You know, familiarizing yourself with potential players in a Big Sky Conference game usually is a whole lot easier than non-conference foes whose names you've maybe never seen before.
Northern Arizona is in town for the league opener Thursday and I must say after just nine non-league affairs, I've got to do just what the players need to accomplish and turn up my game for the starts of true counters for the two-time defending league champ.
But when one examines the Lumberjacks, who have lost their last seven road games and come to Missoula winners of three of 11 games, I basically have an entire roster to master before the 7 p.m. tipoff where the first 1,000 through the student entrance get in free.
You see there are just four players with league experience and while second-year mentor Jack Murphy has basically seemed to have settled on his starting quintet there's just a host of players whose names and numbers need to drag me away from the bowl games and hammer into my forehead.
You surely will remember Gaellan Bewernick, the converted power-forward to wing who redshirted last year but has played extensively for NAU and 6-foot 8 senior Max Jacobson, who leads the Jacks at nearly 14 a game also has plenty of Dahlberg Arena minutes.
But while you can make no mistake I'll be ready by tipoff, beyond that I'm scrambling.
Jordyn Martin, a letterman sophomore, has started nine games for the Jacks when 6-foot10 behemoth Len Springs isn't on the floor but this team is going to be one that will have to mesh quickly if they can climb to seventh in the league as picked by the media.
Now don't get me wrong - You know I respect every opponent and wouldn't ever fashion looking past anybody but this is not your Dad's "recruit to shoot" NAU group since they are averaging just five made treys a game and shooting just 30 percent.
But one thing you can count on, NAU will go to the glass, a spot where Montana has been deficient.
Kareem Jamar can climb into the top 10 in career scoring in just his 101st game tonight and the Griz can put up win No 99 in the last five years and that's plenty of reason to be there.