NCAA Preview: North Dakota State Bison

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

North Dakota St. (#14, Midwest, Minneapolis pod)

vs. Kansas (#3)
Mar. 20 @ 12:30pm

Vegas Line: NDSU +10

General Profile

Location: Fargo, North Dakota
Conference: Summit League — Tournament Champion
Coach: Saul Phillips, hired 2007. Record at NDSU = 42-19
08-09 Record: 26-6 (16-2)
Last 12 Games: 11-1, won 7.
Best Win: vs Oakland 66-64 on 3/10/09 for the Summit tournament title after the teams had split the season’s two earlier matchups.
Worst Loss: Southern Utah, 69-74, on 2/14/09, though the most heartbreaking was the 4-point loss at USC on 12/20.
Off. Efficiency Rating: 103.0 (139th)
Def. Efficiency Rating: 107.7 (285th)

Nuts n Bolts

Star Player(s): Ben Woodside (5’11” senior guard), 22.8 ppg/6.3 apg and shoots 84.2% from the FT line and 42.7% from three.
Unsung Hero: Brett Winkelman (6’6″ senior forward), 18.7 ppg/7.4 rpg and shoots over 50% from the field and over 80% from the FT line. Probably not as much “unsung” as he is simply playing behind Woodside.
Potential NBA Draft Pick: None.
Key Injuries: No significant injuries.
Depth: 31.0% mins (170th nationally)
Achilles Heel: Defense. NDSU lets opponents shoot 45.1% (254th) and 35.7% (251st) from the field and from three, respectively.
Will Make a Deep Run if…: …Woodside can still hit shots even with the tougher defenses he’s going to face, AND he and Winkelman get some help from 1-2 other fellows who might find themselves benefitting from the attention Woodside draws.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: …they don’t shoot well. This is where they live. This team shoots 49% and 41.2% from the field and from three respectively. That’s 3rd and 5th in the NATION, for those categories. If they don’t shoot well, it’s over.

NCAA History

Last Year Invited: None — this is their first eligible season.
Streak: 1
Best NCAA Finish: n/a
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): n/a


Six Degrees to Detroit: None
Distance to First Round Site: 235 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: Alf Clausen, composer for The Simpsons, is an alum.
School Wishes It Could Forget: That it wasted Woodside’s 60-point explosion against Stephen F. Austin in December; Woodside was the story, but NDSU lost that game 112-113 in three overtimes.
Prediction: Do you want to see this team coming in the first round? Everyone’s going to be rooting for them. Woodside’s got a shooting eye that can turn out your lights and there’s probably not a lot of game film about. Still, probably a one-and-done debut. It’ll be fun to watch, though.

Major RTC stories: Ben Woodside Knows Free Throws, and 12 Down, 53 To Go

Preview written by: John Stevens, Rush The Court.

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It’s Christmas in March

Posted by rtmsf on March 17th, 2009

Dave Zeitlin is an RTC contributor.

I’ve often said that the first Thursday of the NCAA tournament is like Christmas for me. So what better time to make a Christmas, err, a March Madness wish list? Here, in no particular order, is what I want as the best three weeks in sports begin:


