| March 24, 2018

Column: Climbing the ladder

February 14, 2018

Riding high off of a four-game win streak, the Idaho men’s basketball team is ready to take on the Big Sky leading Montana Grizzlies.

Idaho, winners of seven of their last eight games, have a tough task of taking down the Montana Grizzlies who have not experienced a Big Sky loss yet this season, but are ready to come out and pull of a huge win.

Saying this is Idaho’s biggest game of the season is an understatement, and with having so much on the line the Vandals have to play nearly perfect basketball Saturday. Idaho will take down Montana, with some serious help from senior guard Victor Sanders and senior forward Brayon Blake.

Montana has probably the top offensive assault in the Big Sky, but Idaho’s offense is no joke either and getting points in a hurry is a must for the Vandals. Senior point guard Perrion Callandret will find a way to penetrate the basket and find open lanes to the rim. Idaho’s Big Three of Perrion, Sanders and Blake will be playing at its all time best for the Vandals to win, and in the biggest game of the season they will be ready.

As the weeks have passed, Cowan Spectrum has been filling up more and more every game and is slowly becoming what may be the best home court advantage in the Big Sky, luckily for the Vandals.

Any fan in attendance of the annual Battle of the Palouse can vouch for that. Idaho played a nearly perfect game in its take-down of Washington State, a game that relied heavily on strong defensive play and shooting the lights out from beyond the 3-point boundary.

Idaho’s win over the current Big Sky leaders will take the efforts and gumption showed in the team’s big win over its Palouse neighbors. I expect Idaho to win this game by playing fast-paced and moving up and down the court in a hurry like they did against WSU.

Big play by the bench and cutting down turnovers will be the ultimate key to winning this game. If Idaho can cut down its number of turnovers in the game, there will be less opportunities for the Montana offense to build off of.

Idaho will win the rebounding battle Saturday and put the icing on the cake for the Vandals. Keeping Montana off the glass will allow Idaho to play their style of basketball and hand Montana its first Big Sky loss of the season.

The Vandals have a chance to do something this year that hasn’t been done in a long time – win the Big Sky conference and clench a spot in the NCAA tournament.

Idaho’s current roster is the best the program has offered in quite some time and it is time to get a much-needed resume booster over Montana on the road to finally going dancing into the post-season.

Chris Deremer can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu or on twitter @Cderemer_VN

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