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UND (4-8, 0-1) vs EWU (5-9, 0-1) 12/31 4 PM

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A sluggish first half doomed UND in the conference opener against league favorite Idaho, UND hopes to salvage the weekend when they host the Eagles of Eastern Washington.  The Eagles dropped a 88-75 decision down in Greely.

This has been a transition year for the Eagles as they are under the leadership of 1st year coach Shantay Legans.  While they still have a few solid pieces from last years team, they haven't found a guy that can duplicate the impact that Jacob Wiley had last year.

UND is 7-3 all time against EWU in the Big Sky and they have never lost to the Eagles in Grand Forks (5-0)

Player to Watch: Bogdan Bliznyuk (18.2 ppg 6.0 rpg, 3.4 apg). The big Ukrainian has been one of the better players in the Big Sky for the past few years.  He is a guy that can do a little bit of everything, can knock down the 3 if needed, decent free throw shooter, good rebounder, and underrated in getting assists.  Given the situation with UNDs bigs, I would suspect a very heavy dose of Bogdan today.

Keys to the game:

1) UND Frontcourt:  The status of Dale Jones will be critical in this one, without him a thin frontcourt becomes even thinner.  Avants and Walter need to play big and if Franken get any minutes he needs to make the productive.

2) UND guards:  UND should have an advantage in the guard position, so they need to take full advantage.  Geno, Marlon and Cortez should have no excuse not to have decent games against these Eagles guards. 

3) Zone principles:  Its no shock to think that EWU will throw a ton of zone against UND and why not?  With the shooting numbers UND has so far I would throw a zone on these guys! UND needs to do a better job in showing "controlled" aggression in attacking  it.  Quicker passes, moving around, attacking the gaps and yes... knocking down the open shot are a must.  

Other Game:

Idaho (1-0) vs UNC (1-0)

This is a bit of a statement game (if you can call the 2nd conference game a statement game) but the Bears have a chance to get a crucial win against the league favorite Vandals before a tough Montana swing next week and send a message that they are a true threat for the crown this year.  Idaho can look to get the UND/UNC road sweep to continue to establish their favorite status before hosting a very surprising PSU team and a struggle Sac St team at home. 

The Call:

This is a must win for UND, cannot understate that UND needs this one or else an 0-4 start to league play is very likely.  With that said, I think UND strength at the guard will be enough to overcome their weakness at forward in this one and they also manage to beat the zone by actually knocking down some shots.   Look for them to get conference win number one. 

UND 79-74

In the other game: I'll take the Vandals in a high scoring affair. 

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Around the Big Sky: (from Yesterday)

The Griz took the T-Birds to the woodshed with a 79-49 win in Cedar City.  The Griz look pretty good but will have a bit of a stiffer test at home verses UND and UNC coming up. SUU took a small step back after their performance against MSU, but they are definitely not the T-Birds of last year.  They go to Weber and ISU next week

The Cats also move to 2-0 on the conference season, but struggled to put away the Jacks and it took OT to do it.  Keljin Blevins had a big game to save the Cats bacon.  NAU put up a better performance, but odds are they will bring up the rear of the conference this year.  They go to Weber and ISU while MSU goes home to host UNC and UND.

Now for the upsets

ISU went into Weber and shocked the Cats with a 62-60 win. Jared Stutzman had a big game with 17 points and 6 rebounds.  ISU now has more wins that they did last year, could this be a example of addition by subtraction?  Tough loss for a  team that has championship aspirations, they will host SUU and NAU this week, so both teams look to defend their home courts.

PSU went down to Sac State and did not leave with the W.  Justin Strings had a big game, 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists to take down the surprise Vikings.  They will now travel to Idaho and EWU.  

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17 minutes ago, hoops44 said:

The shooting coach jones brought in from Australia deserves a big pay raise

All his guys apparently went to EWU.

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So what should we expect next season realistically? First year in summit ...

crandal, sealed, Stewart all have talent 

bijiek should be a player coming in.

i only see Buchanan playing better.

what should we expect from Moody? I know he was talented in Hs but know nothing about him. Will he give us a deep threat?

seems like we need a big guy in the middle. I just don’t trust avants. I like him, but he seems so streaky. We could really use Bernstein  this year.

hopefully McCauley can get healthy and contribute.

thoughts? Opinions?

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2 hours ago, hoops44 said:

The shooting coach jones brought in from Australia deserves a big pay raise

Do I sense a bit of sarcasm (I sure hope so!) in that statement?

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2 hours ago, UND-1 said:

This team is bad.  I mean real bad.

They sure are.  WTH has happened to Seales lately?  Has he lost all confidence in his shot?  He can't even hardly get a shot, let alone make one.

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Seales goes exclusively to his left...is small for the 3 and has no outside shot...teams over play him to the left,let him shoot the 3 and try not to let him get the ball inside of 12 feet from the rim

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Three guys need to score on this team.  Crandall, Seales and Avants.  Crandall- too many T/O's; some because he just dribbles too much and looses the handle.  Also, way too many 1 on 4 plays late in the 2nd half of games.  Seales- looks sick; maybe home sick; doesn't seem like he wants to play anymore.  Avants- looked bad against Idaho, several shots in close didn't even catch the rim.  Played better against EW but is too small to make shots on rebounds in traffic except for his baby hook shot against man to man defense.  Not sure anyone else can be the scorers on this team. 

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28 minutes ago, UND1981 said:

Three guys need to score on this team.  Crandall, Seales and Avants.  Crandall- too many T/O's; some because he just dribbles too much and looses the handle.  Also, way too many 1 on 4 plays late in the 2nd half of games.  Seales- looks sick; maybe home sick; doesn't seem like he wants to play anymore.  Avants- looked bad against Idaho, several shots in close didn't even catch the rim.  Played better against EW but is too small to make shots on rebounds in traffic except for his baby hook shot against man to man defense.  Not sure anyone else can be the scorers on this team. 

in avants defense he looked to be playing with an ankle injury.

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