MSU Basketball teams prepare for rival Grizzlies
When it comes to Cat-Griz, all records and stats can be thrown out the window. A rivalry game trumps anything else, especially this one. But this season there's more then just bragging rights on the line, this time around top billing in the Big Sky Conference will be at stake.
On Saturday, the Bobcats will head over The Great Divide to Missoula, where they'll bring this bitter rivalry to the hardwood.
"There's always that element of extra excitement and kind of the rivalry aspect of it for sure when you go up against Montana," MSU forward Ashley Brumwell said.
The Lady Cats sit at 12-4 on the year, with a 6-1 Big Sky mark. The Lady Griz are 11-4 with a 5-1 record in conference, just a half game back of MSU. Whoever wins Saturday's game will sit alone as the top team in the Big Sky. With that in mind, MSU knows it has work to do.
"The biggest test for that game will be to see where our defense is at because Montana does a great job of taking care of the basketball, and we've had success on making sure teams don't take care of the basketball, so if we can create some turnovers off them, get into our transition game will be extremely important," MSU Head Coach Tricia Binford said.
The Lady Griz are 8-1 at home this season, while MSU boasts a 6-1 road record.
With everything on the line, Brumwell says the team is excited to see how these teams match up.
I" think it will be a really exciting game, we're both two talented teams. And I think it's kind of cool that we're set up, right now at least, tied for first and kind of just get to go at each other and see who's the better team right now," she said.
The game tips off at 2 p.m. in Missoula.
Later that evening the men will take the court to battle it out at 7 p.m.. Montana is tops in the Big Sky with an 11-4 record, and an undefeated 7-0 mark in conference. The MSU men stumbled early, but have turned it on as of late, they're 6-8 this year, 3-3 in Big Sky play.
MSU Head Coach Brad Huse says with so many new faces it will be imperative to help his players keep their emotions in check during this rivalry match-up.
"They're good at home and they play really well and a very difficult team to play, a veteran team. Their upperclassmen have played a ton of games together. It's a new environment for a majority of our guys that haven't been to Montana before, so there's a lot of emotion associated with this game. And for us it's how we handle that emotion," Huse said.
Last season the Grizzlies swept the MSU men, but the Cats have been improving and have gone 4-1 in their last five contests. One of the biggest differences is their home/away records. The Griz post an impressive 6-1 home record, while MSU is just 1-6 in road games.