Nov 18, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Portland Pilots forward Ryan Nicholas (32) and Michigan State Spartans center Adreian Payne (5) battle for position during the second half at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Michigan State won 82-67. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Pilots vs. Montana State Bobcats Preview

Portland Pilots (6-3) vs. Montana State Bobcats (3-5)

Tip-off: 2:00 p.m.

Arena: Chiles Center

Live Video: 
Radio: 910 AM

For a program that is trying to establish themselves as a quality program, winning games that you are supposed to win is a must. Portland failed to do that last season when they went to Bozeman and were trampled 83-64 by the Bobcats of Montana State. They will try to avoid that fate today at the Chiles Center when they host Montana State.

The Opponent

Montana State is lead by Marcus Colbert and Paul Egwuonwu who each average 10.3 points per game. They have only 3 wins on the season beating Central Michigan, Cal State Northridge, and most recently Walla Walla.

Keys for Portland

Portland comes into this game playing some pretty good basketball, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The Pilots are currently in the top 50 in three offensive statistics (43rd in Points per game, 47th in rebounds per game, and 24th in assists per game). More importantly the Pilots are only turning the ball over 11.22 times per game, which is tied for 65th best in the country. Combine a couple of those stats and the Pilots have the 24th best assist to turnover margin. Again if the Pilots can maintain that level of team basketball they should continue to see success.  One area where Portland can be exploited is from the three point line, so look for the Bobcats to be taking a few more threes than they normally do.

X Factor

Thomas van der Mars vs. Consistency.

The junior Center has strung together some fantastic games over the past few weeks including a 19 point, 18 rebound game against Portland State. When van der Mars is playing this well, it makes everyone’s job easier for Portland. If van der Mars can continue to produce at such a high level, Portland should continue their nice little winning streak

Quick shots

Now that finals are over, it will be interesting to see how Portland comes out. Look for the first 5 minutes to really set the tone for the Pilots.

I mentioned before the Pilots have struggled defending the 3, if they continue to allow teams to shoot open shots, they will get killed during WCC play.

I’m hoping the freshman Aitor Zubizeretta gets a little more run. In his limited minutes thus far in the season, its easy to see his flair he plays with. Just a fun player to watch.

Tags: Basketball College Basketball Portland Portland Pilots WCC West Coast Conference

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