Sitting at 2-2, the Dons are in the middle of a frustrating start to the 2013-2014 campaign. You have to look no further than their 309 RPI (liverpi.com) to figure out that the Dons are struggling. After starting 2-0 against a D-2 squad and a tough Cleveland State team, the Green & Gold have struggled both defensively and offensively during their last two match ups. Problems may start with an ineffective defense, but continue with a lack of post presence in the offense. Even though the Dons had the toughest lost in recent memory earlier this week (yes, that includes last years loss to SCU at home), hopefully coach Rex Walters can make improvements and get the Green & Gold back on track.
Rex Walters after Idaho State OT loss: “This is the most disappointing loss of my career. Without a doubt.”
— CollegeHoops Journal (@CHJournal) November 19, 2013
Tonight’s opponent is the Montana Grizzlies of the Big Sky Conference. The Griz have won the Big Sky Conference two years in a row and have advanced to the NCAA tournament. During that stretch, the Dons have played the Grizzlies in San Francisco’s War Memorial Gym and in Missoula, Montana. The Dons have won all of the meetings against Montana with a series lead of 5-0. This years Grizzlies squad is only expected to finish second, behind a strong Weber State team. Idaho State, winners over the Dons earlier this week, are predicted to finish last in the Big Sky.
The Grizzlies are led by junior Jordan Gregory, and starting seniors Kareem Jamar and Eric Hucthison. During a meeting between these two teams last year, starting senior Eric Hucthison missed the game with a sprained ankle. This time around, junior Jordan Gregory may miss the game due to a sprained ankle. Gregory left UM’s last game against South Dakota State with a sprained ankle. He will be a game time decision tonight.
Montana G Jordan Gregory is questionable Friday
— Fantasy 911 (@fantasy_911) November 22, 2013
Also last year, Cole Dickerson scored 19 points and pulled down 20 rebounds. So far this year, Cole has been heavily defended bringing down his scoring in the Dons offense. Don’t expect anything different with Montana coach Wayne Tinkle. He will try to take Dickerson out of the game plan similar to what Idaho State did with the Dons on Monday. In order to take control of the game, the Dons must utilize Mark Tollefsen as a post presence and get the ball inside.
Lastly, the Dons defense brought Idaho State to the line 35 times on Monday night. Matt Glover was again in foul trouble during the game but successfully avoided another technical foul to his 2013-2014 tally. The Dons only shot 12 free throws on Monday as the Bengals stayed relatively out of foul trouble. With recent rule changes in the NCAA, fans should expect more free throw attempts per game. It is difficult to believe that USF refuses to take advantage of the new rule changes going forward.
The Grizzlies are favored to win tonight, but San Francisco needs a win desperately. The Dons will travel to Eugene following tonight’s game. Currently, the Oregon Ducks are ranked 17th in the nation. If the Dons steal a win in Missoula tonight, the Green & Gold could have an improved mindset going into a tough Pac-12 match up.
One for the Road
The Dons lost to the Wolf Pack and Bengals to a combined five points. Here are some highlights from those two loses.