Grizzlies Favored to Win PAC-10

16 12 2010

Senior Brian Qvale scored a new career high against the Beavers with 27 points

December 16, 2010

Well okay… maybe that headline is getting a little carried away… but after going 2-0 against PAC-10 teams this season it certainly isn’t an unwarranted question (putting as at 3-1 against PAC-10 foes in the past two seasons). The UM mens basketball team took care of business at home last night against Oregon State 71-66 four a sixth win in our past eight games.

This win comes less than two weeks after Montana’s convincing 66-57 victory over UCLA in Pauley Pavillion.  To be honest, I’m not surprised at all by this early season successes.  When the Griz are playing well I don’t see many teams we can’t contend with.

Big man Brian Qvale is averaging over 15 points and 8 boards a game and is everything a coach can ask for as a defender and a leader.  Qvale is also posting an impressive 3.6 blocks per game (as he approaches the all-time conference and team records for career blocks).  Off the court he’s a great guy whom I had an opportunity to do a profile on earlier this month.  Qvale locks down the post-game and is probably the most valuable big man in the entire conference.

Meanwhile our point guard play out of sophomore Will Cherry hasn’t been too shabby either.  He only leads the nation in steals with 4.2 per game and leads the team in scoring with 16 ppg.  And he is a ridiculously good defender! I already gave you the steal numbers but he’s more than that.  In our zone defense he’s all over every opponent on the perimeter.  Last night against the Beavers he seemed to get a piece of a pass nearly every other time down the floor, and yet his crazy quickness comes with an equally impressive level of self control; he’s only averaging two personal fouls a game.  The only possible thing the team can ask for more of from Cherry would be his numbers at the charity stripe as he’s making just 62% of his free throws through the first ten games of the season.

The team as a whole is just a few free throws from posting an 8-2 record early on (close calls to Portland and San Francisco have us sitting at 6-4) and we’re still two weeks out from opening up conference play.  Keep your eyes on the Grizzlies… and a possible 2nd straight NCAA tournament appearance.

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