Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#633 North Dakota 132 vs.
#634 Montana -6.5
Friday, December 6, 2019 at 9:00pm EST
Written by Sean Jackson

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#633 North Dakota
#634 University of Montana
3-5
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North Dakota (4-5) is coming off an impressive performance in the Hilton Garden Inn FGCU Classic, where they strung together two second-half comebacks. On Friday, they'll travel to Montana to face a former conference foe.

The Grizzlies hold a significant edge over North Dakota on their home court. Montana has won 10 of the last 11 meetings in Missoula over the Fighting Hawks.

Friday's game takes place at the Dahlberg Arena with tip-off slated for 9 p.m. EST.

The Fighting Hawks are bouncing back

After a slow start to the season, North Dakota has won three of its last four games. A big reason for this concerns their developing offense, led by Filip Rebraca who makes almost 63% of his shots.

The Fighting Hawks do many things well including driving to the paint to force fouls. On the season, they're 11th nationally in free throw percentage, making 80% of their shots. And they're fantastic inside, where they hold a rebounding advantage of + 6.9.

On Friday, they face a Montana defense that holds opponents to 68 points per game. The Fighting Hawks have to use their size in the paint to gain extra possessions, which should be a favorable matchup in this contest.

Defensively, the key to North Dakota's success rests in limiting Sayeed Pridgett. He leads the Grizzlies in scoring with 18.8 points per game. Given Montana averages only 63 points, limiting his scoring production could take away a significant part of Montana's offense.

Montana needs to establish playmakers

The Grizzlies' stellar defense has kept them in games, but their offense's inability to score consistently has hampered their success. On Friday, there are several weaknesses North Dakota presents that Montana must take advantage of.

The first is on the perimeter. The Fighting Hawks allow opponents to make 37% of their three-point attempts. For their part, Montana isn't the best three-point shooting team, but they do have players like Derek Carter-Hollinger who's shown the ability to knock down shots outside. They need them to come up strong on Friday.

Defensively, the Grizzlies must apply pressure on the ball. North Dakota commits 16 turnovers a game, so if Montana can play intense defense consistently well, it could lead to easier scoring opportunities.

Best Bets for this Game

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The Fighting Hawks are playing better basketball entering this one. Their offense is starting to gel, they rely on a trio of players to supply double-digit scoring production, and their rebounding is stellar. All of these factors play to their advantage on Friday as Montana doesn't have a prolific offense to match North Dakota's. The Fighting Hawks earn their first win in Montana since 1964.

Prediction: North Dakota

Full-Game Total Pick

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North Dakota is 4-0 in the Over in their last four against teams with a losing record. Look for them to keep this streak going by pushing the pace of play. The Fighting Hawks will impose their will in the paint to create second-chance opportunities. And when they get to the foul line, they're one of the best shooting teams in the country. Because of this attack, Montana plays more up-tempo to try to keep pace, resulting in a higher-scoring game.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Sean Jackson

Sean Jackson is a freelance writer based out of Fort Myers. Prior to joining our team here at StatSalt and Winners & Whiner, Sean was a national college football columnist with the Score. We are very glad to have Sean as a part of our team as he is a solid and confident handicapper. Let Sean win for you.