Griz @ Weber State: live blog

First Half

  • 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?

Halftime

  • 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.

Second half

  • 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.

Postgame

  • 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.

"Can the Griz win this?"

Are you kidding me?

I've had friends ask me that question with the last meeting between the Griz and Wildcats in mind. My answer? Absolutely yes.

Do you know the type of team it would take to come to Missoula and win today? A great team. Weber State University does not have that team. They're not going to get the opening-round jitters. They're not going to get a stadium 5,000 people beneath capacity. Mainly, they're not getting the Griz team they beat on October 4th, in the conference opener.

No. They're getting 26,000 crazy Montanans who woke up at 8:00 AM this morning so they could drink themselves into a stupor and yell all damn day. They're getting a team that knows it can win in the playoffs, one with veterans who have been here before. They're getting a Griz team that's playing as well as any Griz team in years, certainly peaking at the right time.

This will be different. The Griz will come out with their hair on fire. Weber's character and resilience will be tested early. In the end, we'll be one game away from the National Championship.

35-21 Griz.

Weber State @ Montana: The rematch is on

The Griz knew they would have a chance at revenge if they beat Texas State on Saturday. Whether it was for a 48-28 loss in Ogden or 2005 playoff defeat was in question until the Wildcats straight  out-played Cal Poly down in San Luis Obispo.

For a majority of the first half, it looked like another early playoff exit was in order for the Griz. Yet another fast southern team was going to oust the FCS' version of Ohio State. Then we remembered a supposed powerhouse shouldn't bow out in a first round home game every year.

After clearing the first round hurdle, there's no doubt which Griz team will show up on Saturday. The pressure is gone, the students are back and Wa-Griz will be back at its eardrum-wrecking capacity. And oh look, we have a running game. Boosh.

Weber has been solid throughout the year but a loss to lowly Eastern Washington shows they, like any other team, are susceptible to a major letdown.

Both teams are significantly improved. Weber can't expect to be aided by four turnovers and seven sacks like the last meeting. Weather should be a big factor. Rain hurt Montana's aerial game in the last matchup and it'll be interesting to see who's better at dealing with the cold.

It should be good. I'm looking forward to this game as much as any since being on campus. Hope it's not my last as a student.

Griz still fifth in poll

The Montana Grizzlies hold firm at #5 in the latest FCS poll. The Weber State Wildcats also remain lodged in the top ten at #8. Those are the only two Big Sky teams in the rankings.

Here are the complete rankings, courtesy of The Sports Network:

Team (First-place votes) Record Points Previous Rank
1. James Madison Dukes (106) 9-1 2,986 1
2. Appalachian State Mountaineers (13) 9-2 2,871 2
3. Cal Poly Mustangs (1) 8-1 2,623 3
4. Northern Iowa Panthers 9-2 2,517 4
5. Montana Grizzlies 10-1 2,499 5
6. Villanova Wildcats 8-2 2,355 6
7. Richmond Spiders 8-3 2,188 7
8. Weber State Wildcats 9-2 2,161 8
9. Wofford Terriers 8-2 2,005 9
10. Southern Illinois Salukis 8-2 1,988 10
11. New Hampshire Wildcats 8-2 1,659 13
12. Elon Phoenix 8-3 1,473 11
13. Central Arkansas Bears 9-2 1,448 15
14. McNeese State Cowboys 7-3 1,272 16
15. South Carolina State Bulldogs 9-2 1,231 17
16. William & Mary Tribe 7-3 1,106 12
17. Maine Black Bears 8-3 900 21
18. Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks 8-3 863 20
19. Harvard Crimson 8-1 769 19
20. Furman Paladins 7-4 595 14
21. Colgate Raiders 8-2 506 23
22. Liberty Flames 9-2 409 24
23. Western Illinois Leathernecks 6-4 338 25
24. Jacksonville State Gamecocks 8-3 242 NR
25. Tennessee State Tigers 8-3 238 18
 

Griz move up to 6th in latest FCS poll

The Montana Grizzlies moved up two spots to sixth in the latest FCS Top 25 rankings after their mauling of the Northern Colorado Bears (ooo, see what I did there?). Weber State is up three spots to #13 after beating Northern Arizona. NAU is down four places to #19.

Here are the complete rankings, courtest of The Sports Network.

