The past week saw the beginning of conference play for the Montana State and Montana men’s programs, while the women continued with non-conference schedule. With their two home conference games against Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona behind them now, the men will get back to their non-conference play until December 31st when the conference schedule gets into full swing.
All four teams can claim a home victory this week but the week has to go to the Montana State Bobcat men’s team who man handled both conference teams this past week in what I have to admit was surprising fashion. After that though I think it was pretty much a draw as to who had the second best week.
Bobcat Men: I have to admit I was real nervous about the Bobcat Men chances against Northern Colorado. No. Col. was the hottest team in the conference (with Montana a close second), and really seemed to be clicking on all cylinders. The Bobcats while playing well so far this season certainly did not look like a team that had it all together yet especially with their staring guards. On Friday though the ‘Cats looked like a team that could challenge for the league title as they battled No. Colorado tooth and nail in the first half and then buried them in the second half. Against N. Arizona the Bobcat’s looked like they were suffering a hangover from the previous night, but when they came out in the second half it looked like the dominating team from the night before. On these back to back conference games the players are really going to need to get mentally tough to be successful.
Bobcat Women: I guess you can sum up the Bobcat Women’s week as they lost the game they were supposed to lose and they won the game they were supposed to win. The Bobcats took on Gonzaga who is ranked in the top 30 or so on Friday and while they hung close in the first half, in the second Gonzaga pulled away to win comfortably by 17. On Sunday they took on Montana State Northern and won by 30. Binford substituted early and liberally through out the whole game and a lot of younger players got to see plenty of action. The fewest minutes logged by a Bobcat were 13 and that was starter Erica Perry. Freshman Ashley Albert showed some flashes of what is to come with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assist, and 2 blocks in 22 minutes of play.
Lady Griz: The Lady Griz got back in the win column with an 86-35 shellacking of the University of Great Falls. Like the Bobcat Women Robin Selvig used his bench liberally but it did not matter against the Great Falls team. U of Great Falls has finished no better than 8th place in the 8 team Frontier conference the past 3 years and will be lucky to get 5-6 wins this year overall. Playing Great Falls does guarantee you a blow out win, but it probably creates more bad habits then actually helps a D-1 team.
Grizzly Men: The Griz men were 1-1 for the week end, but in conference play losing a home game out weighs wining a home game. With the Conference Friday /Saturday schedule it was suppose to be the traveling team that would get worn down on the second night, but if you were watching either the Griz or Bobcat men’s game it was the home team that looked lethargic in the first half Saturday. The difference was that the Bobcat’s came out a new team in the second half while the Griz could not get it together. I think we will be saying this until someone proves it wrong but right now it appears that as Antony Johnson goes so do the Griz. Look for – especially in conference- all sort of gimmick defenses aimed to get Johnson off his game. Despite this though I have to give a hats off to Brain Qvale, he has really come out and proven this year that he will be a force on the inside. If there is a better center in the league I have not seen him.