Conference: Big Sky Conference
How They Qualified: Big Sky Conference Tournament Champions
The Montana Grizzlies earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament by winning the Big Sky Conference Tournament. This is going to be Montana’s third appearance in the big dance in just four years.
Montana is coached by Wayne Tinkle (Real name, I swear), who has been with the program since 2005. Tinkle has never taken the Grizzlies past the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
What You Need to Know:
Leading Scorer: Mathias Ward (14.8 ppg)
Leading Rebounder: Kareem Jamar (6.0 rpg)
Leading Passer: Kareem Jamar (4.1 apg)
Bad Losses: San Francisco
Good Wins: Weber State
This is where the automatic qualifiers get fun. Montana is a pretty solid team, especially being from a smaller league. Kareem Jamar is a dynamic guard/forward combo, who the Grizzlies rely on heavily on both side of the ball. Mathis Ward is their leading scorer and has shown the propensity to go all heat-check during games.
Match-ups, as for everyone else, is the key for Montana. Obviously not as deep as programs from power-conferences, Montana’s talent isn’t so worldly behind the others that an upset would not be out of the realm of possibility. However, I would worry if they were to get off to a slow start against any team — as Montana just does not have enough pieces to compete from behind.
The Montana Grizzlies are dancing!
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. For the love of Sam Cassell, follow Joe on the mean streets of Twitter @JosephNardone