In his first post, the new guy broke down the school whose football team lost to the North Dakota State Bison two years ago, the Minnesota Golden Gophers – I will breakdown the darlings of the NCAA’s from Fargo in like fashion.
1. Key to a Bison Win: Be aggressive but under control. Saul Phillip’s team looked extremely passive in the first half of the Summit League Championship game. I don’t know if that was nerves or a team that was over confident and waiting for the game to balance out and “come to them”. Either way, they need to play their game with aggression from the opening tip.
2. Key Player for the Bison: Ben Woodside. Predictable, you might say. Sure, it’s predictable, he is NDSU’s leading scorer. Why is he so valuable?? He is the best player in the Summit League and is the 10th leading scorer in the country. Typically, as Woodside goes, so go the Bison.
3. X-Factors for Bison: Everyone not named Ben Woodside. The Bison have capable scorers and I have a feeling Kansas will have a guy hounding Woodside from the moment the ball is in play. The Bison have double-digit scorers in Mike Nelson (11.9), Brent Winkelman (18.7), and Michale Tviet (9.7) has picked up his game of late and shoots 46% from deep. Plus, all the Bison fans will make the Dome feel like a Bison home game (my goal was to say Bison as many times as possible in this paragraph – I got 6).
4. Why the Bison Could Lose: It’s Kansas. They have Cole Aldrich. He is a monster in the post. The Bison were beat-up by Oakland’s 6’11″ center, Keith Benson . Aldrich goes for 15 and 11 a game, and his shot is nearly unblockable – he has the KG behind the head release.
5. How Far will the Bison Get?: It depends on who wins the West Virginia and Dayton match-up. I think it will be a tough match-up against WV, NDSU is more efficient on the offense end, but could struggle guarding WV’s length and athletic ability. Dayton is more balanced, has no player averaging more than 13 points, and shoots only 33% from distance.
Additional Note- The Bison are the 3rd best in the country in FG% at 48.9% and 5th in 3PT% at 41.2%, compared to KU who is 21st in FG% at 47.9% and 34th in 3PT% at 37%. The Bison starting line-up is taller than KU- expect at center – so the Bison should be able to get their shots off , and if the percentages hold true, NDSU will be in the game.
I do not expect them to win on Friday, but I think is the game is close, the Bison are lead by experienced players who are confident and battle tested.
Fear the Herd!