January 18, 2012

Bears' annual Montana trip starts with a Grizzly meeting

Game #17: at Montana Get Acrobat Reader

When: 7:05 p.m. (MT) Thursday, Jan. 19   
Where: Missoula, Mont. -- Dahlberg Arena (7,500)
Live stats: gogriz.com   
Radio: KFKA-AM 1310 (Troy Coverdale)   
TV: Web stream -- Big Sky TV (Mick Holien)
Coaches: UNC's B.J. Hill (27-21 overall; second season) takes on Montana's Wayne Tinkle (102-70; sixth season)
All-time series: Montana leads 11-6 in a series that started in Dec. 1970 (UM, 72-63). The Bears are just 1-6 all-time in Missoula

OPENING TIP

  • Northern Colorado will come into Thursday night's road game at Montana having played eight of its past 10 games at home in December and January.
  • The Bears are 1-0 on the road this season in Big Sky games, having defeated Sacramento State 61-53 earlier this month.
  • Starting Thursday, the Bears will play five of their next six on the road, including at Montana (Big Sky second place) and Weber State (first place).
  • Northern Colorado is 6-11 all-time against Montana and just 1-6 against the Grizzlies in Missoula. That one victory came two seasons ago, during the 2009-10 season that saw the Bears set a school record with 25 wins (25-8).
  • The Bears have been an exceptionally strong rebounding team over the last month or so. They have outrebounded their opponents in five of their last six games and 12 times in 16 games this season. In their last five games (3-2) Northern Colorado has won the rebounding battle by an nearly six rebounds per game (32.4 to 26.6).
  • It's not equating to a lot of wins, though. Northern Colorado is 5-7 when outrebouding opponents this season.
  • Tevin Svihovec earned his first career start against Johnson & Wales on Dec. 3, and the redshirt-freshman has been going gangbusters ever since. In his nine starts this season Svihovec has averaged 9.6 points per game on 46 percent shooting and 47 percent marksmanship from beyond the three-point stripe. He put in a career-high 16 points on Saturday night, Jan. 7, at Sacramento State.
  • It should come as little surprise, but it's still worth noting: when Northern Colorado has flexed its defensive muscle over the last two seasons (Hill's tenure as its head coach), it's usually won. The Bears are 5-1 this season and 18-4 in the last two years when allowing fewer than 70 points to their opponent.
  • On the flipside, if Northern Colorado allows its foe to get to 80 points or more, it's winless this season (0-5) and 1-8 under Hill.
  • With its 2-2 record so far this January, Northern Colorado is 27-40 in nine seasons of NCAA Division I January games.
  • Northern Colorado, coming off a home win vs. Eastern Washington, is 17-9 under Hill following a win, with a 1-4 mark in those situations this season.

NORTHERN COLORADO VS. MONTANA

  • Montana owns an 11-6 edge in the series that started in Dec. 1970 with a 72-63 Montana victory.
  • Northern Colorado entered Big Sky play with the Grizzlies with just one "real" victory in five tries. The Bears brought a 2-3 mark with them to their Big Sky rivalry with Montana, but one of thos "wins" came via forfeit on Dec. 17, 1976, in Missoula. The reason for the forfeit is not known.
  • The Bears are 4-8 against Montana in Big Sky games, including a 1-1 mark against it in Big Sky Conference Championship meetings.
  • Northern Colorado is 4-3 against Montana in the team's last seven meetings.
  • Bears coach B.J. Hill, in his second season as a head coach, is 2-1 against the Griz. He led Northern Colorado past Montana twice at home last season, knocking them off during the regular season and then again in the Big Sky Championship at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.
  • Of the current Northern Colorado players senior Mike Proctor has had the most career success against Montana. He has averaged 6.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in his six meetings with the Griz. He has knocked down 16-of-38 field-goal attempts (42.1 percent).
  • Redshirt-junior Elliott Lloyd has struggled against Montana. He has scored just eight points in four games in the series and has made just three shots from the field in 14 attempts (21.4 percent).