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  1. UND used hot shooting from 3 to start and dominate defense in the 2nd half to come away with a semi-final victory over the Dons. Now UND finds themselves in new territory, in the Summit League Championship for the very first time.... they take on a very familiar foe: the defending champions from NDSU. For one team, they were expected to be here. NDSU was pointing to this season being the year they made their move in the conference. That plan got sped up when they won the Summit Tournament last year as an underdog. Now they play the role of the favorite and more than expected to see a SoDak school in the final. Funny thing about March.... its Mad. UND finds themselves in a brave new world, back in the conference championship game for the 3rd time in their D1 history, but the first in the Summit League. It would be hard to find more than 5 people who would have though UND would be at this point: playing for a chance to go to the dance. In what should be the biggest clash between the 2 in-state rivals in their history, it is quite fitting that this would be the 300th time that they will meet to play basketball. These two teams split against each other, each winning on their home courts. Key Player: Tyson Ward He has given UND problems all year long and this game and he has played very well in the tournament. UND is going to have to solve this puzzle in some way shape or form to have a chance. The Fallen: Fort Wayne: Its hard to say goodbye, but the Dons just didn't get it going against UND and now will be send packing to the Horizon League. They should have a good guard tandem and their big guy Carl will be solid as well. Should have a good 1st year there Oral Roberts: Tough way to finish for a team some thought could win it all. Lose all Summit Nzekwesi and a solid player in Burns, but they return Obanor and Abmas and a solid soon-to-be junior class. They could compete again for a top 3 spot. Keys: 1) The Fatigue Factor 2) Vinnie vs Marlon 3) Can UND solve the Ward problem? Milestones: DAE is 15 points away from the freshman record. This is something that is well within his reach. If UND were to win, he will most likely break it. Stewart has 166 assists this season, which is good for 7th place in the single season record book. He would need to get 1 to get to 6th place. His 361 assists are 8th best all time at UND, and would need 4 to pass Aaron Anderson for 8th. Also, his 1247 career points at UND is 18th all time in scoring. The Call: Lets be real, NDSU will come in as big favorites. They have the experience of last year and the extra day of rest. UND lacks depth and will be playing its 3rd game in 3 days and fatigue will play a factor. So you think the Bison will go to the dance right? Well if I went with my head... yes. I'm not a head person, I'm a heart person. UND knows they can play and beat the Bison, they showed that a few weeks ago in Grand Forks. They cannot allow themselves to let the moment become too big. Play the game in 4 minute increments. At the end of the day..... Marlon and company will do enough. The damn slipper still fits.... UND go grabs their dancing shoes for the 2nd time ever. UND 74-72 Game is on ESPN2. ***Even though the stakes are MASSIVE.... my expectations are still the same: KEEP IT CLEAN on BOTH SIDES.
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