I have never been to the state of Montana. Recently, a friend of my wife began dating a guy from Montana. He used to play football at the university of Montana. We’ve bonded over some time. We bonded because he was trying to tell me that the Big Sky was an underrated conference, and I was able to argue and make points that the Summit League was better and more underrated.
Either way, he hates Montana State. When I described all that is lovely about North Dakota hockey fans, he stopped me, and told me that it sounded exactly like Montana State fans.
I am not sure if he was just bullshitting that is true or not, but I have presented all of this to you to make a funny that I am really excited about the potential of putting my place up on Air B&B for North Dakota, and now Montana State fans. My place is next to two doughnut shops, a liquor store, a strip club, a classy establishment called Arby’s, and is 10 minutes away from Baxter Arena. I’m living on a gold mine! They’re going to want my place for $1500 a night!
The Mavericks have another return game. The Bobcats will be coming to Omaha in the middle of a Summit League sandwich as they travel to Vermillion first to take on the Coyotes, and then for some reason meet back up with the Coyotes 8 days later in Bozeman.
I find myself wondering what would have happened had Devin Patterson not hit a three point shot with time expiring, and Omaha had not won in Bozeman last season.
Omaha was 2-4 against division one opponents on the year heading into Bozemen. The Mavericks had an eight point lead with under three minutes remaining, and let the Bobcats claw their way back to tie the game with just a few seconds left. This was a situation that was familiar to the Mavs as they had blown some leads like this before.
Gary Sharp made a point, as he was making the call, that there were so many games and situations in the past exactly like that moment that had not gone the Mavericks way.
Maybe had the Mavericks lost that game in overtime, they would have lost some swagger and confidence in themselves. Maybe they would have gone on to lose at Grand Canyon, and maybe end up not having the fight they had in other games when they found themselves blowing a big lead, or needing to fight back from a large deficit. I don’t know. History happened as it did.
Either way, Patterson had 38 points, hit the game winning shot, and the Mavericks ended up moving on to a winning season and the Bobcats ended their season at 14-16.
Sounds like a recipe for the Bobcats to be out for some revenge.
The Bobcats are still coached by former Creighton assistant Brian Fish. Fish is working to improve Montana State, and as you would expect from a former assistant of Dana Altman, he likes his team to get out and run and put up shots. This will be a high scoring game, and should be fun to watch if you do not like defense. Omaha and Montana State were both in the top 30 in field goals attempted per game last season.
The Mavericks are without Patterson. That is obvious. The Bobcats also lost a key point guard from last year. Marcus Colbert was a senior that averaged 17 points and 5 assists a game. He had 35 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists to help the Bobcats keep that game against Omaha close. The Mavericks have Marcus Tyus to help replace Patterson’s scoring, the Bobcats are still in the middle of figuring out who will take over the scoring.
The Bobcats return five contributors from last season. They will also have a couple guys sitting out due to to transfer rules, which can be a bad thing for a team’s depth, but thems the rules.
With only 5 players coming back that were contributors from last season, it is difficult to know what the Bobcats can be this season. They were picked 7th in the Big Sky preseason poll, which is probably fair. Their roster is made up of mostly former junior college players that appear to be hit or miss. Fish recruited some guys to Creighton that were just right for their system, and one should expect he has done and will do the same at Montana State.
One returning player that could be one of the best opposing players to come to Baxter Arena this season is sophomore Tyler Hall. Hall held a scholarship offer from the Mavericks if you want to spend the next month wondering why someone would intentially pick living in Bozeman over Omaha. He averaged 18.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as he went on to be named the Big Sky Freshman of the Year, and was named to 2nd Team all conference.
Another player that could be good and have a breakout season for the Bobcats is sophomore forward Sam Neumann. Neumann is a native of Minnesota and picked the Bobcats over South Dakota State. He did not get much playing time last season, but Neumann had 11 points and 5 rebounds in the Bobcats’ lone exhibition game.
It is just a little difficult to gauge how good his players can be when their SID puts together descriptions of their players like this:
Copy and pasted from msubobcats.com
Montana State: (2016) An athletic wing with a diverse skill set.
Montana State: (2016) Begins his freshman season in contention for starting honors at a wing spot.
Montana State: (2017) Entes the fall in competition for starting honors on a wing.
Montana State: (2016) Enters the 2015-16 season competing for playing time on a wing… known for his offensive ability and shooting skill.
You might get pretty pumped up for the Mavericks season if the Omaha SID just wrote in for KJ Robinson: ” He’s shorter than the other guys so assume he’s fast.”
With the lack of depth for the Bobcats, and the fact that they are playing two other games this week, I would like to think the Mavericks have the advantage in this game. It will be a much needed win considering how difficult the rest of the schedule is for the Mavericks.
There may be some Creighton fans that actually make it to Baxter Arena just to see Brian Fish, but probably not many. Actually, probably not any. There may be a fair amount that actually read the game recap in the Omaha World Herald.