For a third straight year, the Montana Grizzlies will fight for a spot in the NCAA Tournament by playing in the Big Sky Tournament. In 2012, the Grizzlies lost to the Northern Colorado Bears, but the Bears failed to qualify for the tournament, leaving them unable to defend that title. The Grizzlies, meanwhile, took the No. 1 seed in the tournament and will face the No. 2 Weber St. Wildcats.
Montana, winner of seven Big Sky tournaments and in 2010 for the latest one (defeating Weber State, 66-65), defeated the Eastern Washington Eagles on Tuesday night to advance to the championship game. Before that, the Grizzlies defeated Weber State in the regular season finale, 66-51, to capture the No. 1 seed. Will Cherry scored 23 points in that victory.
Weber State finished Big Sky with a 14-2 record on the strength of Damian Lillard's 24.4 points per game. A midseason Naismith Award selection, Lillard have averaged 4.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game, as well. He scored 21 and 19 points in two games against the Grizzlies, but he shot just 32 percent to score those 40 points.
Game time/date: 7:00 p.m. MT, Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Location: Dahlberg Arena, Missoula, Mont.