Cal State Northridge (1-2) vs. Montana State (0-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 21, 4:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: McGuirk Arena (5,300) -- Mount Pleasant, Michigan.Television: None. Home Record: CSUN 1-0, MSU 0-1. Away Record: CSUN 0-2, MSU 0-1. Neutral Record: CSUN 0-0, MSU 0-0. Conference Record: CSUN 0-0, MSU 0-0. Series Record: Cal State Northridge leads, 10-6.
GAME NOTES: The Cal State Northridge Matadors and the Montana State Bobcats will collide at McGuirk Arena in the opening round of the CMU Tournament on Thursday.
The CMU Tournament features a round-robin format. Central Michigan and Austin Peay will take the floor following the matchup between the Matadors and Bobcats.
Cal State Northridge will be looking for its first victory over a Division I opponent as it enters with a 1-2 overall record after road losses at USC and Fresno State. The Matadors do not have much depth this season as they are only 11 players on the roster, which has led to four starters averaging 32 minutes or more. Northridge had a decent performance in its 80-64 loss to the Bulldogs on the offensive end as it hit on 44.6 percent of its field-goal attempts, but Fresno State converted 26-of-35 from inside the 3-point line to run off to the double-digit victory.
Montana State will be heading to McGuirk Arena in search of its inaugural win of the 2013-14 season after being defeated, 84-55, by Cal State Fullerton in its season opener and also, 72-65, by UC Riverside on Saturday. The Bobcats committed 24 fouls to the Highlanders' 14 in their most recent outing and played catchup for the majority of the second half before falling by seven points. Montana State also began last season slowly with just one win through its first six games, but it managed to finish 13-17 overall.
This will be the 17th meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood. Northridge owns a 10-6 all-time series lead. The Bobcats will have another chance to gain around on the Matadors when they host Northridge in Bozeman on Nov. 26.
Since the Matadors do not have much depth, Stephen Maxwell, Josh Greene and Stephan Hicks have had ample opportunity to make their mark on the offensive end. In the loss to FSU, Green scored 17 points, Hicks tallied 16 points and eight rebounds and Maxwell pitched in 13 points. All three are averaging over 15 ppg and are combing to account for 65.5 percent of the team's scoring. Northridge is being outrebounded by an average of three boards per game and has allowed its opposition to hit on 53.6 percent of its field goal tries. The poor interior play was a big factor in the team's most recent loss. FSU had a 36-24 edge on the glass and outscored the Matadors in the paint, 44-30.
The Bobcats have been ice cold to start the season as they have connected on only 5-of-35 attempts from beyond the arc and have seven less assists (18) than turnovers (25) through two games. MSU has a pair of double-digit scorers in Paul Egwuonwu and Flavien Davis, who are netting 11.5 and 11 ppg, respectively. Calen Coleman finished with 10 points in the loss to UCR, but he went 0-of-4 from 3-point range and committed four of the team's 13 turnovers.
Montana State has more depth, but it will have trouble keeping pace with the Matadors if it cannot identify a third option on the offensive end. The Bobcats are going to have a tough time if their overall play does not improve, but Northridge could be competitive if its key players manage to avoid foul trouble.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cal State Northridge 83, Montana State 70
11/21 10:34:27 ET