Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Preview Of The Big Sky Openers
Eastern Washington @ Montana State
This is a game between two teams that started off the year strong and had their good moments, but have struggled a bit heading into conference play. Even though this game is in Bozeman, I think EWU is the favorite, as they have simply been better offensively and defensively so far this season.
A key for the Bobcats will be that they need Xavier Blount and Jamie Stewart to draw some fouls and get to the line for easy points.They are two athletic wings that handle the ball well, and they need to be on their game. Neither of these teams shoots the ball well from inside the arc, so outside shooting will be paramount. The Eagles need Collin Chiverton and Cliff Colimon to knock a few shots down early, that will be a big key for the Eagles.
Look for a tight, hard-fought game, but one I like Eastern Washington to pull out.
Montana is the best defensive team in the Big Sky, while Portland State is one of the best on offense. The Grizzlies are a team with great perimeter defenders, while the Vikings are a team that likes to get points down low and in the paint. It should be a heck of a matchup.
The key will be if Montana's bigs can slow down the inside play of the Vikings trio of Chehales Tapscott, Nate Lozeau, and Renado Parker. Tapscott in particular is solid at drawing fouls and getting to the line, which could be a key because Montana does not have a ton of frontcourt depth. If the Montana bigs (particularly Derek Selvig) get into foul trouble, it will be interesting to see what type of lineup Coach Tinkle puts out there.
In the backcourt, the Grizzlies have a big edge. For PSU, Charles Odum has been excellent, but they haven't always got consistency from the rest of the guards. They will need Michael Harthun to hit some shots. The Grizzlies guards Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar should have a field day against Portland State's defense, which is a bit porous. Those two need 35-40 points for the Griz in this game.
This should be another excellent game on a solid Big Sky opening day, and I like Montana to hold home court and win this game.
Your thoughts on the opening games?
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