Montana at Weber State Men’s Basketball Preview

Montana at Weber State Men’s Basketball Preview

by Zachary Knecht

Featured Image: Photo by Weber State Athletics

Montana Weber State Preview

The Weber State Wildcats host the Montana Grizzlies Thursday night in a dogfight between two of the conference’s winning teams. The ‘Cats come in hot after a signature victory over Montana State, but the Grizzlies hope to keep the momentum going on a four-game winning streak.

The Wildcats (13-12) have been nothing short of impressive in conference play (8-4), and the Grizzlies (13-12) are trailing right behind in the Big Sky (7-6).

Game Lines

WEB: -1.5 (-125)

Over/under: 128.5

Previous Matchup

The January 12 matchup showcased one of the most thrilling games of Weber State’s season, taking down the Grizzlies on the road 59-57. The contest was as back-and-forth as it gets, coming down to a Dyson Koehler steal and a clutch Steven Verplancken Jr. three to send Montana off their home court with an L.

Outside of the late-game heroics, Dillon Jones was worth his weight in gold throughout his 40 minutes on the floor. His 17 points led the Wildcats, and his 21 rebounds were vital in their effort in Montana. The star forward was lethal from three, hitting five of his seven shots from range to propel his team to victory.

The Grizzlies had a few players surpass the double-digit mark for points, but Aaenen Moody was the most effective with 17. He shot five of 11 from the field and three of seven from deep, adding four free throws to his night.

Who to Watch

For the Wildcats, be on the lookout for Verplancken Jr. and Koehler. The duo was the hero in their last battle in Montana, and they have been effective lately in previous endeavors. Much of this offense goes through Verplancken Jr., the second-highest-scoring option for the ‘Cats. The ball ends up in his hands, and this team trusts him to make big shots. The star guard found his groove against Montana State, converting on seven of nine attempts, and he aims to keep that going against the Grizzlies.

Koehler seems to always perform in games the ‘Cats need him most. Since his clutch steals against the Grizzlies, he has become more effective on both ends of the court, especially in crucial contests. The sophomore forward still has a lot to prove but hopes to elevate his team in the Big Sky.

For the Grizzlies, watch for a repeat performance by Moody and Josh Bannan to step his game up. Moody has been the leading scorer for Montana (15.3 PPG) in conference play, but Bannan has the edge in the overall season (15.2 PPG). Bannan had a solid outing against the ‘Cats with 12 points in January, but he will need to up his game to leave the Dee Events Center with the win.

Home Improvement

These teams are about as even as they get. The Grizzlies sport a slightly better offense (68.4 PPG) than Weber State (66.6), with defenses nearly deadlocked statistically (67.6 PPG MONT, 67.8 WEB). They’ve been similar teams with similar seasons, but a better shooting performance from Weber State should put this game to bed. The ‘Cats struggled from the field last time against the Grizzlies (39.2%) but have gotten the hot hand at home after Thursday night’s contest, so finding their rhythm early will give them the edge.

Game Time

The Wildcats will await the Grizzlies on Saturday at 7 pm MST at the Dee Events Center.


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