Cat-Griz Hoops

‘Cats, Griz both have surged since first rivalry matchup of 2020

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Danny Sprinkle sat in front of the press following rivalry games plenty of times during his time as a standout player at Montana State in the last 1990s.

On the first day of February 2020, Sprinkle sat in front of a dozen reporters for the first time as the head coach at his alma mater following a Cat-Griz game. This showdown happened to be the 300th in the rivalry’s rich history, the Grizzlies happened to shoot the lights out and the rivalry continued to be lopsided in UM’s favor following Montana’s 78-64 win over Montana State in Missoula three weeks ago.

The Bobcats have played with renewed vigor, particularly defensively, during a 14-11 start to the Sprinkle era. Montana State has won five of its last eight games to sit in fourth place alone with six games to play in the regular season. MSU is 8-6 in Big Sky Conference play. Montana State’s last three losses have come at the hands of Eastern Washington (twice) and against the two-time defending Big Sky champions in Missoula.

The Bobcats’ loss at Dahlberg Arena was the 18th time in their last 19 outings against the Griz. Montana has been to five NCAA Tournaments over the last 10 years. UM has been to the Big Dance nine times since the last time Montana State advance to March Madness during Sprinkle’s freshman season in 1996.

Following his first rivalry loss as a coach, Sprinkle had a chance to observe first-hand the gap between his team and the league’s premier program. He has tried to channel what he learned to spark his team with the league tournament quickly approaching.

Danny Sprinkle sat in front of the press following rivalry games plenty of times during his time as a standout player at Montana State in the last 1990s.

On the first day of February 2020, Sprinkle sat in front of a dozen reporters for the first time as the head coach at his alma mater following a Cat-Griz game. This showdown happened to be the 300th in the rivalry’s rich history, the Grizzlies happened to shoot the lights out and the rivalry continued to be lopsided in UM’s favor following Montana’s 78-64 win over Montana State in Missoula three weeks ago.

The Bobcats have played with renewed vigor, particularly defensively, during a 14-11 start to the Sprinkle era. Montana State has won five of its last eight games to sit in fourth place alone with six games to play in the regular season. MSU is 8-6 in Big Sky Conference play. Montana State’s last three losses have come at the hands of Eastern Washington (twice) and against the two-time defending Big Sky champions in Missoula.

The Bobcats' loss at Dahlberg Arena was the 18th time in their last 19 outings against the Griz. Montana has been to five NCAA Tournaments over the last 10 years. UM has been to the Big Dance nine times since the last time Montana State advance to March Madness during Sprinkle's freshman season in 1996.

Following his first rivalry loss as a coach, Sprinkle had a chance to observe first-hand the gap between his team and the league’s premier program. He has tried to channel what he learned to spark his team with the league tournament quickly approaching.

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Photos by Brooks Nuanez. All Rights Reserved.

About Colter Nuanez

Colter Nuanez is the co-founder and senior writer for Skyline Sports. After spending six years in the newspaper industry with stops at the Missoulian, the Ellensburg Daily Record and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the former Washington Newspaper Association Sportswriter of the Year and University of Montana Journalism School graduate ('09) has cultivated a deep passion for sports journalism during his 13-year career covering the Big Sky Conference. In August of 2014, Colter and brother Brooks merged their passions of writing and art to found Skyline Sports.

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