Team (First-place votes) Record Points Previous Rank
1. James Madison Dukes (98) 7-1 2,594 1
2. Appalachian State Mountaineers (3) 6-2 2,457 2
3. Wofford Terriers (2) 6-1 2,324 4
4. Cal Poly Mustangs (1) 5-1 2,210 6
5. Northern Iowa Panthers 6-2 2,033 5
6. Montana Grizzlies 7-1 1,959 8
7. Villanova Wildcats 5-2 1,823 7
8. Richmond Spiders 6-3 1,778 9
9. New Hampshire Wildcats 6-1 1,687 10
10. Elon Phoenix 7-2 1,581 3
11. Central Arkansas Bears 7-1 1,514 13
12. Western Illinois Leathernecks 5-2 1,473 12
13. Weber State Wildcats 7-2 1,461 16
14. Southern Illinois Salukis 5-2 1,391 14
15. Massachusetts Minutemen 5-3 976 17
16. William & Mary Tribe 5-2 792 23
17. Liberty Flames 7-1 763 20
18. Furman Paladins 6-3 722 18
19. Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 6-2 715 15
20. McNeese State Cowboys 4-3 665 11
21. Lafayette Leopards 6-1 585 24
22. South Carolina State Bulldogs 6-2 489 NR
23. Harvard Crimson 5-1 395 25
24. Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks 7-2 270 NR
25. Tennessee State Tigers 6-2 156 19

Others receiving votes: Texas State 127, South Dakota State 95, Maine 70, Jacksonville State 67, North Dakota State 66, Prairie View 63, Georgia Southern 60, Hampton 54, Florida A&M 47, Colgate 44, Northwestern State 33, Eastern Washington 32, Grambling 27, Penn 26, Albany 25, UC Davis 25, Eastern Kentucky 24, San Diego 14, Holy Cross 11, Sacred Heart 10, Monmouth 4, North Dakota 4, Morgan State 3, Dayton 2.

Grizzlies move back into the top 10

The Montana Grizzlies jumped up four spots to #8 after their win over Eastern Washington. The Eagles fell out of the rankings as Northern Arizona and Weber State moved up to #17 and #18 respectively.

Here are the complete rankings, courtesy of The Sports Network.

Team (First-place votes) Record Points Previous Rank
1. James Madison Dukes (105) 6-1 2,649 1
2. Appalachian State Mountaineers (1) 4-2 2,507 2
3. Elon Phoenix 6-1 2,151 6
4. Wofford Terriers 4-1 2,082 8
5. Cal Poly Mustangs 3-1 2,037 7
6. Northern Iowa Panthers 4-2 1,884 10
7. Villanova Wildcats 4-1 1,876 9
8. Montana Grizzlies 5-1 1,804 12
9. Richmond Spiders 4-3 1,608 5
10. Massachusetts Minutemen 4-2 1,497 13
11. New Hampshire Wildcats 4-1 1,458 4
12. McNeese State Cowboys 3-2 1,440 3
13. Central Arkansas Bears 5-1 1,291 14
14. Liberty Flames 6-0 1,152 15
15. Western Illinois Leathernecks 4-2 1,054 17
16. Southern Illinois Salukis 3-2 1,034 16
17. Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 5-1 932 18
18. Weber State Wildcats 5-2 771 22
19. Furman Paladins 5-2 744 20
20. North Dakota State Bison 3-3 645 11
21. South Dakota State Jackrabbits 3-3 348 25
22. Tennessee State Tigers 5-1 333 NR
23. Jacksonville State Gamecocks 4-2 265 19
24. The Citadel Bulldogs 3-3 184 21
25. Hampton Pirates 4-1 173 NR

Others receiving votes: William & Mary 129, Harvard 100, South Carolina State 97, Texas State 81, Eastern Washington 78, Georgia Southen 61, Sam Houston State 60, San Diego 38, Lafayette 29, Tennessee-Martin 25, Delaware 24, Eastern Kentucky 22, Prairie View 21, Northwestern State 17, Grambling 13, UC Davis 12, Colgate 11, Princeton 11, Sacred Heart 11, Eastern Illinois 10, Maine 10, Cornell 9, North Dakota 9, Southern 7, Yale 6, Northeastern 6, Montana State 5, Florida A&M 4, Delaware State 1, Penn 1.

Griz fall down to #12

Many expected next week's matchup between the Montana Grizzlies and Eastern Washington Eagles to be between top 10 teams. Nope. We both lost. Eastern Washington is at #23 and Montana falls to #12. Weber State steps into the rankings at #22.

