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A blog about sports in Montana, with an emphasis on Flathead Valley High Schools.
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Around the Big Sky: Grizzlies Chasing History
Montana could break the Big Sky all-time record for consecutive regular-season conference games
A recap of recent men's basketball news in the Big Sky Conference from Assistant Commissioner Jon Kasper:

Wayne Tinkle’s Montana Grizzlies improved to 12-0 in conference with road wins over Portland State and Eastern Washington last weekend. The Grizzlies’ have the second-longest active win streak in the nation behind Akron, which has won 13 straight games.

Montana is ranked 14th in this week’s CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll. The Grizzlies earned 333 votes. Weber State received 23 votes. The Griz are currently riding a host of streaks and could break the Big Sky all-time record for consecutive regular-season conference wins this week. Montana enters Thursday’s game against Northern Colorado, which will be televised live on Altitude Sports & Entertainment, having won 23 in a row. The record of 24 is held by Weber State and was accomplished in 1967-68 and 1969-70. If Montana beats Northern Colorado, the Griz will try to break the record on Saturday at home against UND. UM won a school-record 14 in a row last season, and can match that with two wins this week.

Here's a list of UM's recent streaks and milestones:

— 12-0 conference record. UM is one of 13 schools at the Division I level without a conference loss. No team has won more conference games without a loss than Montana. Belmont (10-0) of the Ohio Valley and Louisiana Tech (10-0) of the WAC are the only other teams with at least 10 conference wins and no league losses. Miami, Fla., Florida, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Harvard, Princeton, Akron, Norfolk State, North Carolina Central, and Gonzaga are also perfect in league play.

— Montana has won 11 consecutive road conference games, dating back to a 80-64 loss at Weber State on Jan. 14, 2012. The conference record is 13 set by Weber State from 1967-68 till 1969-70.

— UM has won 23 straight regular-season conference games dating back to the Weber State loss. Including wins over EWU and WSU at the Big Sky Championship in 2012, UM has won 25 in a row over Big Sky teams. Weber State holds the record for most consecutive regular-season conference wins with 24.

— The Grizzlies have won 22 straight regular-season home conference games dating back to a 73-67 loss to Montana State on Feb. 27, 2010. Idaho holds the Big Sky record with 23 consecutive regular-season home conference wins from 1980-81 to 1982-83. UM can tie and break that record with two wins this week. Including three postseason home wins, Montana has won 25 in row over Big Sky teams at Dahlberg Arena.

— Montana is also in position to become the first team to clinch a spot in the postseason tournament. The Grizzlies will clinch with one more win.

Ten Again For Weber: The Weber State Wildcats won their 10th conference game on Saturday, marking the seventh straight season WSU has reached the 10-win plateau in conference. It marks the first time in league history that feat has been accomplished. WSU reached the mark six straight seasons from 1967-68 through 1972-73. Idaho did it from 1987-88 through 1992-93. Under Randy Rahe, Weber State has won 84 conference games during the run. WSU plays six of its final eight conference games at home. Under Rahe, WSU is 48-4 in regular-season conference home games and has won 12 straight. UM has won at least 10 league games in each of the past five seasons.

RPI Report: Montana continues to lead the Big Sky teams in the RPI. UM improved seven spots this week to 118. Weber State improved nien spots to 136. NAU is third at 248, and Sacramento State is fourth at 260. The Big Sky jumped up one spot among Division I conferences to 28th.

Games Added To Altitude: Two games have been added to the Altitude Sports & Entertainment lineup. Montana will take on Northern Colorado on Thursday from Missoula at 7 p.m. On March 7, the Northern Arizona-Montana State game from Bozeman will air at 8 p.m. Lyon Production will produce both games.

Tip-Ins: UM’s Will Cherry enters the week with 246 steals. He needs one more to tie NAU’s Tom DeBerry for third place on the Big Sky’s all-time list ... UND’s Troy Huff recorded his third double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Idaho State ... EWU freshman Venky Jois scored eight points with 14 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks in a 72-68 win over MSU. He missed the UM game on Saturday with an ankle injury ... UM and WSU have combined for 12 conference road wins. The other nine teams have combined for nine ... PSU has lost six in a row for the first time since 2006 ... Northern Colorado’s Tate Unruh saw his streak of games made with a 3-pointer halted at 27. Unruh made a 3-pointer in the first 19 games this season and the final eight of last. He went 0-for-3 against Weber Staet on Saturday ... NAU’s Stallon Saldivar had a career-high 12 rebounds in a loss to Southern Utah ... WSU’s Scott Bamforth made his 200th career 3-pointer on Saturday, becoming the 15th player in league history to reach the mark. Bamforth ranks 14th on the all-time list, one ahead of NAU senior Gabe Rogers ... Bamforth’s current career free-throw percentage of .880 ranks third in Big Sky history.
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