Syracuse faces off against Montana Thursday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament (9:57 p.m. truTV). Here’s what you need to know about the Grizzlies:
Location: Missoula, Montana
Coach: Wayne Tinkle, or “Tinks,” is in his seventh season with a 141-77 record at his alma mater.
How’d they get here: Simply put, they are the powerhouse of the Big Sky Conference, compiling a 19-1 record and winning the conference tournament. The Griz are dancing for the third time in four years.
Who to watch: The experienced backcourt of Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar set the tone. Cherry, a senior, led the Grizzlies in scoring at 14.8 points per game, while junior Jamar averaged 14.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest.
Famous alums: The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy, actor J.K. Simmons, political adviser Jim Messina.
Little-known fact: The UCLA Grizzlies (yes, Grizzlies) joined the Pacific Coast Conference in 1928, but since Montana was already a member and had the nickname, they were forced to switch to the Bruins.