The North Dakota State University men's and women's basketball teams start their second half of the Summit League schedule tonight against the IUPUI Jaguars. For the men, the five of their remaining seven games are at the Bison Sports Arena. That includes home games against Denver, Fort Wayne and South Dakota State University.
For the women, the young roster will have a tough task as they play the tougher side of the Summit League schedule. This will be a chance for this roster to show what they have learned throughout the season and the "youth" excuse no longer applies
IUPUI Jaguars 5-19 (0-7) @ NDSU Bison 16-6 (5-2) 7 p.m. (790/KFGO)
- The Bison are coming off a disappointing loss at Denver University last week. The best recipe for a tough loss is playing a team like IUPUI. The Jaguars have lost 12 of their last 13 games and are 1-9 on the road so far this season. Don't expect them to get their first league win tonight.
- The question that usually comes up during this is, "Does NDSU overlook this team while getting ready for Saturday's game against Fort Wayne?" The answer is no but sometimes a blind squirrel finds an acorn. To make sure that doesn't happen here, get out in front quickly and bury the Jaguars.
- The Bison have ruled around the rim this season, averaging 4.7 blocks per game this season and 5.1 per game in Summit League play this season. Blocks, more so than anything with this team, spark the offense and get the crowd into the game. Look for IUPUI to get discouraged if the Bison get a couple big blocks early on in this game.
Prediction: NDSU 85 IUPUI 65
NDSU Bison 6-16 (2-5) @ IUPUI Jaguars 16-6 (6-1) 6 p.m. (740/FAN)
- The Jaguars have the best defense in the Summit League. They are giving up 59.9 points per game, tops in the league by five points. NDSU's problem this season hasn't been shooting the ball, the lead the league with 1,441 shots taken, but making it. This problem will be multplied by playing such a good defense.
- Last time these two teams played, a 71-46 victory for the Jaguars, the Bison were outscored in the paint 42-16. NDSU will have to avoid this disparity this time around by controlling the paint. If the can develop a good inside-out game, they may be able to close the gap.
- If NDSU is going to win this game, they are going to need keep IUPUI off the offensive glass. The Jaguars lead the league in offensive rebounding at 14 a game. Taking away second chance points will help keep the game close for NDSU.
You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called “The Pinto and White Shadow Show.” Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.