My scouting report on Montana after watching the title game against EWU this morning. Obvious extremely small sample size caveats apply. That said, they have some very capable offensive players. Michigans defense is certainly able to defend them and matches up pretty well but would not be shocked at all by Montana scoring and hanging in this game for the duration. Defensively, was not nearly as impressed with Montana. However, that could be a EWU specific game plan thing that made there overall approach look not great. They go comfortably seven deep but not much beyond their eighth man.
On offense Montana seemed to be a pretty static 3 out 2 in offense. Not a lot of pick n roll (if any). Mostly tried to play thru their posts or allow their guards to break down the defense one on one off reversals or ball hand offs. They ran some high low action against both the man to man defense and the zone that EWU used. Their bigs are capable of scoring down low but arent the overly athletic or gigantic guys that bother Michigan in one on one matchups. I would expect them to try and post their 4 man a decent amount against both livers and robinson.
Their guards are very good. And I imagine that is where Michigans focus will be on D. Both their starters (Rorie and Oguine) as well as their primary bench ball handler (Falls) are capable of breaking a man down and scoring. With Rorie being the best at making plays for others. Michigan is going to have to keep them out of the lane.
They do look to push the pace when the opportunity is there, but mostly they looked like an opportunistic running team rather than an all out tempo team. They will also crash the offensive boards a good amount.
Defensively, they were man to man the whole way I think. They hard hedged and trapped the pick n roll almost every time. EWU struggled with this a lot but also got a ton of wide open threes when they were able to pass out of the traps. This aggressive approach could have been game plan specific to EWU especially bc EWU is so reliant on their best player to score. So maybe they were just trying to take the ball out of his hands as much as possible rather than it being their base defense. But based on their turnover numbers for the year, I’m guessing it is a usual game script.
Michigan is going to have opportunities to attack the basket and shoot threes. The key will be taking care of the ball and not settling for the quick shots that will be there.
In terms of personnel:
Rorie is their pg. He is very much a derrick walton type of guard. Well built but not a crazy athlete. He has a very nice off the dribble pull up game but didnt show a whole lot in terms of getting to the rim. He is good passer and can find people for kick outs off penetration. It will be interesting to see who guards him. He might be able to shoot over Simpson and that seemed like his preferred scoring method. So maybe rahk could provide Michigan a better matchup.
Oguine starts at the two. He is much more of a down hill player than Rorie. He can get to the rim and finish. Didnt see a ton of shooting out of him but he is a 35% three point shooter. Not nearly as much of a playmaker for others as Rorie. Gotta contain his penetration and make him a passer.
Moorehead starts at the three. He is a low usage, spot up shooter. He is capable of attacking a close out but not a guy you worry about making a lot of plays.
Akoh starts at the four. He is a burly, traditional four man. Can score on the block and rebound. Could be a touch matchup for Michigan on defense, but he is gonna have a lot of trouble guarding any of Michigans four men. EWU got a lot of corner threes off him. I would expect Montana to try to post him quite a bit. Michigan might need to double some on him as he is effective when he has time to make his moves down low.
Krslovic starts at the five. He is a lower usage low post option. Moves his feet pretty well on D but Wagner should be able to shoot over him and finish at the rim.
Pridgett comes off the bench and is primarily a slashing type four man. He is a good athlete and can handle the ball a bit. Not a shooter but can score on offense in a variety ways at the rim. Could see more of him at the four as he is a better option for them defensively against Michigan.
Falls is their backup guard. He is a decent athlete with a good handle. Good shooter but doesnt look for his outside shot a lot. More similar to Oguine in terms of playing down hill but he is a better passer.
Overall, I like the matchup for Michigan on offense quite a bit. Open shots will be there from three especially if we see Montana with the aggressive, trapping approach on pick n rolls/pops. Michigan also should be able to get to rim and Montana does not have plus shot blockers. Defensively, must contain their guards. It will be a tough task especially if Rorie is able to get off pullup jumpers with ease. Their inside game doesnt scare me as much but Akoh could be an issue in certain one on one matchups. I would not be surprised if this game was close but like Michigans chances if they take care of the ball and dont settle for the first look from three.