NCAA Tournament: Michigan vs. Montana Discussion Thread


Montana hasn’t beaten an RPI top 100 team this year. Only 7-7 against teams with RPI 150 or better



I’m am Montana and huge Griz fan. I also recently moved to Ann Arbor and have become a Michigan fan. Really disappointed with the draw…

If anyone wants good information about the Griz, is the best but it is behind a paywall. Their writers have active twitter accounts (@kyle_sample and @skylinesportsmt). The main fan forum is The local newspaper is the missoulian and statewide coverage of Montana sports provided by 406sports.


From watching the Montana-EWU game on ESPN, it seems like UM should get a fair number of open looks as long as they don’t turn the ball over. Montana likes to hard-hedge/trap the ball on the PnR and get steals off the pass. EWU would up with a bunch of open looks from 3.

JB will have some counters. MAAR and Simpson should be ready to keep the dribble alive and make quick, smart passes. Simpson may be quick enough to dribble right around some of those traps. Maybe we’ll see some 1-4 PnRs with Duncan. He and Moe might have the ball in their hands in advantageous positions, have to take advantage and make the right play. There should be some opportunities to run as they like to crash the glass, maybe get some transition 3s. It’d be nice if Poole’s shot is back and we avoid one of those cold shooting nights.

On D, clean up the glass – guards better be ready to box out too – don’t put them on the line, and keep Moe and Jon out of foul trouble. They’ve got some good, physical players down low and on the perimeter, but if UM stays solid it should be fine. Montana doesn’t seem like an explosive offensive team.


Hey all - hope I’m not breaking any rules by doing this. I’m a KU fan in Kansas City and I have tickets to the Wichita games. If anyone is interested in going to the games in Wichita, I have tickets to your Thursday game available (KU is in Session 1). Not a broker, not looking to get rich, just trying to offer up some tickets to Michigan fans at a fair price. My wife is from Michigan and I have a good family friend who is an alum, so I definitely want to see you guys fill up Intrust Arena. Please note - these do NOT include Saturday’s game. You’ll have to find other tickets for those, but I imagine they’ll be very accessible when losing fans start dumping them Thursday.

Seats are Section 123, Row Y, seats 1-8. I have the tickets in hand and can either UPS them or just meet you Thursday before the game. Won’t collect any money until you receive the tickets in person (or get a shipping confirmation if you want UPS). Again, not trying to scam anyone or anything…just trying to help out fellow basketball fans.


We’ve talked about the late game, but one small positive note I don’t think got mentioned - no visiting teams will be there to root for the underdog.

One of the bigger factors in a lot of upsets is when other teams start to enter the arena and root against the favorite. That won’t be a problem being the late last game.

It should be a kinda dead arena to be honest.


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.


Great read!

1 game at a time. I believe we would have to shoot very poorly to lose this game. I don’t think Montana is good enough to beat us, but the long layoff has me more worried than others that we could be rusty and beat ourselves.


Random question, do they not ask the protected seeds in each pod their preference for what time they want to play? So in Wichita, Kansas would have first pick, Michigan second pick, etc. Why does Houston get the early game of the second session? Seems like an advantage, however small it may be. Are the game times determined solely by the TV networks?


Yes. TV selects who plays when. Definitely not the teams. The teams don’t choose anything.


Agree that it stinks to play the super late game on Thursday. Staff basically can’t review any film on the winner of the Houston-San Diego St. game that night because postgame obligations won’t end until 1am, earliest. Makes a short turnaround even shorter and who knows when our tip time will be on Saturday (should we win).


Usually one assistant will have the Montana scout and one each will have Houston/San Diego State. So a lot of that work will already be done.


Yeah, I believe that it was mentioned in an article at some point that Saddi and Deandre rotate scouts for teams and then Yaklich provides his own defensive scout. I would guess that the scout for Montana is already done or close to done and they’re already working on the next round.


I think Beilein also referred to a chance to live scout the game before their own. Not sure that an assistant coach would do that, sounds more like an analyst, grad assistant kind of job with Michigan preparing to take the court for their own game.

Perhaps the coaches would live scout the first half…


Yes. The two assistants that have the scout for each team will be there watching the game. All teams do this.

Pretty sure they still do a 3-man scout rotation, so Yaklich still does every 3rd game. But Yaklich also does his own defensive scout for every game I believe.


Assistant coaches do the scout. Support staff edit the film, cut clips together and organize them so it’s easy for coaches to do their scout. Source: my brother who is an Oakland team manager does this occassionally.


I know that this is what the roles are normally. I just didn’t know if there would be any changes to the responsibilities of a live scout of a tournament game that concludes, say, 20-30 minutes before your own game begins.


Yep. They will be courtside watching. I’m not sure there’s much else for them to even do at that point in terms of game prep.


I tried to watch the Montana-E.Washington game from the Big Sky finals. Could only make it 5 minutes into the 2nd half before I had to tap out. Michigan will be able to get any 3 point shot that they want, any time they want. That could be a blessing or a curse.

Montana really tried to take away EWU’s main scorer, so that might not be how they play defense normally. Montana closeouts were not good. EWU would have a ball handler at the top of the key, dribbling around. So many times in the first half they would just pass it to the wing, who would fire away.

I’m sure that Michigan will play things very straight if they can in their opening game, but if they ever wanted to try Moe at the 4 again, they could get away with it. Again, Michigan will be able to dial up open threes at will, but that should be especially true from the 4 position. This could be a “throwback” game for CM if he can channel that confidence with the ball from earlier in the season.

On offense, they plopped Krslovic in the middle of EWU’s zone a lot. He would either go to work in the paint or kick it out to the corners for Montana’s own open threes. If Michigan can guard their yard in their individual matchups and not pick up fouls, they should be fine.


@MJII23 Any recos on dining/drinking?