UM Sports Trivia | March 18

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

A win this week by either the Griz or Lady Griz basketball team would give UM basketball 50 wins this season. In 1984 The Lady Griz won 27 games and advanced to the West Regionals before falling to USC, while the Men won 23 but got no tournament invites after losing in the Big Sky title game. In 1992 the Griz won 27 games but lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Lady Griz won 23 games but won at Wisconsin to advance to the Tournament’s second round where once again they were eliminated by USC.

This will be the third time the Lady Griz have faced the Georgia Bulldogs–Georgia having won the first two encounters. In December of 1983 in a Tournament in Portland the Lady Griz gave a Final Four-bound Georgia team a good fight for 30 minutes before Georgia blew past them. In 2000 Georgia was the top seed in the West and Montana had to go to Athens Georgia and was no match for the Bulldogs.

This is the second time the Griz have played in San José in the NCAA tournament. In 2010 Steve Alford and New Mexico had to battle for their lives before ousting the Grizzlies. It is sort of ironic that the nickname for the facility in San Jose is “The Shark Tank” long time nickname of UNLV arena in Las Vegas.

The Lady Griz are 1-12 against current members of the Southeastern Conference, including 0-4 in the NCAA tournament. Montana’s lone win over an ASEC team came in late December 2007 when the Lady Griz downed the University of Mississippi as part of Montana’s Holiday Classic.

In the 33 year history of the Big East Conference Thursday’s game with Syracuse will mark the first time the Griz have faced an active member of the Big East. In the second round of the 2006 tournament the Grizzlies faced Boston College–then in its first season in the ACC after 2 decades in the Big East.

In the fall of 2011, Georgia played 2 teams Montana is quite familiar with. In a tournament at a tropical location Georgia lost by 3 to Gonzaga and beat the MSU Bobcats by 14.

Syracuse may have some long-forgotten revenge on their minds. In 1915 the Syracuse football team played in Missoula on their way to face Oregon State. In an utter snowstorm the Griz managed a 3-3 tie, leading Syracuse to boycott a post-game dinner.

Montana’s 8 point loss two years ago in Spokane at the hands of UCLA was as close as the Lady Griz have come to an NCAA tournament win outside of the state of Montana in over 15 years. Montana will be looking for its first tournament win since beating San Diego state in 1995.

Here’s a fun thought to conjure: A win by Montana and the Cal Golden Bears set up a coaching match-up for the “ages” From 1984-1986 Mike Montgomery prodded Wayne Tinkle and challenged him to be “The next Larry Kryskowiak”. Last week Montgomery’s Bears were ousted from the PAC-12 tournament by Krysko and his Utah Utes.

Looking ahead to the second round. The Lady Griz last beat Gonzaga in December of 2005 and had played the Zags every season before the current one. As for Iowa State, Montana swept a home and home series with the Cyclones in 1992-93 and 1993-94.

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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.