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Game 5: Montana

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Conference: Big Sky

Record: 4-1

Pomeroy Rankings: 59th Overall, 191st Offense, 16th Defense

Best Win: 68-55 @Oregon

Coach: Wayne Tinkle, 52-44, 4th season

Key Players:

Anthony Johnson: 6-3 Guard, Senior. 22 PPG (121.2 ORating), 69.3 FTRate, 4 APG

Brian Qvale: 6-11 Center, Junior. 11.6 PPG (150.6 ORating), 7.6 RPG, 2 BPG (7.5 BLK%)

Jack McGillis: 6-6 Forward, Senior. 7.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG

Scouting Montana:

The Grizz have been inconsistent this year, beating lesser teams and even upsetting Oregon, yet also losing on the road to lowly Denver. They play a slow pace (62.8 Adjusted Tempo, 321st) and grind it out on defense. One of those teams. Their philosophy on defense is to play position and force a shot, then seal out and get the defensive rebound, which contrasts directly with the Huskies' rebounding style of crashing the boards. Montana's offense is much like their defense in that second chance points are few and far between. They shoot the ball decently from the field, but struggle mightily behind the arc.

How to Beat Them:

Whichever team shakes off the cobwebs first is going to have the upper hand. The Huskies haven't played in 9 days, and the Grizzlies haven't played in 6. If one team comes out sluggish they'll likely dig themselves an early hole. The Huskies need to play interior defense and force the Grizzlies to shoot the 3, forcing some long rebounds off of which the Huskies can get out and run to create some quick and easy baskets. The Dawgs also need to use their offensive rebounding style to overpower Montana's defensive rebounding style.

Prediction:

The Huskies need to play sound basketball to win comfortably, and coming off of 9 days without game action, that can be hard to do. The first half might be a little bit disjointed, but by the second half Washington should be able to play as they're capable. As long as Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter are the best players on the court Montana shouldn't pose a serious threat.

Huskies win: 82 - 67

Vegas: UW -19.5

Viewing: 6:00 FSN, Bank of America Arena