North Dakota State Bison
Summit League (26-6, 16-2)
Big Wins: 2/21 at Wisconsin Milwaukee (77-69), 2/28 at Oral Roberts (75-72), 3/10 vs Oakland (66-64)
Bad Losses: 11/22 at Idaho (69-78), 1/2 at Oakland (76-77), 2/14 Southern Utah (69-74)
Last NCAA Appearance: none
Coach: Saul Phillips (First NCAA appearance)
Why They Can Surprise:
Many have not noticed, but North Dakota State has one of the most efficient and potent offenses in the nation. The team ranks in the top 15 in the country in scoring offense, field-goal percentage, three-point field-goal percentage, assist-to-turnover ratio and turnovers per game. The offense starts with the dynamic inside-outside duo of Ben Woodside and Brett Winkelman. Woodside, a 5-11 senior, is averaging an incredible 22.8 points per game. He is certainly a great outside shooter, but his ability to break down the defense and get to the basket is quite impressive. Woodside gets to the charity stripe over eight times per game and he rarely misses once he is there. The point guard is also the reason for the low turnover numbers and he dishes out 6.3 assists per contest.
Winkelman is not a traditional big man, but he will score in the paint as well as beyond the arc. He will not hit as many outside shots as Woodside, but the 6-6 Winkelman is nearly as productive in the scoring column.
Why They Can Disappoint:
There is not much bad to say about the Bison. This is an experienced team that won the Summit League during their first year of postseason eligibility. Their biggest issue might be that they have never been here before. That would be a larger concern if Coach Saul Phillips had a bunch of freshmen playing significant minutes, but the experience of this squad should neutralize any negative effects of postseason inexperience. The only thing this group lacks on the court is a solid shot blocker. Starters Michael Tveidt and Lucas Moormann, along with reserve DeJuan Flowers are all capable defenders in the paint, but none of them will swat away a ton of shots.
Who To Watch:
The key for North Dakota State is getting production from everybody else besides Woodside and Winkelman. Tveidt is a capable power forward who can stretch out the defense with his outside shooting and Moormann, a 6-10 center, will do the dirty work around the basket. The starting shooting guard is Mike Nelson and he is the forgotten scorer for NDSU. The senior can match Woodside shot for shot from long range and will occasionally explode for 20 or more points. Nelson does not attack the basket as effectively as Woodside, so if his shot is not falling, he will not score too much. During the high pressure situations in the tournament, Nelson will need his shot to fall in order for the opposing defenses to have one more weapon to worry about.
Ben Woodside, Senior, Guard, 22.8 ppg, 6.3 apg, 3.2 rpg
Mike Nelson, Senior, Guard, 11.9 ppg, 2.5 apg, 4.2 rpg
Brett Winkelman, Senior, Forward, 18.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg
Michael Tveidt, Sophomore, Forward, 9.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg
Lucas Moormann, Senior, Center, 4.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Eric Carlson, Freshman, Forward, 2.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Freddy Coleman, Sophomore, Guard, 2.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg
DeJuan Flowers, Junior, Forward, 3.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Josh Vaughan, Junior, Guard, 2.8 ppg, 1.3 apg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 81.3 (8th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.8 (198, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.1 (5, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.7 (243, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.2 (82, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 41.2 (5, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.4 (35, 2)
Rebound Margin: 4.9 (40, 1)
Assists Per Game: 15.1 (55, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.5 (13, 1)
Following the Bracket announcement, more team info will be added, including final RPI, final team statistical rankings, Joel's prediction, and more!