5 Things to Know About: Montana

Get to know the Grizzlies, as they match up with the Orange in Syracuse's first contest in this year's national tournament, inside.

The Syracuse Orange went into their final Big East Conference Tournament losing four of their last five games.

They came out as the tournament runner-up, winning three games straight, avenging regular season losses to the Pittsburgh Panthers and Georgetown Hoyas, before their loss to the Louisville Cardinals.

Earning a 4-seed in the NCAA Tournament, they have been placed opposite the 13-seeded Grizzlies out of the University of Montana.

Here is what you need to know about the Montana Grizzlies:

1. Top performer: Kareem Jamar

Montana's junior guard/forward enters this contest averaging 14.5 points, six rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game, all team-leading numbers.

He makes half of the attempts he takes, proving more effective when inside the arc.

Close behind Jamar is senior guard Will Cherry, who is second on the Montana squad with 13.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. He is tied with Jamar in assists per game, also with 4.1.

With both being on the floor for more than 32 minutes of the 40 allotted minutes, Syracuse must figure out how to contain them.

2. The absence of Mathias Ward:

This senior forward was the Grizzlies' top scorer, with 14.8 points per game, before going out for the season with a foot injury.

But despite the loss of their former leading scorer, Montana has responded well to adversity. They are 6-1 in the seven games they have played without Ward. Their only loss came in overtime, a 93-87 defeat at the hands of the Davidson Wildcats.

3. From beyond the arc:

When playing Syracuse's 2-3 zone in the NCAA Tournament, teams who have not faced the Orange have leaned to their three-point shooting to keep them in the fight.

The Grizzlies have four players who make at least 40% of the attempts they have taken this season from long range. Sophomore forward Mike Weisner leads the squad, making 46.4%. Fellow sophomores, guard Jordan Gregory and guard/forward Kevin Henderson have dropped 44% of their attempts through the net, and junior forward Spencer Coleman has made a little more than 40%.

Jamar, however, has taken the most attempts from distance as the only Grizzlies' player to surpass 100 tries (102). He has connected on 36.3% of those tries.

4. On the glass:

Montana is ranked 309th in the country among the 349 NCAA Division I men's basketball teams in rebounds per game, average a little over 31.

Syracuse enters the match grabbing 39 boards per contest. The Orange must condense second-chance opportunities by the Grizzlies on the defensive end and take advantage at the rim on the offensive end to prevent the Grizzlies from gaining any momentum.

5. At the charity stripe:

The Orange have gotten in trouble before with team fouls, placing their opponents on the line. Putting the Louisville Cardinals at the free throw line in the second half of the Big East Conference Tournament helped to dwindle down their lead in an eventual loss just a game ago.

If they do foul, Syracuse would benefit from staying away from Weisner and Gregory. Weisner comes into this match making 90% of his attempts at the line, Gregory 88.9. Outside of them, Montana has five other players who make at least 70% of their attempts from the charity stripe.

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