Montana Basketball Poised for Big Season

COVID-19 derailed the University of Montana’s 2020 campaign and pushed it to the spring. However, college basketball was played in 2020-21, and the Montana Grizzlies men’s basketball team was able to compete.

Montana had a successful season in 2020-21, finishing 15-13 in a season filled with COVID-19 restrictions. The Grizzlies are undergoing preseason workouts, but we expect them to have a successful year in the Big Sky Conference.

Many popular bookies have already listed their odds for the event, and players interested in the sport can place a free bet using the Draftkings promo code. Last season, a young Grizzlies program battled against some major programs like Southern California, Georgia, and Arizona.

They could not finish in many games because of their inexperience, but this will be improved on the 2021-22 roster. The youngsters could still make it to the Big Sky Conference Tournament semifinals before getting beat by Eastern Washington.

Eastern Washington took it to the Grizzlies, and the Eagles are expected to be a top returning program this season. However, Montana has the team take down Eastern Washington on paper heading into the preseason if they stay healthy.

The 2020-21 roster did not graduate one senior, and the team only has three players in their final collegiate season heading into 2021. The future is very bright for head coach Travis Decuire and his program.

Kyle Owens is a 6’8” junior who will be a preseason All-Big Sky selection at forward. Owens had a terrific sophomore season for the Grizzlies, making the honorable mention All-Conference team.

He was the best player on his team as well, which is why he earned the C.R. Dragstedt Award, which is given to the team MVP. Owens shot 47% from the field and averaged 10.5 points per game.

With an offseason of work, expect Owens to be dominant within the Big Sky Conference. Another junior to watch for is Josh Vazquez, an Academic All-Big Sky selection. He started 16 of 28 games as a sophomore and served as a tremendous role player for the team.

He led the team with 24 steals and shot 46.3% from behind the arc. Vazquez is a gritty player who will do whatever it takes to win. He is expected to move into a full-time starting role at point guard for the Grizzlies.

Between these two players and the group of transfers joining the team with the ability to play immediately, the Grizzlies will project to be much better than .500 in 2021-22.

In college basketball, it means a lot to dominate your conference schedule. However, it’s also meaningful to win out of conference games to give yourself a better resume when the tournament is picked.

The only automatic way Montana would play in the NCAA tournament is by winning the Big Sky championship. This is possible with the team’s talent, but all wins are critical.

Their first test will be against Mississippi on November 13 in Starkville. According to DraftKings, Mississippi State is +25000 to win the NCAA Championship, and they are a back of the pack team in the SEC.

Although, this will be a challenge in a hostile road environment for Montana. They will then face Oregon in Eugene on November 29. The Ducks should be ranked relatively high in the Top 25 at this point of the season, and their gym is a difficult place to play.

This could be a statement game, but it will be challenging for Montana to compete. Oregon is +4000 to win the NCAA Tournament, and they project to be a team that could land in the Sweet 16 with ease.

After these games, the Grizzlies need to dominate their conference opponents. The big games get out of the way early, which is beneficial for the team.