Date: Wednesday, 12/16/20
Tip-Off Time: 8:00 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: KJR 950 AM/KVI 570
Location: Seattle, Washington
Betting line: Washington -8
Montana Grizzlies 2020-21 Statistics:
Record: 0-4 (1-0 against non D-1 teams)
Points For per Game: 62.2 ppg (263rd)
Points Against per Game: 69.5 ppg (133rd)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 97.3 (216th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 97.8 (124th)
Strength of Schedule: 73rd
Montana Key Players:
G- Brandon Whitney, Fr. 6’1, 178: 10.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 47.2% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 81.0% FT
The true freshman combo guard leads the team in minutes and while he’s struggled a little shooting from the field he has been great from the free throw line. He’s got some of the more microscopic rebounding rates I’ve ever seen so he’s not exactly going to be a threat in that regard against the Huskies.
F- Kyle Owens, So. 6’8, 205: 13.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 0.8 apg, 55.3% FG, 50.0% 3pt, 63.6% FT
Owens has played just one fewer minute than Whitney but is Montana’s leader in both points and rebounds per game. For someone at his size who touches the ball quite a bit he takes very good care of the ball. That 50% number from 3-pt range is only on about one attempt per game so while he definitely can shoot the occasional deep shot he’s more effective in the paint. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Montana place him as their primary guy in the high post.
G- Cameron Parker, Jr. 6’2, 170: 9.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 5.2 apg, 50.0% FG, 54,5% 3pt, 75.0% FT
Just like Owens, Parker is only taking about 2 three-point attempts per game but is hitting an unsustainably high percent of them. He has transferred in from Sacred Heart and was 11th and 7th in the country in assist rate the last 2 years. Unsurprisingly he also turns the ball over a decent amount. If he’s on then there’s a chance he can find holes in UW’s zone but it also wouldn’t shock me if Washington’s length and athleticism force 4+ turnovers.
C- Michael Steadman, Sr. 6’10, 215: 11.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 52.2 FG, 63.6% FT
Steadman is a former JUCO player that transferred in from San Jose State. He tried to be a bit of a stretch 5 for them but since he shot 23% it’s probably to Montana’s advantage that they’ve kept him entirely in the post. He’s a surprisingly poor offensive rebounder for someone his size but against Washington’s zone it wouldn’t be a shock for that to suddenly change.
G- Josh Vazquez, Jr. 6’2, 190: 7.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.6 apg, 41.9% FG, 47.4% 3pt, 100% FT
Vazquez leads Montana in 3-point attempts this season and shot 36% as a freshman so he’s likely their most reliable outside shooter. He also was the team leader in steal percentage last season for Montana so we might see him spending some time guarding Quade Green.
Montana 2020-21 Shot Chart
It seems pretty evident that Washington wants to put their best corner defender on that left side of the court. My guess is that over the course of the season things will level out but right now Montana has basically shot well behind the arc on that side and poorly almost everywhere else. They haven’t been very efficient inside which is where teams have really beat up Washington this year so overall this has to be considered to be a pretty good matchup.
Just your typical battle between 1-4 teams. The outlook for this season might look vastly different if Washington had time to play an exhibition or two and figure out the lineup that we’ve seen in the last 2 games. Whether it’s because they’re playing at home or because we’ve seen more playing time for Nate Pryor and Riley Sorn, Washington has been vastly improved since returning to Seattle.
Montana under Travis DeCuire has been consistently one of the best teams in the Big Sky but they’ve struggled so far. Part of that is because their only 4 games against D-1 teams have all been on the road and the only ones against non-power conference games were consecutive 1-point losses. They blew the doors off Yellowstone Christian by 60 points but considering I’ve never heard of them before now I’m not giving much weight to that outcome.
The Grizzlies’ statistical profile is a little odd. They have an 8% edge on their opponents in 3-pt shooting so far (37% to 29%) but they don’t actually take many long-range attempts. About half of their shots come in the paint but they’re only shooting 50% in that area which is below average compared to most teams.
Perhaps the most relevant part of Montana’s game for UWs is that the Grizz are atrocious rebounders. Somehow they actually are a worse rebounding team than the Huskies and only marginally better on the defensive glass. This is the definition of a pillow fight on the boards. Washington was able to win decisively in that regard against Seattle and it helped them to a 30-point blowout win. I don’t think we’re going to see that result but it gives the Dawgs a lot more wiggle room when they can’t at least hold serve on the glass.
Washington Huskies- 68, Montana Grizzlies- 58
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