Maverick Maniac's Musings

March 2, 2013

2012-13 Omaha Men’s Basketball – Game #31 Preview–North Dakota State

Filed under: Men's Basketball,Omaha Mavericks,Previews — Jon Green @ 11:30 am

Omaha Men's Basketball Preview - North Dakota State - 3-2-13
Live Stats

Live Video ($8? and No Audio?)
Live Audio (Gary Sharp – 1620 AM)

South Dakota State proved to be too steep a challenge for the Mavericks on Thursday and now Omaha gets to try their luck against North Dakota State, another of the top teams in the Summit.

North Dakota State
The Bison haven’t been close to losing in two previous matchups with Omaha over the last couple years. Could today be different? I think it just might. Taylor Braun, North Dakota State’s best player, is still easing his way back from a broken bone in his foot. He played on Tuesday but was not his usual self and did not score. He had 26 points the last time these two teams met, so not having him at full strength would be big.

Additionally the Bison have struggled some down the stretch. They lost at Oakland, only won at Fort Wayne by four, lost at home to Western Illinois, and lost at Akron during the last seven games. Still this is a team that defeated South Dakota by 19 and Kansas City by 37 without Braun. It’s not like they don’t have other talented players.

They do however tend to play a slower pace and strong defense. They haven’t given up 70 points at Minnesota on December 11th and if Omaha wins this one it will take some great shooting since North Dakota State’s offense is usually very efficient.

Omaha will look to Justin Simmons to lead the way and while each game you wonder if he’s finally going to get shut down my somebody he seems to find a way to push for 20 points. He scored 14 in the first matchup and has hit 20 11 times this year now and done it in seven of the last nine games. Incredible stuff.

It’s also the final game for Alex Welhouse, Jacques Coleman, and Tyler Egli. Those three have been great members of the program and it’d be great to see them go out with a strong finale.

Top Five Wins, ranked by RPI –
73 – South Dakota State (65-62)
112 – Oakland (73-65)
149 – @ Towson (65-48)
163 – @ Morehead State (69-57)
163 – Morehead State (69-49)

Worst Five Losses, ranked by RPI –
147 – @ Green Bay (59-74)
124 – Western Illinois (36-49)
124 – @ Western Illinois (42-50)
112 – @ Oakland (63-66)
73 – @ South Dakota State (53-69)

While they don’t have a lot of great wins, this is a team with a very good resume when it comes to avoiding bad losses. Perfect against teams sub 150. Omaha would be by far the worst loss of the season.

Omaha vs. North Dakota State – Conference Only Stats

Team FG% 3FG% FT% O-PPP D-PPP TO Rt A/TO A/B% Def FG% Def 3FG% Opp TO Rt Reb% Off Reb% Def Reb% BPG
Omaha 48.6% 37.1% 69.1% 1.016 1.146 18.6 1.000 47.4% 50.1% 40.4% 17.0 45.4% 25.4% 64.8% 3.2
NDSU 49.2% 37.1% 64.2% 1.125 0.888 15.6 1.478 53.5% 39.8% 36.4% 18.0 55.8% 30.4% 80.0% 3.5

Green = 1,2, or 3 in the Summit League. Red = 7,8, or 9 in the Summit League. Bold indicates the better team in each category.

This is what a mismatch looks like on paper… Omaha is tied in 3FG% and a better FT shooting team. These are the best two shooting teams in the Summit League and both are top 40 in the country.

Expected Starters
North Dakota State
Guard – Lawrence Alexander – 6-4 – Sophomore – Averaging 10.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists.
Guard – Kory Brown – 6-4 – Freshman – Averaging 5.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.1 assists.
Guard – Taylor Braun – 6-7 – Junior – Averaging 14.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.7 assists.
Forward – TrayVonn Wright – 6-7 – Junior – Averaging 9.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks.
Forward – Marshall Bjorklund – 6-8 – Junior – Averaging 11.5 points and 6.1 rebounds.

Point Guard – CJ Carter – 6-0 – Sophomore – Averaging 9.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists.
Guard – Alex Phillips – 6-3 – Junior – Averaging 8.3 points and 2.5 rebounds.
Guard – Justin Simmons – 6-3 – Junior – Averaging 16.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.0 assists.
Forward – Alex Welhouse – 6-7 – Senior – Averaging 8.4 points and 4.8 rebounds.
Center – John Karhoff – 6-8 – Junior –  Averaging 12.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists.

Three Things to Watch
1) Pace – This matchup is between the Summit’s fastest team (Omaha at 72.6 possessions per game – 16th in the country) and one of the Summit’s slowest (North Dakota State at 61.7 is 337th in the country). It will be interesting to see where this one settles out as the Western Illinois games were definitely slower than normal for Omaha but weren’t all that low (71 and 70). The first matchup with North Dakota State on the other hand is in the bottom four at 66. The faster this game is the better for Omaha.

2.) Battle Inside  – North Dakota State has a fantastic front court of Marshall Bjorklund and TrayVonn Wright. Bjorklund is incredibly effective scoring 11.5 per game while shooting 67%. He also is good on the glass grabbing 6.1 per game. Wright grabs another 5.9 and adds 9.6 points and can step outside and hit the occasional three at 29%. He’s a presence on the defensive end blocking 1.7 per game. Omaha’s John Karhoff and Alex Welhouse will be tasked with slowing these two down tonight and it will definitely be a big challenge.

In the first matchup Bjorklund was 6-6 scoring 14 points and grabbing six rebounds. Wright had 14 points as well but the two played only a combined 49 minutes in the blowout. Welhouse had just two points and one rebound in 18 minutes while Karhoff had six points and two rebounds in 25 minutes. They’ll need to be a lot better if Omaha wants to stay in this one today.

3.) Pride – This game will be a really tough one for Omaha to win. These two teams have met twice since Omaha moved to D1 and the results were a 98-65 beating last year and a 95-51 beating this year. I don’t think it’ll be quite so ugly at the Ralston Arena and Omaha is playing better, but there’s a significant chance this game is a 20 point one late. Hopefully Omaha can at least keep it close and end the year competitively.

North Dakota State is really good. Taylor Braun not being at full strength will help, but I’m still taking the Bison 85-70.

Massey – North Dakota State wins 76-64
RealTimeRPI – North Dakota State wins 69-54


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