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Red Raiders Start NCAA Tournament Against Big Sky Champion Montana State

Photo CC: Montana State Athletics

The Red Raiders’ regular season has come to an end. They ended the season on an overall record at 25-9 and a 12-6 record in the BIG 12 conference which is good for third place. The team earned themselves the third seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament and take on the 14th-Seeded Montana State Bobcats out of the Big Sky Conference.

The Bobcats finished their season 27-7 and ended their conference with a record of 16-4 and claimed the automatic bid by winning the Big Sky Conference championship. Some of their notable wins include Montana, Eastern Washington, and Southern Utah which finished right behind them in the conference.

The Bobcats are led by a guard and a forward who both lead the teams in all categories. Senior guard Xavier Bishop averages a team-high 13.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, a team-high 4.3 assists, and a team-high 0.9 steals per game. Bishop shoots the ball at 41.5 percent from the field, 76.7 percent from the free-throw line, and 34.4 percent from beyond the arc. Junior forward Jubrile Belo averages 13.0 points, a team-high 6.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and a team-high 1.8 blocks per game. For a big man, Belo can shoot the ball from all areas of the floor. He shoots the ball at 59.0 percent from the field, 72.1 percent from the free-throw line, and 50.0 percent from three. He has only attempted 6 threes this entire season so making three is not a huge threat.

Things that will help the Red Raiders in this game will be our suffocating defense. The Red Raiders have played BIg 12 teams and their defenses for the past couple of months, so having that experience versus those quality teams will help the team. Also, the Bobcats average 12.8 turnovers in the Big Sky conference so capitalizing on all those turnovers will only help the team win and get to the next round.

Photo CC: Nexstar/ Jason Davis

The game is slated to be on Friday (Mar. 18) with the time still to be determined. The winner of this matchup will move on to the round of 32 and face either Alabama or the winner of Notre Dame/ Rutgers. It’s time for Mark Adams and the team to make a run and show the nation what the Red Raiders are about. Wreck ’em!

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