Preview & Prediction: By Blake Hofstad
The Grizzlies of Montana make the trip down to Durham to play the Duke Blue Devils. While Montana is a good team, and has a shot to win the Big Sky, this is Duke. It's hard for anyone to come into Cameron and win, let alone Montana.
For the Grizzlies to have a shot, they will need to rely heavily on their perimeter defense, as Duke’s offense utilizes their tremendous shooting ability. The bulk of Montana’s scoring comes from three guys. Ryan Staudacher pours in 16 a game. Jordan Hasquet and Brian Qvale are the Grizzlies best rebounders, and between the two of them average around 24 points and 15 rebounds a game. Point guard Jack McGillis is a solid passer, giving out 5 assists a game. Unfortunately for Montana, they haven’t looked good early. Their record is 2-1, but that is deceiving. They got blown out by Colorado State, beat Montana Western by 7 and beat possibly the worst non-independent team in college basketball in Mississippi Valley State. If you lose by 30 to Colorado State, how bad will Duke beat you?
The Blue Devils boast one of the top teams in the country. They skated through the Coaches against Cancer tournament and their only real challenge was against Rhode Island, who had possibly the nation’s best shooter in Jimmy Baron on their side. The thing that makes Duke so tough is that they can put 5 guys on the court that can shoot, and make, the three. Jon Scheyer has played very well; his dribble penetration has set up some great looks for both himself and his teammates. Gerald Henderson does everything for this team. He and Kyle Singler are two very versatile players. Nolan Smith has played well enough in the starting role. Even Brian Zoubek has played key roles in Duke’s victories, being the one true big guy on their roster.
Poor Montana. This is not a good morale booster so early in the season.
Winner: Duke Margin: 20+
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About Blake Hofstad
An avid sports fan, you can nearly always find Blake Hofstad playing, watching, writing or just talking sports. His favorite team is the Wisconsin Badgers, and he is a huge Big Ten and Missouri Valley fan. The two things he hates about college basketball are Duke and the love Duke gets from most media members. You can find more of Blake's work on Onlinesportsfanatic.com.