GrizBasketball.com’s crack research staff at the home office on Vashon Island, Wash., has again mined gold from the UM record books. Keep up the good work, guys, and we’ll send a ferry to get you once basketball season ends in April.
— The Grizzlies’ 48-16 Big Sky Conference regular-season record the past four seasons under Coach Wayne Tinkle matches their best stretch since the conference was formed in 1963. UM also went 48-16 in Big Sky play the four seasons from 1988-92; the first three of those came under Stew Morrill, the last one under Blaine Taylor.
UM has twice lost just 17 league games over a four-season stretch, going 39-17 under Mike Montgomery in 1980-84 and 45-17 under Morrill and Taylor in 1989-93. (Conference expansion accounts for the difference in game totals).
— The current Griz enter this week’s Big Sky tourney with a four-year overall record of 83-39.
In more than a century of basketball, UM’s best overall four-year period is the 89-33 mark it posted in 1988-92, which was capped by back-to-back Big Sky regular-season and tournament titles. Tinkle was the leader of the 1988-89 team that went 20-11, then passed the torch to fellow center Daren Engellant, who anchored UM to subsequent records of 19-10, 23-8 and 27-4. Kevin Kearney, Delvon Anderson and Roger Fasting were other Griz standouts during those glory years.
UM has twice won 87 games in a four-season stretch, in 1982-86 and again in 1990-94. The 1980s stretch, which first featured Derrick Pope and then Larry Krystkowiak, and included other standouts such as Marc Glass, Doug Selvig, Larry McBride and Scott Zanon, is the only time UM has won at least 21 games four straight years. None of them, however, culminated in a title.
— Should UM win the Big Sky tournament this week its four-year haul would be two conference tournament championships, two NCAA tourney appearances, a regular-season conference crown and four straight top-three regular-season finishes. That would certainly place these Griz among the most important squads in school history, ranking, perhaps, just below the achievements of the teams guided by Morrill and Taylor. Heady stuff, indeed.