It seems it can't get more dramatic than an Eastern Washington matchup in about any sport and while from the Grizzly standpoint it is a game between adversaries separated by a few hours and 200 miles, yet for the Eagles it has developed into a what could be described bitter rivalry.
Montana has one of those but in the opposite direction down the same Interstate that has history dating back to 1897.
Now truth be known most everyone knows I am an Eastern guy but being from Spokane I also have been a Cougar as long as I can remember.
Truth be known I relish the fact that the Eagles have recently risen to prominence, have chosen to emulate some things that we do right in Missoula, and are competitive even at times on the National stage.
And if Montana chooses to minimize whether it is indeed a rivalry, so be it. It is semantics and one has to admit there just is a little extra when it comes to an Eagle-Grizzly game.
Heck I even think the red turf was brilliant and served to bring national attention to an institution that wouldn't certainly be otherwise mentioned; and face it Griz Nation, few can dispute the athletic talent EWU has had on several occasions.
I have always subscribed to the theory that few ideas are novel - just the way they are carried out - and utilization of another's best is a compliment.
Now that I have your attention suffice it to say that after the disappointment of another extra periods loss in Moscow two nights earlier, all the marbles were on the table Saturday night for Montana and the heavily favored Eagles stood to take a giant step toward securing the host spot for the Big Sky Conference Tournament.
The Missoulian's Bob Meseroll described it as the best student section of the season and while I sat across from the tumult I'd have to agree. They were creative from the get-go and on this first day of March made the afternoon a precursor to the eventuality of madness two weeks hence.
As if added motivation was required, some was made about the Grizzlies being advised to leave the floor to the locker room from their bench rather than trying to exit across the floor after the Eagle fans rushed the floor after a predicted win.
But I am going to say that after recent spats between teams and fans during post-game celebrations, I'll give the Eagles a pass believing they were more interested in safety than making a statement about what they must have believed was an obvious eventual positive outcome.
Suffice it to say that after what I was a part of at Sacramento State when chaos ensued after the final claxon, I can personally attest that while I really remain a fan of the spontaneity that makes college basketball one of my deepest joys, court storming has become dangerous and unless some control is exercised a serious scenario accompanied by injury will ensue.
With plenty yet left on the table, this season's games have been a joy and with the circuit's parity the league tournament promises more of the same.
And wouldn't it be magical if the stars aligned and brought even additional men's hoop to add to the women's spectacle at Dahlberg Arena?But with the way the Grizzlies perform on the post-season floor of the other league entities with titles in places like Flagstaff, Boise, Portland, Ogden and Bozeman, play on men and let the chips fall.