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Pinto's Preview: NDSU vs. Western Illinois (02/13/2014)

by Dan Gunderson

The North Dakota State University men’s and women’s basketball teams will embark on their final road trip and home stand respectively of the 2013-14 season. The teams kick off the weekend with a game tonight against Western Illinois University.

The Bison men will look to stay atop the Summit League standings while the women will be looking to climb out of the basement.

NDSU Bison 18-6 (7-2) @ Western Illinois University 9-14 (3-5) 7 p.m. (790/KFGO)

·   The men take on a Leathernecks team that has the best defense in the Summit League. Unfortunately, they have the worst offense in the league. This games looks to be an ugly one with both teams play strong defense. The difference comes in NDSU’s offensive efficiency.

·   One big advantage WIU has coming in is NDSU’s 3-point defense in Summit League play this year. NDSU is allowing opponents to knock down nearly 44 percent of their three-pointers, which is worst in the league. Look for the Leathernecks to take attack NDSU with some outside shooting.

·   NDSU’s Kory Brown played out of his mind last week. His stats over two games, 23 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, eight steals, three turnovers in 69 combined minutes all while shooting 79 percent from the field, only tell half the story. His energy and hustle plays ignited both the crowd and his team. Will be curious to see if Brown can duplicate this output this weekend.

Prediction: NDSU 62 WIU 50

Western Illinois University 12-11 (4-4) @ NDSU Bison 6-18 (2-7) 7 p.m. (740/The Fan)

·   Last time these two teams played, NDSU scored 55 in the second half and ended up coming away with the 83-77 victory. NDSU could use some more of that offensive output and hot shooting, they 59 percent from the field and 55 percent from three in the second half, in order to get their third Summit League victory.

·   Ashley Luke of WIU is the second best scorer in the league. However, she hasn’t eclipse the 20-point mark in the last five games. Look for NDSU to send double teams her way when she gets the ball in the post. Also look for NDSU to make a point of putting a body or two on her when the shot goes up.

·   NDSU has put up the most shots in league play this season, 604, and a reason behind that is their proficiency on the offensive glass. NDSU averages 13.4 offensive rebounds per game in league play. With all those second chance points possible for the Bison, they need to capitalize on at least half of those chances in order to win.

Prediction: WIU 85 NDSU 78

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.