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Montana State Game Preview & How to Watch

The Huskies return home after a disappointing game in Las Vegas

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Montana State vs Kansas State Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch (and bet)

Date: Tuesday, 12/5/23

Tip-Off Time: 8:00 pm PT

TV: Pac-12 Network

Streaming: Pac-12.com/live

Radio: Huskies Gameday App, Sports Radio KJR

Location: Seattle, Washington

Betting Line: Washington Huskies -17

Montana State Bobcats 2023-24 Statistics:

Record: 3-4

Points For per Game: 64.4 ppg (310th)

Points Against per Game: 65.6 ppg (52nd)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 98.5 (297th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 105.6 (187th)

Strength of Schedule: 244th

Montana State Key Players:

G- Robert Ford, Sr. 6’0. 180: 11.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, 40.0% FG, 35.3% 3pt, 73.9% FT

Ford may be the best 6’0 rebounder you’ve ever seen in your life. He averaged 7.2 rebounds per game as a freshman at Idaho State before dipping to just over 3 last year for the Bobcats while coming off the bench. He’s also 15th in the country in steal rate averaging better than 3 per game so he’s an absolute defensive menace and will be checking Wheeler all night.

G- Eddie Turner III, Sr. 6’2, 183: 6.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.8 apg, 37.5% FG, 23.1% 3pt, 0.0% FT

The Seattle native and Columbia transfer has already missed a few games due to injury but came back in their last contest to put up an 11 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals stat line in a loss. He’s a career 26% 3-pt shooter and 59% from the free throw line so he’s not much of a shooting threat at all.

G- Tyler Patterson, Jr. 6’8, 190: 11.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 0.7 apg, 50.0% FG, 38.6% 3pt, 100.0% FT

The local Mt. Si grad has taken a major leap in his scoring this year with the departure of some other players. That’s partly a product of playing time as he is currently 3rd in the country in percentage of minutes played against D1 teams. He’s also 10th in the country in effective field goal percentage thanks to some fantastic shooting percentages at every level. But he doesn’t do much in any other category.

F- Brian Goracke, Jr. 6’6, 210: 13.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.0 apg, 43.1% FG, 36.2% 3pt, 93.3% FT

Goracke transferred in after being 2nd team all-conference for D3 Point Loma the last several years. He is a three-point sniper but has microscopic rebounding rates for a 6’6 player and doesn’t do much in terms of steals or blocks either.

F- Sam Lecholet, Sr. 6’7, 250: 3.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.6 apg, 26.9% FG, 13.3% 3pt, 62.5% FT

Lecholet is currently playing center for Montana State but prefers to shoot it from the perimeter. That’s not great news for MSU since he’s a 30% career shooter from outside. He already has more blocks this year than he did all of last season so even at 6’7 he offers a rim protection element.

The Outlook

This game looks differently than it would’ve appeared at one point last offseason. Montana State made the NCAA tournament last year led by former Husky RaeQuan Battle. They also earned a commitment from Husky transfer Jackson Grant. But Battle transferred to West Virginia and head coach Danny Sprinkle took the head coaching job at Utah State and brought Grant along with him.

Neither move has paid off for the Dawg transfers. Battle was ruled ineligible as a 2nd time transfer since he entered the portal before his coach took another job and Grant is on a good Utah State team but isn’t a part of the rotation.

Things also haven’t worked out for Montana State. The Bobcats most recently lost to NAIA school Rocky Mountain at home by 8 points. That same NAIA team also beat Montana State...Billings by a single point. Yikes. By the same token, the Bobcats upset California earlier this season in Berkeley so they’re technically capable of beating a Pac-12 team.

In Washington’s last game they gave up 15 offensive rebounds to a Colorado State team that entering the game 5th to last in the country in that category. Well now the Huskies play a Montana State squad that is 3rd to last in the nation in offensive rebound rate. Washington absolutely should not be giving up second chance points in this game.

That’s because the Bobcats love to shoot the three-point shot. They’re 14th in the country with almost half of their attempts coming from beyond the arc. Unsurprisingly given that nugget they’re also one of the worst teams in the country at getting to the free throw line. If Montana State isn’t hitting their outside shot then they don’t really have a plan B. That bodes well for Washington who is only allowing opponents to shoot 28.5% from deep so far given their length at every position except point guard.

Washington is now 0-3 against the Mountain West conference. They probably could realistically only afford to lose 2 of those games and have any reasonable chance at an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Now they need to sweep the rest of the non-conference slate which includes Gonzaga. That isn’t an easy task but it starts with getting back into a groove tonight and pasting what should be the worst team they face all season.

Prediction

My record this year: 6-1 Straight Up, 1-5-1 Against the Spread

Washington Huskies- 87, Montana State Bobcats- 61