go dancing they need to win in Flagstaff. The Lumberjacks also have not lost at home in conference play, but the last time the Griz visited they should've left a smudge on that record.
The Griz held a 19 point lead in the first half and a 13-point halftime lead in the last meeting between the Griz and Lumberjacks at Flagstaff. The Griz are a more talented team and need show their home swagger on the road.
Look at the stats and it's hard figure out why this game isn't being played in Zoo-Town. The Griz, as a team, are fourth in the nation in assists, sixth in field goal percentage (one back of Duke), and 17th in points per game. The Griz are ranked 22nd in the latest Mid-Major Poll, NAU didn't crack the top 25. The Griz also have two of the the top three scorers in the conference in Andrew Strait and Kevin Criswell. Criswell, along with sophomore sensation Strait, will have to provide major contributions if the senior's career is to continue.
The Eastern Washington Eagles come into the Big Sky Tournament looking a bit like the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Eagles are not necessarily one of the favorites when it comes to who is getting that NCAA bid but they are a dangerous team with the league's most dangerous player.
EWU guard Rodney Stuckey plays the role of Kobe Bryant for the Eagles. Stuckey averages 24.1 ppg and on Wednesday became the first freshmen in the history of the conference to be named MVP.
Stuckey dropped 38 on Portland State in the quarterfinals, a point off of the league playoff record.
The Griz face the Eagles on tuesday in Flagstaff, Arizona where NAU plays host to the tournament. Stuckey is averaging 25 ppg against the Griz in their previous two meetings, both won by Montana.