Here are the complete rankings courtesy of The Sports Network:

Team (First-place votes) Record Points Previous Rank
1. James Madison Dukes (104) 5-1 2,793 1
2. Appalachian State Mountaineers (4) 3-2 2,558 2
3. McNeese State Cowboys (1) 3-1 2,461 4
4. New Hampshire Wildcats (2) 4-0 2,218 5
5. Richmond Spiders 4-2 2,160 6
6. Elon Phoenix 5-1 1,971 7
7. Cal Poly Mustangs 3-1 1,943 8
8. Wofford Terriers 3-1 1,785 9
9. Villanova Wildcats 4-1 1,752 14
10. Northern Iowa Panthers 3-2 1,671 10
11. North Dakota State Bison 3-2 1,599 17
12. Montana Grizzlies 4-1 1,553 3
13. Massachusetts Minutemen 3-2 1,405 18
14. Central Arkansas Bears 4-1 1,038 19
15. Liberty Flames 5-0 975 20
16. Southern Illinois Salukis 2-2 881 13
17. Western Illinois Leathernecks 3-2 751 21
18. Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 4-1 688 24
19. Jacksonville State Gamecocks 4-1 668 22
20. Furman Paladins 4-2 615 15
21. The Citadel Bulldogs 3-2 531 12
22. Weber State Wildcats 4-2 501 NR
23. Eastern Washington Eagles 2-3 458 11
24. Delaware Blue Hens 2-3 406 16
25. South Dakota State Jackrabbits 3-3 286 23

Others receiving votes: Tennessee State 164, Hampton 147, Sam Houston State 126, Montana State 85, Eastern Illinois 57, South Carolina State 55, Harvard 51, Georgia Southern 50, San Diego 34, Cornell 28, Bethune-Cookman 26, Youngstown State 17, Yale 10, Lafayette 9, North Dakota 8, Northeastern 8, Prairie View 8, Sacred Heart 6, Southern 5, Florida A&M 5, Central Connecticut State 4, Eastern Kentucky 4, Grambling 4, Princeton 4, Colgate 4, William & Mary 3, Brown 2, Delaware State 1, Illinois State 1, Northwestern State 1, Portland State 1, Texas State 1.

Other relevant posts:

It had to happen sometime

Well, this is a little closer to the season we were all expecting.

The streak is over and you had to know it'd happen in a game like this. The Griz go on the road, in poor weather and finally have to pay for their mistakes. They didn't just lose to Weber State either, they got straight blown out by the Wildcats. And that's the way it had to go down. This team can screw everything up, try to give games away, but if it's close they'll pull a 'W' out of the back of their pants. Assuming it's not in the playoffs.

There have to be some positives though, right? Not from the actual game—which based on attendance, level of play and production quality looked worse than a high school game—but from losing. They know now they're not good enough to play terrible and win. They also know their defense isn't winning them any games this year. Unfortunately, so does everyone else.

And isn't this kind of fun? We're vulnerable again. I have a buddy who's half-hoping the nation's current economic turmoil turns into a full-blown depression. I never understood that. But I'm starting to. Sometimes people have it so good that they just have to be kicked in their collective taint. This is one of those times. We win the conference every goddamn year. I'm not saying we shouldn't. But you shouldn't be so comfortable doing it. A sprinkle of mediocrity here and there builds character.

On to Eastern next week, where both teams need try to avoid a legit losing streak. I may be there, to see if these flames can't go a little higher.

Griz shoot like blind kids, lose to Weber 76-67

Big game on the road. Griz looking to rebound from a tough loss. Need to move up in the standings. Guess what happened. Yep, they played terrible.

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.

First 1,500 fans get in free to Weber game

Sunday's game against Weber State is a big one. The Griz will be looking to prove themselves against last year's conference champions while the Wildcats (4-4 in conference) will be looking to prove to everyone else that they're still contenders. On top of that, the game will be on TV.

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.

Montana Grizzlies 2008 football schedule

The 2008 football schedule is out. As reported on here first, the Griz will open their season down San Luis Obispo against the Cal Poly Mustangs.

