UM Sports Trivia

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

It has been 20 years since Griz fans have had a chance to cheer on the home team to a Big Sky tournament title. This is only the fourth time the men’s tournament has been in Missoula, in 1978 when Montana lost to Weber State in the title game, in both 1991 and 1992 the Griz took the title in Dahlberg Arena. In 2000 the Griz lost in the conference semi-finals to the Matadors of Cal State Northridge.  However the Griz have won 5 Big Sky tournament titles at other venues, twice in Flagstaff, Once in Bozeman, Ogden and Portland.

The four teams in this week’s conference semi-finals have combined to win 9 of the past 10 Big Sky Conference. The only recent champion not in attendance 2011 titlist Northern Colorado.

The Grizzlies are 3-0 against Eastern Washington in tournament play, wins in 2002, 2005 and 2006 and in each case the Griz went on to win the tournament.

The Grizzlies 23 regular seasons wins is their most since the 1992 team posted 25 regular season wins.

Weber State is another team that knows that it isn’t easy winning Conference tournament even at home, as the Wildcats have hosted two of the past three years only to have to watch other teams cut down the nets (like the 2010 Grizzlies.).  Weber State last won a tournament title outside of Ogden in Reno in 1983.

In the 16 years history of the current 6-team field in the Big Sky  women’s tournament only three times have teams pulled off three wins to take the tournament title, NAU in 2006 in Pocatello and then Portland State and the Lady Griz the last two seasons.

This will be only the second UM-MSU meeting in the women’s tournament over the last 9 seasons. From 1991 to 2003 The Lady Griz and Cats met 10 in the Conference tournament.

One advantage the Idaho State women have is the date of the championship game. In both 2001 and 2007 the Bengals claimed their only Big Sky tournament titles winning the championship on Saturday March 10, which happens to be the date of this season’s title game.

GO GRIZ!

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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.