BOZEMAN -- One the the state's biggest basketball rivalries is back for its season finale on Saturday as Montana and Montana State will square off once again in a doubleheader in Bozeman.
For the Griz men's team, it only has to worry about the Cat-Griz showdown this week as it's the only game on its schedule. But for MSU, it's set to be a busy weekend as the team has to travel to play Portland State on Thursday night, fly back to Bozeman on Friday and then prepare for one of its biggest tests of the year.
While the entire Treasure State has its eyes focused on the weekend, Bobcat head coach Danny Sprinkle is trying to limit his players' distractions and keep them in the present.
"It's just natural to be looking forward to that game because everybody on campus is talking about it and everybody in the state is excited about it," Sprinkle said. "But our guys have to realize that we have to get better today. Let's get better today, let's get better tomorrow. Let Thursday take care of itself, come back Friday and get a little better and hopefully perform well on Saturday, too."
The Cats cannot skip over the Vikings. PSU handed Montana State a 77-76 loss at Worthington Arena back in min-January. To make the game's scale even bigger, Sprinkle and the Bobcats are battling with Portland State in the Big Sky Conference standings for a chance to secure a first-round bye in the conference tournament, which is now just six games away.
Montana State (14-11 overall, 8-6 conference) faces Portland State (12-14, 6-8) on the road Thursday at 7 p.m. before heading back home to face Montana on Saturday at 7 p.m.