Category Archives: North Dakota State Bison

Conference Tournaments

Mission Possible

It was hard watching the North Dakota State game last night’s game against Oakland for the Summit League tourney championship.  The first half was like watching players I had never seen before in the Bison uniform, they were lazy, lacking the energy and confidence we have been used to here in Fargo.Ben Woodside

In the second half, Saul Phillip’s team finally found their confidence and came back from 16 points down to take the lead on a Ben Woodside jumper with 3.3 seconds left in the game.  The win gives the Bison it’s first NCAA birth in the school’s first year eligible.  NDSU’s win is the first of it’s kind since 1972 when Louisiana – Lafayette made the jump to D1 tourney bid.

Congratulations to the Bison and I know former Bison coach Tim Miles is has to be beaming today.  Miles, currently coaching at Colorado State, was the architect behind the Bison vision to red-shirt this year’s senior when they were freshmen, ultimately planning for last nights game five years ago.

Now, I am not sure Woodside and the Bison can be this year’s Steph Curry and Davidson, but I do expect them to competitive as a 12 or 13 seed.  I would expect them to push whom ever they meet in the opening round.

Remember a couple seasons ago?  The Bison, lead by this years starters, beat an Alando Tucker lead Wisconsin team and a Marquette team with the same three guard combo that the Golden Eagles this season.  Both teams were ranked when they lost to the Bison.  They also pushed a talented, but under achieving, USC team before losing by 4 points this season in a game the Woodside did not play well.

All of Fargo is happy that Woodside is getting more publicity, this kid is as fearless as he is talented and should be given a chance at the next level.

For the second time in less than, ESPN’s Andy Katz wrote a blog post on the Bison.

Big Ten

I have no expectations for the Big-Ten tournament, because I have no clue which versions of teams will show up.  As I write this, West Virgina is rolling over Notre Dame in the Big east tourney by 15 points.

Each Big-Ten has a “not so subtle” Jekyll and Hyde issue, with the Michigan State Spartans doing the best job at control the ugly and disgusting side of their teams play.  That being said, they were embarrassed by Northwestern at MSU.

Every team had horrible loses and impressive wins and could go all the way, but I do expect MSU or Purdue to win the whole thing.

Minnesota and Michigan need to win two games to be considered a “tourney quality team”.  Both had great starts to the season, and both let a great opportunity to cement a return to Big-Ten “top level” competition – I expect them to be there soon.

Penn State and Northwestern are both one win away from the tourney.  Both have beaten top tier Big-Ten teams and really should be given a look if they win one or not.

Big East

PITT, UConn, Louisville, Marquette, West Virginia or Villanova?

I am hoping for another UConn/PITT clash, but this is the Big East tourney, so the legend of Gerry McNamara looms heavy over the Madison Square Garden.

Syracuse has played well strong down the stretch, Notre Dame has not.  PITT is almost unbeatable.  Unless you are Providence – who should be a given for selection Sunday.

UConn is a first round lose away from a No. 1 seed, and Louisville needs to win the Big-East tourney to seriously be considered a No. 1 seed.

I have no idea on WVU.  They are not very deep – actually, no team has a lot of quality depth in the Big East – I could be easily persuaded by good argument from a PITT or UConn expert. The Mountaineers do have stud junior De’Sean Butler who is a legit NBA prospect.

My dream is for Notre Dame to win the whole tourney, Luke Harongody deserves better than the NIT.  Without the tourney Championship, I am not sure they will hear their name called on CBS this Sunday.

ACC Tourney

Just like the Big-Ten, the ACC has a quality through out the conference.  You can call UNC and Duke “heavy favorites”, but they have been beaten by lesser teams this season – aka Boston College – aka Tyrese Rice and Headband Bunch.

Clemson is experienced and should be tough,  Wake Forrest is young, talented and capable of winning whole tourney, and then you have Floria State who came out of nowhere.

Every game will be close and I would not be surprised to see any of the top seeded teams lose in their first game or see them all advance.  I know, bold prediction, but I really don’t know what to expect – see Big-Ten Jekyll and Hyde effect.

UNC needs to find PG help while Ty Lawson recovers, Duke needs Kyle Singler to learn how to shot again, if WF is going to go deep Jeff Teague must play all tourney long like he did against UNC, or James Johnson needs to live up to the hype.

Clemson is very balanced, Boston College is not, and Miami is the most frustrating team in the conference, but still could get hot and ride James McClinton for a couple wins.  North Carolina state should be better, Virginia Tech always gives Duke problems, and Virginia went “Wee, Wee, Wee all the way home“.

Side Note- If any of the Memphis Tigers games are remotely close- the C-USA tourney is on their home court -  John Calipari should have to go the rest of March without hair product.

