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UND (4-11, 0-4) vs ISU (8-6, 3-0) 1/11 7 PM

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After the disaster in Missoula, UND shook things up before the matchup against the Cats and looked better.  Unfortunately, it still wasn't enough and ended in defeat against the undefeated Cats and kept UND from their first conference win.  They look to turn the tide at home, taking on a team that they have never, ever, ever, ever have lost to at least in Big Sky play, the surprising Idaho State Bengals

You know the old saying addition by subtraction? You could easily apply this to this team.  Last year, there was a bit of a buzz in Poky with Ethan Telfair leading the team that maybe, they could sneak into the Big Sky title picture... well that didn't go so hot. They went 5-26 and was bounced in Day 1.  Not much was expected this year, but a funny thing has happened... ISU doesn't look too shabby.  They already own a road victory over Weber and held serve at home verses SUU/NAU.  They know that this week will be a better test to see where they stack up and getting back to Poky with at least a split and a 4-1 record in conference play a third of the way through the conference season wouldn't be so bad.

Since UND has joined the Big Sky, they are a perfect 10-0 against the Bengals, with a 5-0 record in Grand Forks

Player to watch: Jared Stutzman SO 6'6

The UVU transfer has made his way back to his home state and has made a big impact for the Bengals.  He has shot the ball very well from the field so far this season and has put up big numbers.  Will be an interesting matchup against UNDs defense given his 6'6 size and more than likely be at the 3/4 spot.

Things to watch:

1) Was UND starters from MSU a one off or a new lineup?

I thought the line up that Jones threw against MSU was pretty good and for the most part was a different team than the one that went up against the Griz.  Now will this be the new normal or was this just a wake-up call.  

2) The emergence of Tray  

UND has been begging for another player to step up and give them production:  Since the start of conference play, Tray Buchanan has delivered.  Averaging 13.25 ppg in the first 4 games in conference play and is just shooting below 39% from beyond the arc from 3 in conference play.  His overall season numbers still look low but a few more games like this will help with the overall numbers and will help this team going forward.

3) Where out thou Geno?

Since his outburst against the Zags, Geno has been very quiet in Big Sky play so far, only averaging just above 10 points a game.  He didn't have the greatest weekend up in Montana and if this team is going to make even a sense of a 2nd half run in conference play, Geno needs to step it up and get it going. 

Other games:

(EWU/Idaho and SUU/NAU  are playing each other on Saturday so they aren't playing Thursday)

Weber (2-1) @ UNC (2-2)

Weber got back on track by taking care of business against NAU/SUU over the weekend, while UNC couldn't quite get the job done getting swept out in Montana.  This is still an important game for the pecking order, not getting too far behind the Montana schools and ISU,  and the first round bye.  UNC already has one big win over the preseason favorite Idaho, can they score another against another top preseason favorite?  Or will Weber get a key road win on a tricky road trip to stay within striking distance of the Montanas

Griz (4-0) @ Sac State (1-2)

Despite their record, Sac State has proven they are going to be a pest all year long, so the Griz need to be careful going into Sacramento.  The Griz know that survival of this weekend will lead to possible the biggest clash against the rival in quite some time.

Cats (4-0) @ PSU (1-2)

Portland went into Moscow and stole one away from the Vandals and are now looking to get back into the thick of the conference race by hopefully taking down the Cats.  So far so good for MSU as they defended the home court against UND and UNC.  Like the Griz, they know that if they get a sweep, the matchup at home verses the Griz will be the biggest basketball game in a long, long time.

The call:

I felt there was a few positive signs after the Cats win that could lead to bigger and better things for this team going forward.  What they decide to do with it is up to them.  This is a team that they have historically dominated, but this isn't the Bengals of old.  Evans is a defensive oriented coach and will throw everything he's got at them. Being that this is at home and I think Jones will throw the exact same lineup as he did against MSU, I think UND will continue its dominance over the Bengals and break through with win #1 in conference play

UND 79-77

I'm going road teams in the other 3:  Cats, Griz, and Weebs

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4 hours ago, teamsioux said:

UND just issued statement that game will be played as scheduled. 

They arrived on Santa’s sleigh. 

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I forgot to mention this: It is stating the obvious yes, but this is a must win game tonight.  The schedule after this weekend is a trip to Greely next weekend and then the next three weekends is a repeat of the first three weeks of conference play for opponents. Its been ugly yes, but it could get even uglier if UND is not careful. 

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Just what in the heck is going on with Geno Crandell?  Got like 80 total points in 3 games in the Hawaii tournament but since then, and especially of late, just not the same Geno.  He hardly drives to the hoop anymore and seems to struggle at times just to reach a dozen points. He just doesn't look confident out there and confused with his role.  Is he in Jones' doghouse? 

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On the court: Brown/Tray/Seales/Marlon/Jones

was able to force a few turnovers in the last few defensive possessions.

Jafar or Walter have yet to step on the court

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Half

UND 41

ISU 29

Overall it was a decent half, still some lapse of D and some overaggressivness on the offensive end. Lots of use of 4 guards + Dale/Avants in the first half, which led to much of their success.  This might be the route they have to take to turn their season around. 

Assisting on 10 of 18 shots is pretty decent.  Seales might flirt with a triple-double at this rate, has 6 pts, 5 boards and 5 assists. 

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Just now, hoops44 said:

Geno still in a funk

He doesn't look very confident either, very passive, not taking shots he usually would take, he has to find a way out of it. 

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