Montana State (0-0) at Seattle (0-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 11, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: KeyArena (17,072) -- Seattle, Washington. Television: ROOT-NW. Home Record: Montana State 0-0, Seattle 0-0. Away Record: Montana State 0-0, Seattle 0-0. Neutral Record: Montana State 0-0, Seattle 0-0. Conference Record: Montana State 0-0, Seattle 0-0. Series Record: Seattle leads 28-9.
GAMES NOTES: It has been 33 years since Seattle University was a member of a Division I conference in basketball but that will come to an end on Sunday when the Redhawks host the Montana State Bobcats at KeyArena in the annual Elgin Baylor Classic.
In what was a less than stellar season in 2011-12, Montana State did not do itself any favors down the stretch. The Bobcats lost 9 of their final 10 games including eight straight at one point to finish off 12-17 overall. Montana State was somewhat competitive in league play (7-9) but a defense that gave up 72 points per game proved to be too much of a weakness. It was the fourth losing season in Brad Huse's six years as head coach.
The last time Seattle was in a conference was during the 1979-1980 season when the Redhawks were members of the West Coast Athletic Conference. The Redhawks enter this season as members of the Western Athletic Conference after spending two seasons as an Independent squad per NCAA reclassification procedures. As an Independent, Seattle had a combined 23-35 record over the last two seasons, including a 12-15 mark last season. Next on the docket for the Redhawks is a road trip to Charlottesville to duel with Virginia.
This is an all-time series that dates back to 1948. In that time the Redhawks and Bobcats have tangled 37 times on the court, with Seattle dominating those encounters with a 28-9 record against Montana State. However the teams have played only one game since 1972. Seattle won that contest to with a 72-70 defeat of the Bobcats in 2010.
There is a strong group returning for Huse although not as solid as once thought. Mohammed Fall (7.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg) was declared ineligible for his senior season and Shawn Reid (10.6 ppg) transferred. That leaves Xavier Blount (11.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg), Christian Moon (10.4 ppg) and Tre Johnson (8.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg) to pick up the pieces. Blount is the team's go-to scorer and most important holdover. A 6-4 senior guard, Blount was absent during the last five games of last season after being injured in an altercation off of school grounds. He should be back to form to start this season. Moon can also score effectively but went through stretches in which he struggled, failing to score in double figures in six straight games down the stretch. That included a rough 1-for-10 showing in a loss to Weber State. Jamie Stewart (9.1 ppg) lost eligibility but looked good in 12 games, something Huse hopes carries over this season.
It would have been nice to have come into this historic season with Aaron Broussard (18.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg) still on the roster, but Seattle will have to try to fit into the WAC without him. Sterling Carter (10.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg) becomes the de facto go-to player as the top returning scorer. Chad Rasmussen (5.2 ppg) played in 27 games last season and is one of five seniors on the roster. Without Broussard the team might not have as much success on offense but head coach Cameron Dollar will certainly still have his team playing at a torrent pace. Last season the Redhawks were the 24th best scoring team in the country (76.5 ppg) and the third best on the boards (41.5 pg). That type of offensive success didn't equate to more wins due to Seattle's inability to slow opposing teams on defense. Overall the Redhawks were lit up for an even 75 points per game.
Cameron Dollar runs his team hard on offense and the Redhawks should be able to find some success, especially feeding off of the home crowd. Montana State won't be a pushover though and with its balanced attack, with give Seattle all it can handle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montana State 71, Seattle 69
11/11 10:34:22 ET