Here's the complete schedule:
Date ..... Opponent ..... Time
9.6 ..... at Cal Poly ..... TBA
9.13 ..... Southern Utah ..... 1:05 p.m.
9.20 ..... UC-Davis (Homecoming) ..... 1:05 p.m.
9.27 ..... Central Washington ..... 1:05 p.m.
10.4 ..... at Weber State * ..... TBA
10.11 ..... at Eastern Washington * ..... TBA
10.18 ..... Sacramento State * ..... 1:05 p.m.
10.25 ..... at Northern Colorado * ..... TBA
11.1 ..... Northern Arizona * ..... 12:05 p.m.
11.8 ..... at Portland State * ..... TBA
11.15 ..... Idaho State * ..... 12:05 p.m.
11.22 ..... Montana State * (108th meeting) ..... 12:05 p.m.

* Conference game
The OOC is alright. We probably shouldn't be playing a DII school but whatever. Here's O'Day's rationale on playing schools from a lower division. It's his response to playing Ft. Lewis last year but fits around the fact that we're playing Central Washington:
Last year, we played Fort Lewis (Don Read loved the Division II schools to let young kids get experience) and UM Athletics netted about $300,000 - not counting what the Adams Center received for ticket fees ($1 per ticket), or what dining services produced in sales, or the bookstore... not counting what the Missoula economy saw by another home game (estimated at between $5-$7 million per home weekend).  We admit that was a "money game," as do most teams at our level.   Still, it is no different than Oregon hosting Montana for $450,000 or Iowa hosting Montana for $650,000.  Their fans expected big wins at our expense, and they, too, need to produce funds to pay their bills.
After the non-conference slate, what should be two of our toughest BSC games are on the road: we have to go to Portland to play the Vikings and to the Cheney to play the Eagles. Those should be two very challenging games. Then we cap off the season with the Brawl in Missoula and hopefully another Big Sky Championship.

Castles in the Big Sky: Week 9



This weekly feature is actually becoming weekly as it's back for consecutive weeks.

Griz get two game lead with victory over NAU. It's the Griz's most impressive win of the season and it almost guarantees them at least a share of the Big Sky championship. Lex carried for 130 yards in the second half and essentially carried the Griz to victory. Finally, we are starting to see the team everyone thought to compete for a National Championship.

Montana State embarrassed by Northern Colorado. Northern Colorado finally got its first win over a Big Sky team since joining the conference. It wasn't over a bottom-feeder like Sac State or Idaho State either. It was over 19th ranked Montana State. This will undoubtedly knock MSU out of the rankings, the BSC title chase and probably the playoffs.

Weber State 73, Portland State 68. Um, what the hell? It's the most points scored in an NCAA football game since these types of things were first recorded. Freshman quarterbacks—one a redshirt and one a true freshman—combined for 13 passing touchdowns. Portland State QB Drew Hubel, a true freshman making his first start, passed for nine touchdowns. I'm sure Mouse Davis likes to see that but I doubt this is what Glanville had in mind when he said PSU would have the hardest hitting defense on the West Coast.

Eastern Washington hands Sac State another close loss. Half the conference decided they weren't going to play defense this weekend. The Hornets and Eagles amassed more than 900 total yards in EWU's 31-24 win.

Idaho State thumped by Cal Poly, 48-28. Here's another team who felt defense really wasn't essential. Cal Poly quarterback Jonathan Dally threw for 453 yards and ran for 119 more. Idaho State is now 3-5 overall and 2-3 in conference.

Castles in the Big Sky: Week 8


Photo by Todd Goodrich for Montanagrizzlies.com

This weekly roundup on action in the Big Sky has been less than weekly but here it is for this weekend's games.


The Bears are who we thought they were, but are the Griz? The Griz racked up an impressive 627 yards and 52 points in their dominant win over Northern Colorado but who really knows what that means? Will the win set the Griz offense on a track that leads toward Chattanooga or is this simply a good win over a bad team? Griz fans can hope for the former but the next two games should be a better indicator than this win over a team that hasn't beat a Division I team since moving up.

Bobcats survive Sac State. As many Griz fans expected/hoped for, the MSU offense had a bit of trouble against the Hornet defense. The Cats were down 6-0 at the half but outscored the Hornets 20-3 in the final two quarters. They've now won eight straight in what has effectively been dubbed "The Ashtray."

Weber ends NAU's two game BSC win streak. Not a whole lot going on in this one. The Lumberjacks had a chance to tie it with about 9 minutes left in the game but a two point conversion was batted down. A few plays later, Weber scored and the game was out of reach.

