Maverick Maniac's Musings

November 22, 2011

2011-12 UNO Men’s Basketball – Game 5 Preview – North Dakota State

Filed under: College Sports,Men's Basketball,Omaha Mavericks — Jon Green @ 11:00 am

UNO has one more chance to get an early season Summit League upset when they travel to Fargo and take on North Dakota State on Tuesday. This might prove to be the sternest test the Mavericks have faced so far, really showing us how far this team has to go to play with one of the top teams in the Summit.

North Dakota State

North Dakota State was founded in 1890 as North Dakota Agricultural College. The named changed to North Dakota State in 1960. North Dakota State is located in Fargo, which is a city of around 105,000 with a metro area around 208,000. Fargo is located about seven hours north of Omaha on I-29, right on the Minnesota border.  In 2004 NDSU moved from the NCC to D1, eventually landing in the Summit League.

North Dakota State was a long time member of the NCC and won ten conference titles, though never any closer than ten years apart after 1954. They made eight NCAA Tournaments between 1971 and 1997 including four straight between 1995 and 1997.  In 2009, their first year of eligibility in the Summit League, NDSU won the conference, won the tournament and almost upset Kansas in the NCAA Tournament.

North Dakota State last played Wednesday against Green Bay in Fargo. The game was tight throughout with North Dakota State stretching the lead to seven late in the game before a Green Bay three at the end cut the final margin to 65-61. Mike Felt came off the bench and led NDSU with 17 points, Lawrence Alexander had 12 points and seven assists and Marshall Bjorklund had 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Guard – Dylan Hale – 6-1 Sophomore – St. Paul, Minn. – Averaging 6.3 points, 1.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
Guard – Lawrence Alexander – 6-3 Freshman – Peoria, Ill. – Averaging 12.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists.
Guard – Taylor Braun – 6-7 Sophomore – Newberg, Ore. – Averaging 14 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
Forward – TrayVonn Wright – 6-7 Sophomore – Waterloo, Iowa – Averaging 8.3 points, five rebounds, and 1.5 blocks.
Forward – Marshall Bjorklund – 6-8 Sophomore – Arlington, Minn. – Averaging 10.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 0.8 blocks.

NDSU has four players scoring in double figures, led by Mike Felt who is averaging 14.5 off the bench. Four different players average more than three boards, though the Bison have been out rebounded by an average of four boards per game. NDSU allows their opponents to grab 32.5% of their available offensive rebounds and 77.9% of their available defensive rebounds. If UNO could duplicate either of those numbers it would be a season best performance.

NDSU has been averaging 64 possessions a game, seven less than UNO’s average so we could see some contrasting of styles on Tuesday night. NDSU’s offensive rating has been 111.66 and their defensive rating has been 94.48. The defense does worry me a bit since that’s better than anyone has played against UNO so far this year. Their offense could really do well since they’ve actually played better than UNO this year on offense and UNO’s defense has struggled at times.

NDSU leads the all-time series 38-28 but UNO won seven of the last 10. Their final meeting in the NCC was a 81-74 UNO win in the 2004 Conference Tournament.


UNO’s last game was another close battle. UNO was down eight at the end of the first half, but came back strong in the 2nd half before falling 83-81 at South Dakota after leading late. The game was fast paced with almost 80 possessions.

Guard – Caleb Steffensmeier – 6-1 Sophomore from  Omaha, Neb. – Averaging 4.3 points, two rebound and 3.3 assists.
Guard – C.J. Carter – 6-0 Freshman from Omaha, Neb. – Averaging 12.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists.
Guard – Mitch Albers – 6-4 Senior from Papillion, Neb. – Averaging 23.5 points, three rebounds, and 5.5 assists.
Forward – Alex Welhouse – 6-7 Junior from Kaukauna, Wis. – Averaging 12 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists.
Center – John Karhoff – 6-8 Sophomore from Omaha, Neb. – Averaging 14 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists.

3 Things to watch:

1) Rebounding – UNO has one of their best chances to hit the boards hard on Tuesday nights as NDSU is being out rebounded on the year by an average of 3.8.  None of NDSU’s starters are over 6-8, so John Karhoff and Alex Welhouse shouldn’t be at a size disadvantage. NDSU is especially porous on the offensive glass so UNO should be able to limit their 2nd chance points.

2.) Defense! – NDSU could be in for a big night offensively. They already average 47.5% shooting from the field and 37.5% from three, and now they are taking on a UNO team that has struggled to contain teams defensively.

3.) Can UNO heat up from 3? – UNO has found a lot of their offense via driving the lane and Karhoff has gotten a lot of baskets off a great passes on these drives. Someone is going to shut down that source of points, and UNO will need to hit some outside shots to counter that. I think UNO has some good outside shooters in Alex Welhouse, Mitch Albers, and Caleb Steffesnmeier, but they have yet to really heat up yet. Bill Freeman and CJ Carter might be good from three too, we just haven’t seen enough to know. Maybe Tuesday night is when UNO finally starts pouring it in from deep.

Prediction: I think this will be UNO’s toughest test since IPFW and maybe even tougher than that. NDSU is playing well. I imagine this game will be in the 70’s, though if UNO can control the pace it could be in the 80’s. I’ll take NDSU 79-72. There are a few things that give me hope for UNO, but I think this one goes to the Bison.

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I will be running a live blog on here since I’ll be at home watching the game.

I’d recommend following myself (@maverickmaniacs) and UNO’s Basketball twitter account (@UNO_Basketball) for updates.

Go Mavs!


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