UM Sports Trivia

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

Just past the midway point in the Big Sky schedule and the Montana Grizzlies are tied with Weber State for the lead in the Big Sky standings. There is much work to be done before the regular season champ will be crowned but Montana’s fans have waited a long time for another chance to host the league tournament.

The last time the Grizzly men won a regular season title was 2000 when the Griz attack was led by Matt Williams and Mike Warhank. Over the last 12 years 7 different schools have hosted the Big Sky men’s tournament including former league member Cal State Northridge. While having gone a dozen years without a regular season title Montana has earned 4 trips to the NCAA tournament by winning the league tournament.

A tale of two cities… In mid-December Northern Arizona and Idaho State parted company with their long-time men’s basketball coach and while the Lumberjacks have floundered,  the Bengals have awakened and are currently 4-4 in the Big Sky and in the hunt for a spot as a top 4 seed for the post-season tournament.

You’d figure a guy named Deane Martin would liven things up–even in Pocatello. Monday night Martin brings his “act” and his ISU Bengals to Dahlberg Arena.  We are not sure how good a singer the Idaho State Deane Martin is but he does have a spot on his resume that is reminiscent of the entertainer of the same name, as Martin the coach spent three seasons as an assistant at Nevada-LasVegas.

Since the start of the 2007-08 season the Montana Lady Griz have an impressive lead over their MSU Bobcat counterparts having won 98 games compared to 82 for the Cats. However over the last five seasons when the Lady Griz and Lady Cats have met it has been a much closer match-up as Montana has just a 5-4 advantage against the Bobcats since February of 2008. Montana did however win the two schools’ only post-season meeting over the last 5 years with a resounding win in the 2008 tournament title game.

Sunday’s Super Bowl game in Indianapolis marks only the third time teams have met in a super Bowl rematch with both the same head coach and same starting quarterback. In both of the Steelers-Cowboys super Bowl meetings of the 1970’s it was Tom Landry and Chuck Noll on the sidelines with Roger Staubach and Terry Bradshaw guiding theoffenses.

In the 1990’s Buffalo faced Dallas in consecutive Super Bowls with Marv Levy and Jimmy Johnson as opposing head coaches and Jim Kelly and Troy Aikman as the opposing quarterbacks. Sunday, just as it was 4 years ago,  it will be the coaching match-up of Bill Belichek and Tom Coughlin with the field generals, Tom Brady and Eli Manning. One significant difference from 4 years ago is that at the time, both Brady and Eli Manning were bachelors and now each has gotten married.

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Chris Walterskirchen has been an observer of Montana sports for nearly half a century. A Kalispell native, Chris has worked in various capacities for professional and college sports organization of at various times: ranging from announcing and statistical work to the concessions and even a stint as a costumedmascot.

Chris has academic degrees in communications and elementary education. His style of sports trivia involves more than just who won and who lost, but also focuses on the obscure or human side of sports. In this blog you will learn things like the Grizzly football team has won 210 games over the 19 seasons since they have had Monte as their mascot or that UNLV is the only school that both the Griz and Lady Griz have both faced in the NCAA basketball tournament

When not following sports Chris enjoys taking care of animals of all kinds (a peacock rescue?) and reading to pre-schoolers.