Montana Men's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Montana Grizzlies
Big Sky (25-6, 19-1)

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Coach Wayne Tinkle has done great things at Montana, but this may have been his best coaching job yet. Montana has had to deal with some major injuries, yet the Grizzlies still managed to win the Big Sky title. This is not a team that played a particularly tough schedule during the 2012-2013 campaign, but they won the games they should have won for the most.

Big Wins: 11/17 at Idaho (66-63), 11/24 San Diego (67-66), 1/26 Weber State (76-74)
Bad Losses: 11/30 at San Francisco (68-78), 12/15 South Dakota State (67-68), 2/14 at Weber State (63-87)
Coach: Wayne Tinkle (7 seasons at Montana)

Why They Can Surprise:
Montana will almost always take smart shots. And this is a program that likes to have shooters all over the floor. When you have five guys on the floor who can connect on any open look, the offense will be tough to stop. Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar are the most prolific scorers. Cherry is mostly a drive and dish player, but his toughness leads to some baskets under the bucket. Like Cherry, Jamar is a great passer and a solid defender. Unlike Cherry, Jamar is a consistent threat from long range and that has turned him into one of the more dynamic scorers in the Big Sky Conference. Mathias Ward, at 6-7 and 228 pounds, used to be the big body under the basket and the team’s third scoring threat, but he is done for the year with an injury.

Why They Can Disappoint:
It is not rare for the Grizzlies to struggle a bit on the glass since their big men are often hanging around on the perimeter. However, this year the problem is a bit worse due to the lack of size. Eric Hutchinson will play about 15 minutes per game and is trying to be that tough interior player, but he is not a scorer and that has limited his playing time. This is also a group that lacks a major shot blocking threat. Hutchinson is a presence in the paint when he is on the floor, yet he is no Derek Selvig, who did a bit of everything for the Grizzlies before graduating after last season. Montana and Coach Tinkle have proven that they can win games even if they do get outrebounded and fail to block shots. They have also proven that they can win without Ward and even without Cherry, who missed quite a few games towards the end of the regular season. Fortunately, Cherry appears to be very close to 100 percent.

Probable Starters:
Will Cherry, Senior, Guard, 13.9 ppg, 4.1 apg, 4.2 rpg
Jordan Gregory, Sophomore, Guard, 8.3 ppg, 1.3 apg
Kareem Jamar, Junior, Guard, 14.5 ppg, 4.1 apg, 6.0 rpg
Spencer Coleman, Junior, Forward, 7.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Eric Hutchison, Junior, Center, 3.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Keron Deshields, Sophomore, Guard, 6.7 ppg, 1.9 apg
Kevin Henderson, Sophomore, Guard, 2.7 ppg, 1.4 rpg
Mike Weisner, Sophomore, Forward, 6.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.3 (85th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.3 (143, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.4 (23, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.9 (181, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.0 (93, 3)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.1 (14, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 77.5 (5, 1)
Rebound Margin: -1.2 (227, 5)
Assists Per Game: 13.0 (149, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.1 (77, 5)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
2012    NCAA    Second Round loss to Wisconsin
2011    CBI        First Round loss to Duquesne
2010    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to New Mexico
2006    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Nevada
2006    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to Boston College
2005    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Washington

*all team stats through 3/10


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules