Bobcat Basketball downright defensive
by Danny Waldo
The sample size is small, but the results have been impressive nonetheless.
New head basketball coach Danny Sprinkle’s off-season focus was on taking care of things on the defensive end of the court, and his players appear to be buying in. Through six games, the Bobcats are holding teams to just under 62 points per game, including giving up just 39 points to Tennessee Tech in the Spartan Invitational in Greensboro, North Carolina, where the Bobcats went 4-0.
And while the Bobcat offense hasn’t exactly been lighting up scoreboards, either, they are a much more balanced group than ‘Cat fans have seen in the past. Tyler Hall and Harald Frey routinely carried the Bobcats’ offense over the past three seasons, but this year, five different players have led the ‘Cats in scoring, with scoring threats both in the post and on the perimeter.
The true test for MSU is yet to come, however, as South Dakota State has yet to enter the friendly confines of Brick Breeden Fieldhouse, and a difficult road trip to Fargo to face NDSU looms on the horizon. Both the Jackrabbits and Bison have been recent participants in the NCAA tournament, and are regularly ranked in the Mid-Major Top 25. If Montana State wants to find out where they stand among their peers below the power conferences, these two games will be a good measuring stick.
Sandwiched around the Dakota games are contests versus Green Bay and CSU Bakersfield before MSU takes a break for the holidays. When they return to action following the break, MSU will open conference play versus Sacramento State and Northern Arizona at home.
The Bobcats were picked to finish in the middle of the pack in Sprinkle’s first season, but preseason prognostications rarely are correct, and certainly cannot predict how well a team will come together under a new coaching regime. The Bobcats are showing that they can be better than what was expected, giving the hometown faithful hope that Sprinkle can return the Blue and Gold back to the success of his good ol’ days.
For a complete schedule of all Montana State men’s basketball games, log onto www.msubobcats.com. •