West Region: Montana vs Michigan Prediction
Montana vs Michigan Preview
Michigan began its run to last year’s NCAA title game by beating Montana.
“I’m shocked a little bit that they would match the same two teams,” Montana coach Travis DeCuire told reporters. “Typically, they’d change it. But it is what it is. I think there’s a lot for us to look forward to. Our guys will be excited for the rematch.”
As a fan of mid-major basketball (those who follow the site know my love of the lesser conference programs) I thought Montana was no less than a 13-seed, but obviously I am not on the selection committee.
The Grizzlies feature players that could be starring at other Power Five conferences–like Ahmaad Rorie who transferred to Montana from Oregon.
Michigan was a No. 3 seed last year but is on the No. 2 line this season despite losing 65-60 to Michigan State on Sunday in the Big Ten tournament final.
Matthews, a senior, took the seeding as a compliment.
“It’s always big to be a two seed,” Matthews told reporters. “We didn’t finish like we wanted, but we still had a pretty good season. This loss hurt, but we’ve got to forget about it now, make a long run in the tournament and try to be national champions.”
Wolverines coach John Beilein is more worried about the opponent than the seeding. He hasn’t forgotten that game-opening run by the Grizzlies.
“It’s Montana again,” Beilein told reporters. “They have got a terrific program to go and win all these games, win the (Big Sky) championship. Anybody that’s playing in the conferences that they play in, and you win a championship, you’re playing usually more road games than home, overall. You’ve got to be a heck of a team, and they were last year.”
The Grizzlies have won 52 games over the past two seasons — the best run in program history — and are part of the NCAA field for the fifth time since 2009-10.
Rorie leads the team with 15.1 points per game, but the rest of the starting unit is legit. Junior guard Sayeed Pridgett (15.0 points) and senior guard Michael Oguine (13.2 points) form a productive trio for the Grizzlies. Oguine might be the most talented player on the Grizz.
LINE: -15.5 Michigan
Dan’s Bet: +15.5 Montana
Bracket Pick: Michigan
Score Prediction: Michigan 70 Montana 64