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UND (4-1, 9-6) @ Montana (4-1, 9-9) 1/14 8 PM

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With solid performances by Hooker, Geno and Avants, UND was able to get a decent road win over the Bobcats.  Now the attention turns to Missoula, where a critical showdown against the Griz awaits in the only meeting of the season.

UND has not fared well against Montana since joining the Big Sky, only going 1-7 against them and they have not get tasted victory in Missoula, going 0-4 over there

This Montana team is a bit different than years past, as they are more guard oriented and want to push the tempo a lot more than they have in recent memory.  They have a trio of pretty good guards, led by the Oregon transfer (Griz always seem to hit the gold mind with Pac-12 transfers don't they) Ahmaad Rorie.  He and Oguine can shoot it from the outside and Wright is deadly from the free throw line (as is the entire team, who shoots 75% as a team). They have also played a rugged non-conference schedule so they are battle-tested for conference play, and it has showed so far.

They do not have a dominate big man like they have had in years past. The guy they do have can rebound pretty well (top 5 in the conference for that)

UND is going to need a similar performance like against MSU.  Hooker and Geno need to play like stars and Avants needs to get touches in the paint.  Perhaps Drick can get a little bit more involved.

The stakes are high in this game, this is the only matchup between the two so for seeding purposes this is huge.  If UND wants to make up for the mis-step in Portland, here is a golden opportunity to do so.

Other games:

EWU (3-1) @ Weber (3-0) *How for real are you EWU, almost knocked off the Griz at home, can you beat the Cats on the road?  Weber looking to defend home court before a big road test next Thursday at UND

Idaho (1-3) @ Idaho State (0-3) *Preseason, this would have been a great matchup for two top 5 teams in the conference.  Now?  Just looking to jump start their seasons

SAC (1-3) @ NAU (0-3) *Hornets broke through with win #1, can they get the road sweep?  Can NAU finally get on the board

PSU (2-1) @ SUU (2-2) *SUU trying to stop the bleeding and not let the losing streak get to 3.  PSU got PPD in Arizona, so they will be somewhat rested before playing the make-up game on Monday

UNC (3-2) @ MSU (1-4) *MSU not off to the start that they hoped, they need to start getting wins at home to start putting themselves in better position for a good seed.  Beating UNC would be a good start.

The call:

The knock on UND has been their inability to beat Montana and Weber on a consistent basis since joining the Big Sky. After Saturday's game 1/3 of the Big Sky season will be completed for UND, and they can be in a great spot with a win.  They have been playing much better, but they are going to need their best here.  With that said... this is a game for a Big Sky POY to show his stuff.  Hooker shines and gets enough help from his friends to pull the upset and get that statement win on the road.

77-74 UND

 

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