NORTH DAKOTA STATE (10-3, 3-1 Summit) AT ORAL ROBERTS (12-4, 4-0 Summit)
Time/TV: 8:05 p.m./FCS
Location: Mabee Center
Line: Oral Roberts -8.5
North Dakota State Players to Watch: G Taylor Braun, So. (14.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 58% FG); G Lawrence Alexander, Fr. (12.4 ppg, 5.5 apg); F Marshall Bjorklund, So. (12.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 70% FG). Alexander, who went 14-for-16 from the foul line and had a career-high 26 points in a Dec. 30 win over IPFW, has made an immediate impact in Fargo and is the frontrunner for the Summit Newcomer of the Year.
Oral Roberts Players to Watch: F Dominique Morrison, Sr. (18.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 37% 3s); F Michael Craion Sr. (10.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 82.1% FT); F Steven Roundtree, So. (10.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 56% FG). Roundtree is probably the Summit League’s best sixth-man and is coming off an 8-for-10, 16-point performance in the Eagles’ 89-80 win at Oral Roberts Tuesday.
Storylines: Both teams have recent wins over Oakland (giving the Grizzlies two losses in the Summit for the first time in three years), putting themselves in position to battle for league supremacy.
Keys to Victory: The Bison have one of the most efficient offenses in the nation, shooting 50 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from the 3-point line, and with Alexander running the offense, they don’t turn the ball over much. ORU has the experience edge and are an incredibly balanced offensive team. The two teams average a combined 146 point per game, so this one will likely be decided by which offense is more effective.
The Bottom Line: The Eagles were the pre-season Summit favorite and are 4-0 in league play for a reason. As well as NDSU is playing, it has an exceptionally young team. Expecting them to go into Tulsa and come away with a victory may be too much to ask.
The Pick: Oral Roberts 88, North Dakota State 78.