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Montana Grizzlies Game Preview/Open Thread

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The Huskies have a chance to surpass last season’s win total in their final non-conference game

NCAA Basketball: Montana at Penn State Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The Essentials

Date: Friday, 12/22/17

Tip-Off Time: 8:00pm PST

TV: Pac-12 Network

Radio: KOMO 1000

Location: Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec-Ed Pavilion, Seattle, Washington

Betting Line: Washington -4.5

Montana 2017-18 Statistics:

Record: 7-4

Points For per Game: 72.6 ppg (189th)

Points Against per Game: 70.0 ppg (112th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 104.7 (150th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 102.5 (135th)

Strength of Schedule: 160th

Montana Key Players:

C- Jamar Akoh, Jr. 6’8, 253: 11.1ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.0bpg, 55.3% FG, 64.9% FT

Akoh is very similar to Noah Dickerson and they have almost identical body types. He’s right behind Noah in fouls drawn per 40 minutes and his rebounding rate numbers are actually slightly better than Dickerson’s.

F- Bobby Moorehead, Jr. 6’7, 182: 9.1ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.5apg, 40.5% FG, 80% FT, 35.1% 3pt

Moorehead plays a 34 hybrid role and is their 3-point specialist as the vast majority of his shots have come from behind the arc. That he shoots the highest percentage on the team at just 35% tells you something about Montana’s shooting.

F- Sayeed Pridgett, Sr. 6’5, 195: 8.4ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.3apg, 48.1% FG, 65.2% FT, 14.3% 3pt

Pridgett is a good wing shot blocker/rebounder for his size but isn’t much of a factor on offense.

G- Michael Oguine, Jr. 6’2, 171: 15.3ppg, 5.4rpg, 2.2apg, 40.6% FG, 70% FT, 25% 3pt

Oguine is a do it all player for the Grizzlies. He blocks shots, he gets steals, he scores, he rebounds, and he doesn’t turn the ball over. Basically the only things he can’t do are shoot 3’s or pass.

G- Ahmaad Rorie, Jr. 6’1, 175: 17.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.7apg, 40.4% FG, 77.8% FT, 28.6% 3pt

Rorie is a very capable point guard although he’s not necessarily a pass first type. He’s going to take the largest proportion of the Grizzlies’ shots and most of them are going to come near the rim.

The Outlook

The Huskies need to be on upset alert in their final non-conference game. This Montana team is not a complete pushover. They have one power-5 win at Pittsburgh (who admittedly are worse than Washington) and all of their losses are to top-150 teams. They’ll contend for the Big Sky title.

That being said, this seems like a great matchup for Washington. The Grizzlies are a team of extremes. On offense, they can’t shoot the ball and don’t really try to do so. They’re 346th in the country in 3-point percentage and 333rd in % of their points that come from behind the arc. If Washington can force Montana to stay behind the arc as the zone is meant to do then it’s very unlikely the Grizzlies can win this game.

On defense, Montana will gamble for steals and close out hard on 3-point attempts and are willing to live with fouls. They’re a top-25 team in both turnovers and preventing 3-pointers and are 347/351 in giving up free throw attempts. UW doesn’t shoot the ball very well and their biggest strength is getting the ball down low and getting fouled. That sounds like a Washington advantage.

If the Huskies struggle in this game it will likely be because of David Crisp. You don’t want to over dribble and try to launch 3-pointers against this Montana team because they are built to stop that defensively. This game in particular (although I’d like to see it more often in general) the Huskies should let Jaylen Nowell and Matisse Thybulle initiate and have Crisp be ready to spot up following the kick out if the Grizzlies decide to double team Noah Dickerson or Sam Timmins.

I have a bad feeling about this game. Coach Hop has to have them ready to play and not be looking ahead to the Christmas break and Pac-12 play. Montana is absolutely capable of winning this game. And if this team gets over-confident following the decimation of Bethune-Cookman then they could be in trouble. But I really do think the matchup is a good one for the Huskies and I think they surpass last season’s win total before playing their first conference game.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 78, Montana Grizzlies- 72

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