Notre Dame has pulled back with in single digits.  So you are saying there is a chance?  No, I’m not.

Summit Championship

The North Dakota State Bison seniors have showed an amazing level of commitment.  From the moment they step on campus in Fargo, they were talented enough to play as freshmen, but instead red-shirted all for the chance to play in the big dance, to make it to March Madness.

And now that chance is here.  One more win, and they will have accomplished what everyone had only dreamed could happen.   But they will have also taken another step in making NDSU basketball relevant in the universe of college basketball.

For those of us close to the team, we have know about this team for years.  The national audience has seen glimpses of the NDSU basketball team when they shocked highly ranked Wisconsin and Marquette a couple years back.  And then gain this season when Summit League POY Ben Woodside scored 60 points.

NDSU has been known as a football school, and that team was atop the 1-AA Top-25 polls, and beat the Gophers last season, but they have not had then chance the basketball is playing for tonight.

The Bison play tonight (Tuesday) on ESPN2 at 7pm CST against Oakland to continue the journey the seniors embarked on when they signed to play for the Bison.

A couple days ago, ESPN’s Andy Katz wrote a blog post on the Bison.  Check it out here.

Side note:  I heard a rumor that the Utah Jazz had scouts at last night’s game to take a look at Woodside.

Man Crush and Basketballing

I get tired of a lot of  “radio personalities.”  Too many people talking about the same thing, with the same point of view.  It can be either local sports talk or ESPN guys, it doesn’t matter.

But the one guy who I enjoy reading and listening to is ESPN’s Bill Simmons. I have his widget on the side of my blog and I have listened to his pod casts all day and will do the same tomorrow.  Read his stuff, funny and entertaining.

I just his train of thought and insight.

Saturday is the beginning on conference tourney play.  My local heart will be backing the North Dakota State Bison, as the look to back-up the regular season Summit title with the conference tourney championship and a chance to get a seed in the tourney above 16!!  Maybe.

Side-noteIf they win the tourney, they better not get stuck in that damn play-in game!!!

The Summit tournament will be competitive, and the hopes of the Bison faithful will again fall on Ben Woodside when the Bison match up with Centenary in Sioux Falls, SD.

Woodside also won the final Summit player of the week award which should be the icing on the cake that is the POY for the Summit Conference.

I still think he should be up for POY in the NCAA’s.  Too damn good.  Just look at his stats and his teams record.  A win over USC would have helped.  The Bison will be a nice story in the NIT or the NCAA’s as they make their first postseason appearance with the first chance the have.  One for One!!

Good publicity and $$$$$$$. (I heard a million dollars for just one game in the NCAA’s and $500,000 for a single game in the NIT).

The Gophers took a step close to popping the bubble and getting in the tourney with a win over rival Wisconsin.  How crazy would it be if the Bison make it and the Gopher’s do not.

Tubby’s crew needs another win over fellow bubble-boy Michigan, to get grab onto a 7-10 seed.

P.S. – My brother won $200 at half-time of the Gophers/Badgers game when he hit a lay-up, free throw and a 3 pointer in 25 seconds.  If he could have added a half court shot – $25,000.  Oh well, $200 more than he walked in the door with.  Unless he bet someone $200 he could make all four shots.  I don’t think he is that stupid! :)

Ben Woodside: NDSU’s All-Time Leading Scorer

First, Minnesota Golden Gophers beat No. 9 Louisville Cardinals 70-64 on Saturday in Arizona.  Big Ten cred!!

Second, North Dakota States Ben Woodside set the NDSU All-Time Scoring record on Monday night against Northern Arizona.

Woodside scored his 1,814th point with around 13 minutes remaining in the game and then finished with 1820.  He surpassed Denver TenBroek you played from 1999 – 2003.

Woodside had a total of 24 points against the Lumberjacks,  shooting 7-11 from the field and 10-12 from the foul line.  He also dished out 10 assists and had 3 steals.

Ben Woodside for National Player of the Year

In almost every article that I have written on Fox Sports, I have mentioned either Ben Woodside or the North Dakota State Bison.

In the latest article, I throw his name out as a “Write-in Candidate for Player of the Year”, and he has done some work to help his cause and once again, North Dakota State’s basketball team is in the national news.

Ben Woodside

In a 111-112 lose to Stephen F. Austin, Woodside scored 60 points in the triple-overtime game.  In the game Woodside shot 14-32 from the floor, 30-35 from the free throw line, he also finished with eight rebounds and eight assists.

As an encore the following evening, Woodside lead NDSU to a win 98-77 over Georgia Southern scoring 31 points and passed out 10 assists.  Woodside shot 8-15 from the floor, 4-5 from three and 11-12 from the foul line.