Montana vs Michigan Preview and Prediction
Montana vs Michigan Preview
You wouldn’t think this No.3 vs No.14 matchup between Michigan and Montana would deliver a possible upset, but that’s exactly what could happen.
Michigan enters the NCAA tournament as one of the country’s hottest teams after capturing its second straight Big Ten Tournament title last week in New York. The Wolverines are tied for the second-most wins in a season by a John Beilein-coached Michigan team.
This Montana team is no joke however. This is the first NCAA Tournament trip for the Grizzlies since 2013, but they are lethal. The Grizzlies are led by former four-star recruit and Oregon transfer Ahmaad Rorie. Montana comes in just as hot as Michigan, riding a six-game winning streak and have only lost twice since Dec. 22.
Michigan’s balanced attack
The Wolverines don’t have that go-to-guy that can consistently deliver in the clutch, but they play as a team and can come at you from a multitude of ways. Nine players average at least 11 minutes per game, showing how deep their bench is.
Junior forward Moritz Wagner leads the Wolverines in scoring (14.5 PPG) and rebounding (7.1 RPG) but he plays less than 27 minutes per game.
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman is second on the team in scoring with 12.6 points per game and had a fantastic Big Ten conference tourney averaging 17 points and 5 rebounds during the Wolverines run to the title.
Montana’s three-headed monster
If Montana wants to upset Michigan, they will need all three of their best players to play lights out.
Ahmaad Rorie: 17.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.7 APG
Michael Oguine: 15.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.9 APG
Jamar Akoh: 13.1 PPG. 6.7 RPG, 1.1 APG
All three are juniors and experienced ball players. Rorie is the best of the bunch–as a former four-star recruit he has the pedigree of a Big Ten player, something you don’t see on a Montana team often.
This stat will be key to a Montana upset. The Grizzlies are the better rebounding team, averaging a tad over 37 rebounds per game (89th in the country), where Michigan ranks 286th in the country with 33 rebounds per night. If the Grizz can win the rebounding battle, they will limit Michigan’s second chance opportunities and have an opportunity to pull out the massive win.
LINE: -11 Michigan
Being a diehard college basketball fan, I have had the opportunity to watch Montana multiple times this season and let me tell you they are just as good as their 26-7 record indicates. Ahmaad Rorie will be the best player on the floor between both teams and if he plays up to his potential he can take over this ball game.
A lot of people are jumping on the Wolverines bandwagon due to their run through the Big Ten conference tournament, but this team lacks a true playmaker who can take over the game if his team needs him.
If you are betting this game, take the eleven points and put your money on Montana.
Montana 81 Michigan 77