Montana Grizzlies, Lady Griz have big week

Montana guard Will Cherry drives to the basket Saturday night at Adams Center in Missoula. AP

Montana guard Will Cherry drives to the basket Saturday night at Adams Center in Missoula. AP

It’s a huge week for both the University of Montana men’s and women’s basketball teams.

The women are in the midst of a week-long road trip to Idaho and Utah. The Lady Griz topped Southern Utah Monday in Cedar City and take on Idaho State Thursday in Pocatello.

The Bengals were picked first, but suffered three early setbacks. They’ve won four in a row going into Thursday’s game.

“The key for them is to play strong, physical man-to-man defense,” UM head coach Robin Selvig said. “We gotta make some baskets. They won almost every close game last year.”

Weber State is 0-17, but Montana isn’t taking the Wildcats lightly.

“Everyone says they’re dangerous,” Selvig said. “Nobody wants to be the first one to lose to them.”

The Griz men play host to Idaho State Thursday before the game of the year thus far when Weber State comes to town. Assuming both teams win Thursday, the game will be for first place in the conference. But head coach Wayne Tinkle isn’t letting his team think about the Wildcats until it deals with Idaho State first.

The Griz were picked to win the Big Sky and though they are still undefeated, they’ve been fairly inconsistent in those victories.

“We have to mature at some point and I think that’s what it is,” Tinkle said. “We start rolling, then we let our guard down and get sloppy. We get lulled into coming out and seeing how things go and then flip a switch if we need to. We made it clear in the locker room after last weekend that we can’t be that kind of team.”

Last season the Griz were consistently winning in double digits.

“We are a little behind the pace, I think,” Tinkle said. “Last year we really got rolling and dominated on the defensive end…That was a very mature team that was ready from the opening tip.”

Tinkle added that the players have remained healthy, but that some cold symptoms seem to be going through the coaching staff.

“We’re getting hit by something,” Tinkle said. “But the players are healthy and that’s what matters. The coaches have wives that can take care of us.”

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