  • To hug a stranger at a bar while cheering for a player I’ve never heard of at a school I don’t know anything about.
  • Anyone who roots against a big underdog for the sake of his bracket to be forced to watch exclusively LPGA tournaments through the rest of March.
  • Another George Mason to make the Final Four. I’m looking at you, Siena.
  • A 16 seed to finally win a game, and not just for the free Arby’s burger. (This promotion, though, is sort of funny, especially this quote: “Each year at this time, people crave that Cinderella story – the team that takes everyone by surprise. Our new Roastburgers offer an unexpected change from standard greasy burgers.”)
  • A brawl between Gary Williams’ sweat and John Calipari’s gel in Round 2 (speaking of greasy things)
  • A cat-fight between Fran McCaffery’s wife and Rick Pitino in Round 2 (sorry, I must have that mascot brawl on my mind).
  • A game that goes seven overtimes. Six is nothing.
  • A buzzer-beater that will make Bryce Drew say, “Now that was impressive.”
  • A moment so memorable, I’ll always remember where I was when I saw it. (Unless I’m with Jim Calhoun. Wait, why would that happen?)
  • Someone just as fun as Stephen Curry to become the new Mr. March.
  • Greg Paulus to become the new Miss March.
  • Fran Dunphy to win a game. He deserves it.
  • Bob Huggins to lose a game. He deserves it.
  • Jonny Flynn to keep doing his Energizer impression
  • To win my pool, though I’ll settle for keeping my bracket alive past the first day.
  • To watch my alma mater, Penn, try to win a game. What’s that? The Quakers aren’t in the tournament for the second straight year? And they had one of the worst seasons in recent history? Excuse me while I jump from the Palestra rafters.
  • Jay Bilas to stop hating on the little guy. How many mediocre schools from BCS conferences to do we need to see before we realize it’s the upsets that make this tourney tick?
  • Binghamton’s D.J. Rivera to get his revenge for the ultimate snub by torching the team everyone loves to hate. Speaking of which …
  • To find a new villain other than Duke. How about … let’s see … um …. Oh, hell, I’m sticking with Duke.
  • The announcers doing the Cornell game to abstain from saying things like “I thought Ivy League kids were smart” after a bad turnover. SAT jokes are a no-no, too.
  • Players to stop thanking God after wins. I’m OK if Mississippi State’s Jarvis Varnado repeats this gem though: “I’ve got to use my quickness to outquick the opposing opponent.”
  • Bob Knight to offer a formal apology for once saying, “All of us learn how to write in the second grade. Most of us go on to greater things.” Hey Coach, those words you’re stringing together for your new website with fellow jerk knowledgeable hoops personality Billy Packer. I’m not entirely sure but I think it’s called writing.
  • Gus Johnson to yell even louder.
  • Any commentator who says the expression “body of work” more than twice in one sentence to stop getting lessons in awful announcing from Suzyn Waldman.
  • Gonzaga not to ruin my bracket for the millionth straight year. Please? If I win my pool, I’ll split the money with you, Heytvelt. You can use that cash for your supply of – and moving on!
  • The dude who said, “I’m the weather man” to come back into my life.
  • To hear my stepdad explain the same last-second play he created years ago while lamenting, “No one ever does this.” (It’s March. Everyone’s a coach.)
  • A team with a great story to rally behind. Cleveland State and North Dakota State seem like good choices, but I’m open to suggestions.
  • To tune out anything that has to do with the economy, the wars, the demise of newspapers, octomoms and Dane Cook … and get sucked into a world of college hoops for three straight weeks, remembering so many great shots, players and moments that I have enough material to write another column gushing about March Madness 20 years from now.
  • And, of course, to cry during One Shining Moment. I mean, what?

So that’s my wish list. May Santa, I mean Greg Gumbel, come down the chimney and bring it to me.

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ATB: 12 Down, 53 To Go…

Posted by rtmsf on March 11th, 2009


A couple of newsworthy notes before we get started with tonight’s Dance Card.

Now… on to the three dance tickets punched tonight.

# 10 – North Dakota St. (26-6, 16-2).  NDSU is going to get a lot of national attention in the next week by virtue of the fact that this was their first eligible year in D1, and several players including star guard Ben Woodside redshirted their freshmen seasons to have the shot at the NCAAs they’re enjoying tonight, but remember that our very own John Stevens was all over this story before anybody – way back in mid-December when Woodside ripped the nets apart for 60 big ones.  Tonight it looked as if their long-sought-after dream was dead, as the Summit League regular season champs found themselves down ten points with nine minutes remaining in the title game.  Slow and steady, the Bison worked itself back into the game, and after Oakland’s Keith Benson tied the game with a dunk with 0:12 remaining, the ball was put into Woodside’s hands and the rest is history, 66-64.

Projected Seed: #13

Something to Remember:  NDSU has the fifth most efficient offense in the country, and it’s predicated on great shooting and ballhandling.  The Bison are #5 in three-point shooting at 41% and they are #11 in fewest turnovers per game.  Whichever #4 or #5 seed gets this team had best bring their defense.

#11 – Cleveland St. (25-10, 12-6).  Bubble teams all over America were cursing Gary Waters’ Cleveland St. Vikings tonight, as their Horizon League automatic bid earned over at-large lock Butler took one of the 34 available spots away from some hopeful team.  Was it Creighton?  Florida?  St. Mary’s?  We’ll never know for sure, but CSU held Butler stars Matt Howard and Gordon Hayward to a combined 21/12, and in so doing was able to make just enough plays on the defensive end down the stretch to get the upset win over Butler, 57-54 in their house.  RTC Live had the liveblog coverage here, but if you were lucky enough to see the television coverage, you saw a team in Cleveland St. that wanted this game just a smidge more than their HL counterparts.  The Vikings’ NCAA bid is their first since 1986.

