Montana’s front court stable took a hit on Sunday afternoon, as it was announced that 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Jake Wiley has decided to leave the program. Wiley, a native of Newport, Wash., played 20 games as a freshman (3.0 mpg) and posted averages of 0.9 points and 0.6 rebounds per game.
“Jake has decided not to play any longer with the Grizzlies for personal reasons, and obviously we honor that decision,” Tinkle said according to KTVQ TV in Billings, Mont. “Jake is a great young kid with a promising future, and we wish him well.”
Wiley played a season-high 13 minutes in the Grizzlies’ NCAA tournament loss to Syracuse, accounting for five points (2-for-3 FG), one rebound and one blocked shot. Wiley’s decision to leave the program means that the Griz have one less option to call on in the front court, with Washington transfer Martin Bruenig having to sit out the 2013-14 season per NCAA rules.
Senior center Eric Hutchison (3.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg) will be a key figure for the Griz with Mathias Ward out of eligibility, and sophomore center Andy Martin stands to see his minutes increase as well after playing 8.2 minutes per game as a freshman. Montana also adds Western Texas College transfer Chris Kemp, a 6-foot-7 forward who posted averages of 7.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last season.
Montana does have senior Kareem Jamar (14.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 4.0 apg), the reigning Big Sky Player of the Year, at the small forward position. He, along with guards Keron DeShields and Jordan Gregory, will be expected to lead the way for the Griz as they look to hold off Weber State and North Dakota and remain at the top of the Big Sky.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.
The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.
We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
- Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
- Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
- Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
- No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
- No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
It’s Tuesday, which means that it is once again time for the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings.
And you’ll be shocked to find out that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is still No. 1 in those rankings. By a pretty wide margin.
The rest of the top 10?
They can be found here, at the CBT FaceBook page. Follow that page for the countdown: