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#1 UND (19-9) vs #8 PSU (15-15) Big Sky Quarterfinals 3/9 2:05

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UND got the job done, albeit it wasn't pretty at times, with Q and Geno having big games.  They were able to bring home UND's first Big Sky Conference Regular Season title and the #1 overall seed in Reno.  UND starts its march to the big goal of making the dance, when they take on... hey wait its Portland State again!

UND finds themselves in another situation where they play the same team in a 5 day span.  In 2012, UND had a similar situation where they played SUU twice in 5 days. SUU was a team that UND struggled against through the year by splitting against them and even in their win it was a battle. It didn't faze the team lead by Huff and company as they took down SUU by 17 points in the BSC quarters.  UND is hoping that history here repeats itself.

UND is 6-4 all time verses PSU, including a semi-final victory in 2014 BSC tournament.  This is the 2nd time they have clashed in the conference tournament.

PSU, like SUU of 4 years past, is making life difficult for UND this year. PSU has forced a total of 48 turnovers against UND, and are responsible for the two highest turnover games this year for UND (26 and 22).  UND however has managed to outrebound them in both games they have played.  Both teams can score in bunches, but can Portland get stops outside of turnovers and can UND be consistent on offense. They split the two meetings this year, with both teams holding serve at home.

The usual suspects pace PSU in their win over NAU, North had 25 points off the bench and Parsons chipped in 14 points.  The big guy, Ferris, is looking to build off of his huge game against UND last time where he chipped in 17 points.

There are two approaches to this game tomorrow:  PSU had played once already, so they won't be as rested as UND but they have more of a feeling of the environment around Reno in game play.  UND needs to get solid production from people other than Q and Geno the rest of the way.  So Corey, Cortez, Connor, Carson, Josh, and Drick, its time for you to bring your best in this environment.

Other QF matchups

#4 Idaho (17-12) vs #5 Montana (16-15)

With UNC ineligible for the tourney, it created an unique situation where the top 5 seeds got byes this year.  It also meant that the 4 seed wouldn't get the normal advantage of the 5 seed playing a game.  Vandals and Griz clash for the third time this year (both winning on the road).  This is also a rematch from last years semi-finals where the Griz ended Idaho's season. Vandals are on another winning streak and the Griz have a bit of their swagger back after being Weber and ISU to finish the season.  Sanders and Rorie clash once again as two of the best guards in the conference.  Should be a great matchup.

#3 Weber State (17-12) vs #11 Southern Utah (6-26)

SUU showed that their 5-26 regular season record doesn't matter when it comes to conference tournament time, they took down MSU in an epic triple OT game.  Randy O had himself a big game scoring 43 points in the victory, albeit he took 33 shots and got to the line 25 times.   The reward is a matchup against Weber, who they lost to 90-74 back in early February. Weber will be heavy favorites in this one and they still run the show as the defending champs.  How much of that triple OT game take out of SUU will be the thing to watch, can SUU find lightning in the bottle once again and move on to an unlikely semi-final appearance?

#2 Eastern Washington (21-10) vs Sacramento State (13-17)

Eastern comes in with their feathers a little ruffled up after their loss to NAU, costing them a share of the conference crown.  Nevertheless, they are still one of the favorites here in Reno with the inside combo of Wiley and Borgan. They can't rest on their laurels as they take on a pesky Sac State squad who has proven they can win against the big boys of the conference this year.  Although they scrapped a victory against ISU, they are move than capable of putting together a run to get to the title game.  They met once in early February in Cheney and EWU came out on top 77-72, off a 38 point night by the Big Sky POY.  If they can find a way to contain Wiley and use their talent at the guard position, Sac State is more than capable of pulling the upset.

The fallen:

Montana State:  a tough loss to SUU, but the future is quite bright.  Should come in as one of the favorites to win the conference next year

Northern Arizona: loses some solid talent, but brings back a few key pieces.  Might be ready to climb up to the middle of the pack next year

Idaho State:  ISU has some pieces to work with next year but will have a battle to climb up the standings.  Telfair's solid BSC career has come to an end.

Northern Colorado:  have quite a bit coming back, but what judgement will the NCAA lay upon the Bears?

The call:

BSC regular season champs, 19 wins, 14 conference wins, a sweep of Weber.  Its been a great year for UND Basketball so far.... but its a new season, that doesn't apply anymore. SUU showed us last night that a 5-26 record doesn't apply in Reno.  The only record that should matter to UND is going 3 and 0 this week in Reno.  Portland has found a way time and time again to make it very difficult against UND.  However, I don't feel that UND has played its best against PSU this year, and hopefully getting a 3rd look at their pressure will finally be the time they solve the puzzle.  I could see this going one of two ways to start:  Either UND comes out guns ablazing and goes for the early KO, or struggles early due to not playing right away like Portland.  Its going to end about the same either way.  Another solid team effort paced by Q and Geno plus UND is finally able to handle the pressure of PSU and comes away with a 12 point win. 

UND 86-74

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After watching the game Saturday, I think UND looked much better than PSU and way more athletic. While there were non-calls that went both ways, there were at least 3 in PSU's favor (traveling and stepping on the baseline) that led directly to a 3 pointer on that possession and kept them in the game. Unless UND can't hit the broadside of a barn, I think they win this one without too much trouble.

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1 minute ago, jdub27 said:

After watching the game Saturday, I think UND looked much better than PSU and way more athletic. While there were non-calls that went both ways, there were at least 3 in PSU's favor (traveling and stepping on the baseline) that led directly to a 3 pointer on that possession and kept them in the game. Unless UND can't hit the broadside of a barn, I think they win this one without too much trouble.

I was thinking the same thing that UND is better than PSU. We had way too many turnovers - many from lack of concentration - appeared we sleepwalking at times. PSU zone hurt us and we need to shoot a little better. At times we were unstoppable. PSU did hit shots to keep them in the game. I think Avants will play better. Can't figure him out - he works so hard but he was playing better earlier in the year. Our guards are awesome. Nice to know we also have an All Conference coach.

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I am not too concerned with PSU.  We should win comfortably.  I will say 10 point win with PSU making some runs but not enough to close the gap.  

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2 hours ago, Cratter said:

Hope I'm wrong but I see PSU winning.

I have a bad feeling as well.  They are so athletic and volatile, don't know what they are going to do.  

Need to just win and advance!  I feel better playing against UM or Idaho on a neutral court than vs these guys.

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1 minute ago, hoops44 said:

Weber and EW end up with better draws in BSC quarters than top seed UND

Agreed 100%.  

Wow, we finally agreed on something.  :)

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