Montana State Men’s Basketball returns to action after last season’s 14-16 record and 9-8 in conference. After losing point guard Marcus Colbert and forward Danny Robison to graduation, there are some big shoes to fill on the team. With many new players still figuring out their roles, preseason coaches polls put the Bobcats to finish sixth in the Big Sky Conference, while the media polls pegged them to finish in seventh place.
Last year, Tyler Hall led the Bobcats with 18.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. The 6-foot-4 guard from Rock Island, Illinois will be mixing positions at both point guard and guard this season.
After earning Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year honors, Hall was listed as a “Non-Power 5 Conference Guard to Watch” by TheHoopsColumn.com, and was called “a shifty guard off the dribble” and lauded for his “natural ability to lure defenders asleep and drive right past them.”
“Tyler had a special freshman season,” MSU Head Coach Brian Fish said, “but he understands that last year’s accomplishments have no bearing on success in the future. He worked hard over the summer, but to raise his game he’ll need to keep grinding.”
Joining Hall as returning starters are junior Zach Green and senior Quinton Everett. Green was last season’s second-leading scorer with 8.5 points per game, and the team’s leading rebounder with 5.2 per game. Everett averaged 7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.
If the Bobcats look to win conference they will have to beat the 2016 Big Sky Conference Champions, Weber State University. Weber State was picked to repeat as champs, ranked number one in both the coaches and media poll.
Weber only lost one starter from last year’s squad, Joel Bolomboy, who is now playing for the Utah Jazz. WSU finished the 2015-16 season with a 26-9 record and a 15-3 mark in conference play.
The University of Idaho was ranked second in the coaches poll, and third in the media poll. Beating them out for second in the media was MSU rival University of Montana. While they were ranked by the media as the second best team in the conference, fellow Big Sky coaches ranked them at fourth.
MSU starts their season at home on Nov. 4 against Montana Western at 7 p.m. Their first conference matchup is Dec. 29 at home versus Weber State at 7 p.m. The last home game of the year is versus University of Montana on Feb. 25, 2017 at 7 p.m. The regular season ends with the Big Sky Conference Tournament on March 7, 2017.
This season looks to be a little different for the student section as well. There will be the new Simms “Fish Bowl” student section with selected “Captains” of the cheering section. These engaged student leaders and avid Bobcat fans will help generate enthusiasm both at games and on campus.
The “Captains” will be chosen through selection processes both online and at practices in late October. They will receive Bobcat apparel, early entry to games, recognition on the field at a Montana State football game and free season to basketball games tickets for the first year after their graduation.
With the revamped student section, fresh faces in a few starting positions and impressive returners from last season, things are looking good for the men’s basketball program. Hall looks to continue his success and build his resume, while the team as a whole looks to finally finish the season with a winning record.