Portland State falls to Idaho State, 38-20. Going into this season, Portland State had hopes for a Big Sky championship. It doesn't look like that's going to happen. Sorry Jer. The Viks were up 13-3 at halftime but the Bengals scored four third quarter touchdowns with two of them being on defense. The Vikings are 2-5 overall and 2-2 in the Big Sky. The only thing that may salvage their season: an upset over UM. I'm not too frightened but it is on my mind.

Eastern gets crushed by BYU. Fans of FCS, or at least Big Sky teams, hoped EWU's impressive offense would at least put a little fear into BYU, maybe make a game out of it. That did not happen. While the Eagles suffered a 42-7 defeat, they did get $325,000 for making the trip.

Castles in the Big Sky: Week 5

It wasn't here last week, but this weekly recap of Big Sky games is back for week 5.

Montana very unimpressive against WSU. It was a lot like the USC-Washington game. Both the Trojans and Griz were ranked number one but put up less than inspiring performances against decent yet unranked teams who wore purple and had school names starting with a W. I don't think the Trojans committed nearly as many penalties though.

Portland State beats Eastern Washington, 28-21. The Viking offense looked very strong in the win as they racked up 520 yards of total offense. Even so, it was a close game. The game ended when Portland State picked off a desperation pass in the end zone.

Sac State rolls over Northern Arizona, 38-9. NAU head coach Jerome Souers didn't give the Hornets much credit, saying "it was one of those games that whatever could go wrong, did go wrong." You know what, you got stomped. It wasn't just things going wrong. Sac State obviously played well.

Montana State rallies from 10-0 deficit to beat Idaho State. The Bobcats had a strong third quarter and Demetrius Crawford ran for 173 yards on 23 carries as the Bobcats' 40-20 win put the Bengals 0-2 in the conference.

Northern Colorado loses to Cal Poly, 56-21. What can I say? They got this losing thing down.

Castles in the Big Sky: Week 3

Portland State saves their season with a 35-24 win over Sac State. The Vikings probably went into this game the same way Michigan will go into their conference schedule. PSU will not get great playoff seeding but they can still win the conference and make the playoffs. Unlike the Wolverines, the Viks can still win a National Championship. It's not likely, but as a Cubs fan, I like to think anyone can win once they get in the playoffs.

Montana State kills Dixie State, 61-7. Nice job guys, nice job. Some people mark this as some sort of sign that MSU is fine and will be something of a contender. The win is what it is. If you're proud of a D-II shilacking, that's not good. I'm not saying the Cats will or will not be a factor in the 'Sky but the only message this sends is that they can blow out a team from a lower division. Good to know.

NAU falls to Appalachian State, 34-21. It would've been nice to see a Big Sky team get mentioned on SC for beating the giant-killers from Boone, but it didn't happen as the Mountaineers won their 17th straight game. It could've been worse. If NAU can keep it within two possessions, maybe the Griz can pull off a win.

Weber State blown out by Cal Poly, 47-19. The Weber State secondary allowed Mustangs quarterback Jonathan Dally to rack up Colt Brennan-esque numbers in the loss. The kid tossed 6 TDs on 328 yards.

Northern Colorado loses to San Diego, 49-13. This type of score was expected with the Bears coming off a huge loss to D-II Chadron State. On a positive note, they did find a running back. David Woods finished with 180 all-purpose yards.

Eastern beats UC Davis, 41-31. It wasn't Bengals-Browns but the Eagles and Aggies combined for almost 1,000 total yards. The Aggies had more yards and the Eagles had more points.

Idaho State trounced by Oregon State, 61-10. You know the deal. Big Sky team plays FBS opponent, Big Sky team loses by 30+ while the FBS team puts up huge numbers. Whatever pays the bills.

Jimmy's new in town: Weber State adds solid I-A transfer

Besides more arrests, the last thing most Griz fans want is another dropdown quarterback. After the Josh Swogger experience, it looks like an incoming QB is more likely to figure out where the hell the bees went sooner than learn the Rob Phenicie offense. Don't worry, we're not getting another one -- but Weber State is. Alabama transfer Jimmy Barnes has decided to spend the next three years playing football at Weber State.
"Jimmy was a big time player on the high school level,” said McBride. "All the major schools in the country were after him. Not only does he have a strong arm, but he is a student of the game and makes intelligent decisions in the heat of battle...I have full confidence he will learn our system quickly and be ready to compete in Fall camp."

