Big Sky Showdown: Montana Grizzlies at Portland State Vikings

Montana Grizzlies AT Portland State Vikings
Feb 24, 2011 at 10:05 PM EST
Opening Line:  Montana -6
Current Line:  Montana -6
Opening Total:  134
Current Total:  135
Opening Moneyline:  Montana -260 / Port St +220
Current Moneyline:  Montana -260 / Port St +220

St. John's DePaul Big East Preview
Montana is favored by 6 tonight

Tonight’s game pits two Big Sky opponents against one another.  Montana is currently first in the Big Sky Conference with an 11-3 conference record and they are 19-8 overall.  Portland State is 4-9 in Conference play and ranks 7th overall in the Big Sky Conference.

Montana has an excellent record but has yet to face a single ranked team, so it’s tough to gauge how good they may or may not be.  They have lost to underwhelming teams, however, so they cannot be that good.  They have went 3-3 over their last 6 games with losses to Long Beach State, Northern Arizona, and Weber State, and victories over Idaho State, Northern Colorado, and Sacramento State.

Portland State has played poorly over their last 11 games, winning only 3 of them (Weber State, Sacramento State, and Loyola Marymount).  They last beat Loyola Marymount, in a high scoring game, an 84-75 victory.  Their 72.4 points per game rank them 87th in the nation in scoring, but they do give up more than that at 74.3, for a -1.9 differential.

Some betting trends:

Montana is 2-5 SU in their last 7 road games against Portland State.  The total has gone OVER In 4 of Montana’s last 5 games on the road against Portland State.

Portland State is 1-4 SU in their last 5 games and 12-4 SU In their last 16 home games.  Portland State is 1-4 SU In their last 5 games against Montana and the total has gone OVER In 6 of their last 7 games against Montana.  Portland State is 5-2 SU in their last 7 games against Montana and the total has gone OVER in 4 of Portland State’s last 5 home games against the Grizzlies.

Montana is led by the duo of Brian Qvale and Will Cherry.  Qvale, a 6’11” senior center, leads the team in scoring with 15.1 points per game.  He also leads the way in rebounding with 8.8 boards.  His long frame also enables him to block 3 shots a game.  He is a decent prospect for the NBA.
6’1″ sophomore point guard Will Cherry is second in scoring with 14.2 points per game and leads the Grizzlies in assists with 4.2 a game.  He is also an excellent defender, playing passing lanes well to average 2.6 steals per game.  He has had at least one steal in all but three Montana games, but two of the three games have been recent, both Montana wins, anyway.

Portland State receives strong contributions from all five starters, who nearly all average in double figures (Phillip Thomas is at 9.8 ppg).  They are led by Charles Odum a 6’0″ junior point guard, who averages 14.4 points per game, 2.6 assists, 3.5 rebounds, while shooting a blistering 43.1% from three (28 of 65).  Though a junior, this is the first season Odum has actually played so technically he is more of a “third year freshman.”  He has scored in double figures in all but 4 games, and of those 4 games, Portland State has lost 3 of them.  One of those games was against Weber State last week, when the Vikings lost by 22, and Odum shot only 7 field goal attempts.  If Portland State is to have any chance of hanging with Montana, they are going to have to make sure Odum gets some shots up.

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