Projected Seed: #14

STR: Cleveland St. played Kansas St. and West Virginia tough in losses earlier this year, and of course they beat Syracuse on the ridiculous 75-footer, so this is a team that won’t be intimidated as an underdog in the first round of the NCAAs.

#12 – Western Kentucky (24-8, 15-3).  WKU started this Sun Belt title game on an 11-0 run, but South Alabama wasn’t going to just give the Hilltoppers the game so easily, as the Jags fought back to tie and even briefly take the lead in this one for a period in the mid-second half.  But WKU, led by AJ Slaughter’s 18 pts and Stephffon Pettigrew’s 15/7, was not going to be denied, and Ken McDonald should be commended for the excellent job he’s done with a team that lost its star backcourt of Courtney Lee and Tyrone Brazelton (not to mention head coach Darrin Horn).  Western Kentucky earned its 21st trip to the NCAA Tournament and its second in a row tonight.

Projected Seed: #11

STR: This is an unpredictable team.  Although they finished the season winning eleven of their last twelve games, earlier in the season the Toppers lost by 28 to Murray St., 32 to Evansville and 28 to Mississippi St.  They also defeated Louisville by 12.  This is probably why WKU ranks #265 in Pomeroy’s consistency statistic.


QnD Conf Tourney Updates.

Big East.  Did you hear that the sixteen-team Big East Tourney started today?  Georgetown and Cincinnati must not have gotten that memo, because neither team showed up for its own funeral, losing first-round games to the dregs – St. John’s and Depaul, respectively.  Yes, Depaul, the same team that was 0-18 in the regular season.  At least Seton Hall managed to beat S. Florida and Notre Dame kept its disappointing season alive for another day.

Big Sky. In the semis, #2 seed Portland St. advanced, but #6 Montana St. knocked out #1 Weber St with the upset, including one of the greatest open-court facial dunks of the year (if anyone can get a link up, let us know…).

MAC. The MAC first round was today, and there were no major upsets.  CMU, Kent, Ohio and Akron all advanced.

MEAC. The MEAC also began today, and the two higher seeds Hampton and FAMU advanced.

WAC. Another opening round, where Fresno St. “upset” the higher seeded Hawaii.

For Tomorrow’s Viewing Pleasure. We’re starting to get serious now.  The Big Sky and NEC hold its title games Wednesday, and the A10, Big 12, Big West, CUSA, Mountain West, Pac-10 and SWAC get it started.  We’re rapidly approaching bracket nirvana.

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Boom Goes the Dynamite: 03.07.09

Posted by nvr1983 on March 7th, 2009


We’re back for the final weekend of regular season Boom Goes the Dynamite for this college basketball season. The highlights of the weekend are obviously the two top 10 match-ups (in Pittsburgh on Saturday and in Chapel Hill on Sunday). We would love to provide you with another RTC Live from those site, but apparently we’re not big enough for them yet. (The onus is on you to spread the word.)

In any event, we’re going to make lemonade out of those lemons so we’ll be providing coverage from our bi-coastal offices covering all the action. Today is loaded with 15 of the top 25 playing with the other 10 playing on Sunday. We will be trying out best to provide you with wall-to-wall coverage of the top teams in action as well as RTC Live from several different locations:

In addition to our on-site correspondents we will be focusing in on a few key games for the majority of the day while also channel surfing over to the other games when the situation merits it. Here are the primary games that we will be covering today:

  • #1 UConn at #4 Pittsburgh at Noon on CBS
  • Michigan at Minnesota at Noon on ESPN and
  • #25 Syracuse at #15 Marquette at 2 PM on
  • #12 Missouri at Texas A&M at 2 PM on ESPN2 and
  • California at #21 Arizona State at 2 PM on CBS
  • Oklahoma State at #5 Oklahoma at 3:30 PM on ABC
  • Texas at #9 Kansas at 4 PM on CBS
  • Washington State at #13 Washington at 5:30 PM on CBS
  • Wright State at #22 Butler at 7 PM on ESPNU
  • #6 Louisville at West Virginia at 9 PM on ESPN and

As you can tell it’s a pretty ambitious schedule so we are asking you, our loyal legion of RTC followers, to help alert all of us if something interesting is happening. You can contribute by leaving a message in the comment section so we all can follow it.