...

"I was really impressed with the campus and the school," said Barnes. "Coach McBride and Coach McGiven are both great football coaches and I look forward to learning a lot from them."

With Hauck's affinity for dropdown QBs and "win now so I can peace out ASAP" attitude, on first glance it seems like he would go after this kid. But then one has to think, who in their right mind would want to Ogden, Utah to play for a team coming of a 4-7 record? What was the appeal there? Maybe Hauck had enough confidence in his young quarterbacking core to restrain from attempting to chase down Jimmy.

Griz tennis weekend wrap-up

The Lady Griz tennis team traveled to Colorado this past weekend to play Denver, Colorado State and Northern Colorado. The weekend could've gone better as the team went 1-2 with losses to Denver and Colorado State. The win came over the Bears. The women's tennis team is now 4-15 this year; they finish up their regular season next weekend against Montana State and Idaho State.

The weekend went a little better for the men's tennis team as staed at home this weekend and went 2-1. They lost to Portland on Friday before picking up wins over Northern Arizona and Weber State on Saturday and Sunday. The men's tennis teams sits at 9-8 on the season and 4-1 in Big Sky Conference play.  They sit by themselves at second place in the conference.

The men's tennis team plays Montana State in Bozeman and Idaho State at home next weekend. They need to win just one of those matches to secure a 2 seed and a bye in the Big Sky Tournament.

Weber State safety defines what it means to be an athlete-student

Remember when Vince Young supposedly scored a six on the Wunderlic test and we all thought he was completely incompetent before that was corrected to a 16? Well, someone has done worse and they're from right here in the Big Sky Conference.

Every Day Should Be Saturday is reporting that Weber State safety Bo Reed has scored an abysmal four on the test. This comes within just one point of that all-time low, a three held by Ravens' linebacker Roderick Green.

He really should've just gone for the outright record of two seeing as he really won't gain any recognition otherwise.

Griz tennis trudging along

The men's and women's tennis teams continued their solid play as the teams went a combined 2-1 over the weekend.

The men defeated the Idaho Vandals on Saturday after poor weather forced the matches inside. The win pulled their record back up to .500. The Griz started out the season 5-1 before losing six of eight.

The ladies played their second weekend in a row of .500 tennis as they beat Weber State on Friday for their first Big Sky win but lost to Northern Arizona on Sunday after a comeback bid came up short.

Play-in game observation: tell me again why Weber isn't in this

There's been a bit of controversy surrounding the NCAA Tournament selection committee; most of which surrounding the snubbing of Syracuse and Drexel. Well, there is a lesser known controversy: Niagara is stuck in the play-in game and they're not happy.

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.

Weber State will represent Big Sky in NCAA Tournament



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.

Griz need to win big game vs ISU

It seems like the Griz have been playing big game after big game -- with the exception of Northern Colorado -- and this is what happens when you're playing from behind in the standings. Tonight's game is big because a win means they get a home game in the conference tournament. Just one of many games with implications, the Griz haven't done so well in these games.

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.
Lets hope the Griz can improve on the 1-4 record in big games; the biggest ones have yet to be played.

Weber State vs UM: It shouldn't of ended that way

It's taken me this long to recover from the sock to the stomach that was last night's game against Weber State. Last night's realization that I've been here at UM two years and will likely have to wait another season if I want to see the Griz clinch a berth in the NCAA Tournament here in Missoula.

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.

First look: Weber State


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.

Griz still second in Big Sky Power Rankings

I mentioned before that there are two sets of power rankings for the Big Sky Conference. One may ask why I don't put out a set out of power rankings and here's the answer: no one cares where the bad teams rank and if you want to know who I think is the best team in Big Sky, look at the theme of the blog. I don't see any Weber guys up in the banner. Plus who's gone dancing two years straight? Yeah, that'd be us.

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.

Griz hang in BSC race with win over EWU

Last night's game had its ups and downs but the Griz came out with a win over EWU and stayed in second place, two games back of Weber State.

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.

Griz ranked second most powerful in BSC

It seems that "power rankings" have reached almost Livestrong bracelet caliber trendiness amongst sports sites with just about everyone with an opinion ranking select group of teams by, um, power.

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.

Griz hoops pull off huge win over NAU.

Not only did the Griz avoid a major setback loss, they came out and played their most complete game of the year in a  74-71 victory over the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks.

