Thursday, July 14, 2011

An Early Look at Montana State's Schedule

Since we have already looked at Eastern Washington and Weber State's schedule, let's take a look at Montana St.

The Bobcats are coming off of a year where they finished 13-18 (7-9) in conference, and graduated three of their main contributors, including Bobby Howard (a 2nd team All Big Sky) and Erik Rush (a Big Sky Honorable Mention). They'll also be breaking in a large number of junior college transfers, so it is safe to say that it will be an interesting season in Bozeman.

The schedule will include a few challenges as well. According to coach Brad Huse:

“We've bit off another challenging non-conference schedule that should prepare us for league play,” Huse said. “Our league continues to be extremely tough and the best way to prepare for league play is by playing a difficult non-conference schedule.”
The Bobcats will start the season November 11 with a trip to play Arizona St. While the Sun Devils were down a bit last season, Herb Sendek is slowly building a solid program down in Tempe, so Arizona St. will certainly be the heavy favorites in the season opening tilt.

About a week later they will travel to take on Utah. Again, they are a bottom level Pac-12 team (for their first year in the conference), but their talent level will be higher than the Bobcats. Their other marquee game comes against New Mexico, which is a very tough place to play under Steve Alford. New Mexico will be in the chase for the MWC title, so that will be a good measuring stick for the Bobcats.

Other non-conference games include home dates with Northern New Mexico, Seattle, CS Bakersfield, Willamette, and UC Riverside. Not exactly games to get the home base excited about, but such is life as a bottom tier Big Sky team. Other road dates include trips to play Idaho, San Jose St, and Pepperdine.

It will be an interesting period for MSU as Coach Huse will need to settle on a rotation with a lot of new faces. If they can finish .500 and win one of the three high-profile games (Utah, New Mexico, Arizona St), I think they would have to consider it a very successful non-conference slate.


[Note: If you are looking for another, perhaps even more thorough look at the Bobcats schedule, you should definitely check out Blue & Gold, who has some very good thoughts on it)]

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