One piece of RTC breaking news, UNC point guard Ty Lawson injured his left big toe yesterday in practice.

11:30 PM: ESPN GameDay is live from Morgantown, WV and they’re doing their own version of Make Your Case. I feel a little bit like Bill Simmons after ESPN stole his Mount Rushmore, but they aren’t paying me a million dollars a year.

11:45 PM: A couple pieces of NCAA tournament news to wrap-up before we focus on our TV for the next 12 hours: Cornell became the first team to officially get into the tournament last night by winning the Ivy League title and 3 others will join them when the Atlantic Sun, Big South, and Ohio Valley have their championship games today.

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Summit League Wrapup & Tourney Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 7th, 2009

Ryan Pravato of College Fast Break is the RTC correspondent for the Summit League.

Tourney Preview (Sioux Falls Arena)


Saturday Games:

(1) North Dakota St. vs. (8) Centenary

Centenary was outrebounded in their last meeting with NDSU by 22. Although Redus had a strong game, Adams and Stallings combined for just 16 points. Expect the same defensive play from the bigger, better guards of NDSU.

(2) Oral Roberts vs. (7) South Dakota St.

Home state advantage could make this a much tighter game than it is on paper. Jackrabbit forwards Anthony Cardova and Kai Williams, the only players taller than 6’5 to see regular minutes, must come up with huge games on the glass. If Ford and Lewis are not accounted for, it’s over.

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Checking in on the… Summit League

Posted by rtmsf on February 27th, 2009

Ryan Pravato of College Fast Break is the RTC correspondent for the Summit League.

NDSU 22-6 (15-2)

Everybody’s favorite to be the league rep in the Big Dance.  Now the only question is what seed they will be pegged. Many bracketologists (I use that term oh so liberally) have the Bison as a 14th seed, some a 15th, no one else to my knowledge has them as anything different. With such a dynamite record, is a 13th seed really that much to ask?  Back on the 21st the Bison tangoed with the Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers in a scintillating BracketBuster match up for the ages. Check that, the only BracketBuster game anybody gave a flying squirrel about was Butler versus Davidson, and that game stunk. Do these one bid league teams really need to play an out of conference game during, uh, the conference season? I don’t think so. Plus, some of the BracketBuster match ups were a total waste of time, definitely not all created with equality in mind.  But back to the task on hand, NDSU senior guard Mike Nelson tied a season high with 22 points. Senior point guard Ben Woodside was two rebounds short of a triple-double. NDSU concludes the regular season at 2nd place Oral Roberts on Feb.28th .

Update- NDSU clinched at least a share of the regular season title with a road victory over Centenary on Thursday (Feb. 26). Woodside and Winkleman combined for 66 points.

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Weekly Bracketology – 02.09.09

Posted by zhayes9 on February 8th, 2009

A few notes:

  • As you’ll notice, I included a comment about each and every team in the bracket. I’ll be doing this in each of my final four brackets (2/16, 2/23, 3/2 and 3/7) as we head towards Selection Sunday.
  • Expect a Bubble Watch post from me on Thursday updating the current bubble picture, a feature that will run very similar to ESPN’s weekly bubble watch.
  • As always, any questions/comments/complaints about this week’s bracket, feel free to comment.

Automatic Bids: Boston University, Xavier, North Carolina, East Tennessee State, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Weber State, VMI, Michigan State, Long Beach State, Northeastern, Memphis, Butler, Princeton, Siena, Buffalo, Morgan State, Northern Iowa, San Diego State, Robert Morris, Morehead State, UCLA, Holy Cross, LSU, Davidson, Sam Houston State, Alabama State, North Dakota State, Western Kentucky, Gonzaga, Utah State

Last Four In: Arizona, Miami, Nebraska, Michigan
Last Four Out: Wisconsin, BYU, UNLV, Kansas State
Next Four Out: Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Providence, Penn State
Also Considered: Georgetown, Texas A&M, Baylor, Creighton, Maryland, Saint Mary’s, Northwestern, Tulsa


1 Seeds

  • Connecticut- The #1 overall seed and #1 team in the polls, Connecticut boasts 6 wins against the top 50 and still has two contests against Pittsburgh remaining on the schedule.
  • Oklahoma– The Sooners have the most wins vs. the top 100 (15) of any team, but only 1 of those victories has come vs. the top 25. They’re the #2 overall seed.
  • North Carolina– The projected ACC champion has continued to win while Duke and Wake Forest slipped up multiple times. The showdown with Duke on Wednesday is for a #1 seed.
  • Pittsburgh– Despite two conference losses, Pitt garners the final #1 seed due to their #2 RPI, 4 wins vs. the top 25 and a much stronger non-conference resume than Louisville.

