Thursday, March 21, 2013

Montana's Season Ends With With Tournament Loss

Montana went 19-1 in the Big Sky this year, and won their second straight Big Sky regular season and tournament title. But the ending to their year is worse than any Montana player or fan's worst nightmare. We knew that, on paper, Syracuse was not a good matchup for Montana, with their length and athleticism. That said, I am not sure anyone was ready for the carnage that took place on Thursday night.

Syracuse got out to a fast start and never looked back, winning by a shocking final margin of 81-34. There are a lot of stats that could be used to point out how bad Montana's night was, but that will do no good. The Grizzlies got punched in the mouth at the beginning of the game, and they simply had no answer at either end of the court. They are obviously a lot better than they played against the Orange, but that is of little consolation to themselves or their fans. It was a bad night.

The bottom line is this - Montana had a great year. With the obstacles they overcame this year - from Marko Kovacevic losing eligibility before the year, to Will Cherry missing time, to Mathias Ward getting hurt - they had no business going 19-1, winning the Big Sky regular season and conference tournament. They simply didn't have the talent (again, with injuries and defections) or depth as they did last year, and that is combined with Weber State being an improved team. The fact that they accomplished what they did is a testament to guys like Will Cherry, Kareem Jamar, Wayne Tinkle, and the program that they have built.

One game does not define a season. Montana will look back on this game with some rough memories, but hopefully they don't let it take away what they accomplished this season.

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  1. That was a tough and ugly game to watch. Like always, I appreciate your sobering affect, and you really are right about Montana overachieving this year.
    Thanks for all your coverage, and I hope Weber keeps winning in the CBI.

  2. Did anyone else feel like Montana embarrassed the Big Sky?

    I really wonder how Weber St. would have held up in the tournament(I am not a Weber St. fan).
    I am realistic and understand that its very unlikely that any Big Sky team would make the sweet sixteen. However, I just felt that Montana made the Big Sky look like a JV conferance. I am not trying to offend anyone. I am a UNC fan, and when they went a few years back they did not have a great showing either.

    1. Painful to admit but Yes, the results reflect badly on the Big Sky with it's rep. not only getting beat but routed! I am a Weber St. fan, & can recall how it felt back in '07 in the NCAA defeat to UCLA, how I was just praying that the Wildcats could please score at least 40 pts.! Don't know if Wildcats could have done any better against a powerful Syracuse team. But I do remember what I believe is the last Big Sky win in the NCAAs & it's credit to Montana in beating Nevada (2010?). It does happen, if rarely.

    2. Earlier than that (2010) because I think Coach Krysko... was at Montana?

    3. Does it reflect badly on the conference? Yes. Would Weber State have done any better against Syracuse? Maybe, but I imagine they still would have gotten spanked pretty bad.

    4. Syracuse came out mad, wanting to prove all the idiots on TV wrong who were picking an upset on the selection show and all the way up to the game. Some may say it reflects badly on the conference, I just think it shows just how good Syracuse is.