We are blessed with a big game in the Big Sky on Monday night, as second-ranked Montana hosts third-ranked Idaho State (in case you just woke up from a two month nap, that is not a typo -- Idaho State is alone in third place).
Both teams enter playing great basketball. The Grizzlies have won 5 in a row and 11 of their last 12, while the Bengals have won 4 in a row and 5 of their last 6. I'm not sure any team is playing with more confidence than ISU is at this moment.
One reason for ISU's resurgence is that they are playing loose, and with the attitude that they have nothing to lose. They are showing teams a full-court press look, and have not been afraid to fire from anywhere on the court. They have been averaging 10 made threes per game in their winning streak, and Kenny McGowen (AKA Mr. Clutch) is averaging 19.7 PPG in his last six, including two game-winners.
Montana, meanwhile is doing it on both sides of the court. They are once again the best defensive team in the conference (even after losing Brian Qvale), and they can hurt you a lot of different ways offensively. Kareem Jamar and Will Cherry is a very complete backcourt, that should have an edge over ISU.
The point spread in this game is 15.5 points, but I think it will be a lot closer than that. Idaho State is playing like they have nothing to lose, and they never seem to be out of a game. However, I think Montana is a little deeper, and they have answers for ISU's strengths. The key will be containing Chase Grabau... ISU needs him to have a huge day, but I think the Grizzlies will slow him down.
MONTANA 74, IDAHO STATE 67
Follow me on Twitter @bigskybball