The Big Dance
"What do you know about the state of Montana?" a reporter questioned three assembled University of Michigan basketball players. Answers varied, but the overall theme was: not much.
For the second year in a row, the University of Montana basketball team had drawn the University of Michigan to be their opponents in the first round game of the NCAA March Madness tournament. Though dominant in their conference, the Montana team were a fifteenth seed in the national tournament. Michigan came is as a second seed and a possible favorite to win it all.
The Griz face March Madness
Fully aware of the odds and with a massive height disadvantage, the Montana Grizzlies boarded their charter flight to Des Moines, Iowa to shoot their shot.
The season marked the end of a legacy team's college hoops careers. Seniors Ahmaad Rorie, Michael Oguine, and Bobby Moorehead spent four years making the Montana team great. The tournament game would be their last as Griz.
In the end, the Griz lost. Badly: 74-55.
Michigan was a taller and stronger team, and there was little Montana could do to defend against their height.
But, as a small state school from a state their opponents knew little about, they were still proud to have been there.
“We wanted to go there for each other and on national television if we were going to go down, we weren’t going to go down without a fight,” said Rorie.