Team preview: Montana State

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

Unpredictability is the norm in the Big Sky.

Teams that appear left for dead rise up; programs that are on the rise fall back. Thus is the pattern of Montana State. Whenever great things are expected, the Bobcats seem to stumble. But they sure enjoy the underdog role. Last season not much was expected, yet they managed a second place finish, despite going just .500 overall.

In the process, coach Mick Durham was voted the conference's coach of the year.

"Obviously our team came together much quicker than I thought," Durham said. "I think to get coach of the year in this league, where it is so balanced, is pretty neat. I respect all the coaches in the league and the jobs they did with their teams. There could have been a lot of options this year. There are a lot of neat stories with a lot of different coaches."

This year the dean of Big Sky coaches sits in a favorite's role. It would be tough to overlook a squad with five returning starters—five good returning starters. If the Bobcats stumble this year, something clearly is wrong. The team has the talent and depth to make a strong run for the conference title and a spot in some sort of postseason tournament, be it the NCAA or NIT.