Facing a 2,500-mile journey across the country to face the 10th ranked team in the Mid Major poll without your leading scorer is challenging enough.
But to face the meat of the remaining league schedule with an additional pair of road games without senior post Mathias Ward to say the least would be a difficult proposition.
It’s wait and see for Ward who sustained an injury to his arch against Idaho State and undergoes medical tests this week to determine the injury’s severity and length of rehabilitation, Wayne Tinkle said during Tuesday’s radio show.
It’s a tough pill for Ward, who is the league’s fifth leading scorer and has played in 118 games for Montana, starting the last two seasons (55 games).
He will receive his second Master’s Degree this spring.
While he may have been sidelined at some time in his career, I don’t remember him missing much time and as tough and resilient as he is there little doubt in my mind he’ll do everything possible to be ready for the conclusion of league play next week.
While the injury comes at an important time with the Grizzlies heading to North Carolina, it only becomes crucial, maybe even critical, if Ward is lost for the Montana State-Southern Utah swing next week.
It is just another indication of how grueling a collegiate basketball schedule is and how tenuous is a team’s success.
While Will Cherry is scheduled to start his 100th game Saturday and stands just 25 steals off the league’s all-time steal record, he’s missed playing in more than games in his career including the first seven and the majority of the eighth this season.
Moving along, the Big Sky Conference remains a one-bid league and with the rating of the circuit I’m not convinced no matter what the overall record the league tournament champion – be it Montana or Weber State – can snare much better than a 14 and probably a 15 seed.
If another team happens to sweep the event, history says they certainly are a 16 seed.
News from Southern Utah reveals that junior wing Wade Collie has been suspended indefinitely after his arrest on drug charges.
The 6-foot, 6-inch junior faces a felony charge of possession with intent to distribute along with a misdemeanor charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the Ogden Standard-Examiner.
A part-time starter in league play who did not play last weekend because of an injury, Collie averages 7.4 points and four rebounds and scored 10 points in the Thunderbirds’ 73-67 loss in Missoula while playing 23 minutes.
Originally from Las Vegas, he played a year of JC ball at Wallace State in Alabama before transferring to the Cedar City campus last season.
The Grizzlies play Southern Utah March 4.