2 Seeds

  • Duke– Despite the throttling by Clemson, Duke still owns the top overall RPI and have 7 wins against the RPI top 50. They can reclaim the ACC automatic bid this week.
  • Louisville– A sexy 9-1 Big East record and 4 wins vs. the RPI top 25 keep Louisville a comfortable 2. They should watch out for pesky Notre Dame this week.
  • Michigan State– The projected Big Ten champion has stayed the same all season- Michigan State. A 7 RPI, 6 SOS and comfortable lead over Ohio State and Illinois means they should stay there.
  • Marquette– The final #2 seed goes to the fourth Big East team in the field already- Marquette. They slipped in Tampa but still 9-1 and 20 wins overall is enough to grab the honor.

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Checking in on the… Summit League

Posted by rtmsf on January 30th, 2009

Ryan Pravato of College Fast Break is the RTC correspondent for the Summit League.

NDSU 15-5 (9-1)

The Bison are pouring it on now.  5th year seniors Brett Winkleman and Ben Woodside combined for 59 points in a 10 point overtime victory at SDSU on Jan. 23rd. Interesting to note the Bison only managed 8 assists the entire 45 minutes. On Thursday night (Jan. 29) NDSU used a 13-0 run inside of the 6 minute mark of the 2nd half to drown the Grizzlies. Ben Woodside notched his 3rd double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 dimes.  This win puts NDSU up 3 games on Oakland and a half a game ahead of Oral Roberts. The NDSU “team of destiny” murmurs are now circulating the Summit League landscape (gut source).

Oral Roberts 10-11 (8-1)

The last 2 Golden Eagle opponents have scored 54 and 51 respectively. Holding both opponents under 37% shooting will drastically help out the cause most nights. Oral Roberts is playing so well right now that Robert Jarvis (17ppg) has not needed to be a prime time offensive force (just 23 total points in the last 2 games). Senior forward Marcus Lewis scored 26 on 11-13 from the field in a victory over Southern Utah on Jan. 24th, all but ending the silly talk of Oral Roberts being too reliant on Jarvis shooting 20 + times a game. Really.

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Checking in on the… Summit League

Posted by rtmsf on January 19th, 2009

Ryan Pravato of College Fast Break is the RTC correspondent for the Summit League.

North Dakota St. 12-5 (7-1)

The Bison have not lost since falling to Oakland at the beginning of the month. Senior guard Ben Woodside is averaging 26ppg and 5 assists in the last 3 games. Even though senior guard Mike Nelson’s shooting %’s are down from previous year’s, he’s still the team’s 3rd leading scorer at almost 12/gm.  This team may run away with the regular season crown.

Oral Roberts 8-11 (6-1)

Oral just lolls teams to sleep with good team defense and a deep but largely unspectacular scoring attack (5 players averaging at least 8ppg). A 5 game winning streak in which only one of their opponents scored more than 60 has allowed them to keep on the heels of NDSU. Something this team lacks is consistent outside shooting. No regular rotation player is shooting better than 33% from downtown.

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Checking in on the… Summit League

Posted by rtmsf on January 5th, 2009

Ryan Pravato of College Fast Break is the RTC correspondent for the Summit League. 

  1. Western Illinois  (3-0,  6-8)
  2. North Dakota State  (3-1,  8-5)
  3. Oakland  (3-1,  10-7)
  4. IUPUI  (2-1,  9-5)
  5. Oral Roberts  (2-1,  4-11)
  6. Southern Utah  (2-2, 4-11)
  7. IPFW  (1-3,  6-9)
  8. South Dakota State  (1-3, 6-10)
  9. UMKC  (1-3, 5-12)
  10. Centenary  (0-3, 2-13)


SDSU – 2 days before Christmas the Jackrabbits beat Iowa State on the road by 7. While the Cyclones are anything but a powerhouse team, props to SDSU for getting this win and holding Iowa State’s second leading scorer to 5 points on 2-12 shooting.

IPFW – The Mastodons finally broke through for a W in league play with a 100-66 smackdown of South Dakota State (Jan.2). Former Kansas St. forward Deilvez Yearby scored 19, grabbed 9 boards and swatted 5 shots. Former Oakland forward David Carson scored 24.

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