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.

Griz avoid one 'devastating' loss but do face the potential for another one.

A Missoulian article by Bob Meseroll says the Griz season "hung in the balance" in Saturday's WSU game and the Griz were able to avoid a "devastating loss." The problem is that the potential for another one looms tonight in Flagstaff.

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.

Big Sky Conference standings all clogged up.

A series of "upsets" over the weekend have made the race for the BSC regular season title much closer and put the Griz right back into its peloton.

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 Matt Martin the Griz and NAU lost the Portland State.

This comes with a couple huge games coming up this week: Griz vs NAU and WSU @ ISU.

Related: Around the Big Sky [Vikings Blog]

Why I almost got kicked out.


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.
For about three quarters of the game, the crowd was in persistent vegetative state, only making basic instinctual reactions to promotional giveaways and the halftime show. Then Matt Martin caught fire and Mike Chavez charged off the bench toss everyone into a minor frenzy.

At that point the crowd was really getting into and making a lot of noise on the defensive end, this was probably the first time all season that the students were consistently standing and trying to be involved. The problem was that things were loud on defensive end but more quiet than an empty lecture hall when our Griz on offense.

This idea of being quiet on offense is normally a good idea in football games with the timing of plays relying on snap counts that everyone on offense needs to hear, but in basketball one play is called, sometimes simply by a hand gesture, so silence isn't required.

I watched an entire afternoon of college basketball and every other fan base (UCLA, UConn, Illinois) made some noise when their team had the ball.

I tried to let the two male cheerleaders right in front of me know that they should probably do something that prevented the crowd from dying after each defensive stop and having to get back up again once the other team had the ball. They kind of ignored me and said someone told them not to. When I asked who, they had no response.

I kept on nagging them for quite some time, telling everyone to be quiet so the team could hear the snap count, things like that. After quite a bit of mocking them for not cheering on offense and being oblivious to the length of the overtime, one of the two guys took a Griz/Perkins mini-ball and said "here, put this in your mouth." I didn't think that was very clever, original or nice so once he walked away I lightly tossed it (seriously, I'm not being sarcastic, I didn't throw it) at him. It hit him right in the back of the head.

I grinned and he was pretty agitated so once he got back from his on-court prancing, he said "Bye" and, to be blunt, went and taddled on me. He plead is case to probably three different security people with none of them seeming too interested. Finally, one police officer followed him over to me and nicely said "Um, we need to make sure you don't throw any more balls." I said "no problem" and it was pretty much over.

I kind of kept laughing at cheerleader and remarked "I'm still here," which he responded to by saying "you're a sweetheart, aren't you?" I'm not really sure how it was an insult, but it was a little weirded me out in ways a normal insult couldn't.

I'm really looking forward to the next game after getting a "Hey asshole!" from him on the way to class this morning.

The point is I wasn't just some stupid drunk student who decided I was going to start throwing crap at people I didn't like. I had a reason, and I think it was a good one. If some of the best college hoops programs can cheer on offense, we should too.

Big Sky Power Rankings: Griz sit at sixth.

According to this week's BSC Power Rankings, which are done by Kellis Robinett of the Idaho State Journal, the Griz are the sixth best team in the Big Sky Conference.

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.

9. Northern Colorado (2-14, 0-4) One RPI service ranks the Bears last among all Division I teams.
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.

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.

Griz basketball faces Sac State

Tonight the Montana Grizzlies take on Sacramento State in the Tree City as they look to win two of three on the road to start conference play.

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.
Even though the Griz once again appear to be contenders, they are still looking for more consistent play. If there was a stat that measured the scoring differential about 5 minutes into the game, I'm guessing they dominate this useless stat like Mike Vanderjagt dominated FG accuracy. Yeah, it only counts if you make them/have the lead at the end of the game.

It seems as though the Griz have come out great and then seem to fade towards the end of the first half with the opposing team making a run and usually leading going into the break. Then, when the Griz should be coming out strong after the break, they fade a little bit more. The game is usually decided with somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes left in the game They either drop out of contention or make a run to turn it into a game. This sounds like an awful way to play the game.

Info on Sac State: they're 6-8 overall and 1-1 in conference play. They beat Northern Colorado but lost to Northern Arizona. Note of interest: They got trounced by Mamba Karl and Boise State by 33 while our Griz beat them by 4.