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UND (13-4, 18-9) vs PSU (7-10, 14-14) 3/4 3 PM


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Hopes of winning the conference on the first try were thwarted by a crafty Hornets team, who took the air out of the ball and UND could not overcome a poor shooting night from 3 and from the line and dropped their 1st conference home game of the season and now are tied with EWU for the conference lead. Compounding issues for UND was the absence of Cortez Seales due to a family emergency. UND will try again on Saturday in the final regular season game against Portland State.

PSU has had a knack of playing the best teams in the Big Sky tough. Despite this, and a quick start, Portland started to fade down the stretch and will be playing Round 1 in Reno.  In fact, this could be a rematch next week in the quarters if things break that way. We don't need to discuss what happened in detail what went down in Portland, but UND has come a long way since then. 

The one thing that this PSU team can do is score, score, score. They have 5 players who average in double figures this season and another with 9 points per game.  The problem?  They can't stop anybody. The leader of this team is Senior Forward De'Sean Parsons, who has blossomed a bit in his 2nd year in the program.  North and Robinson are solid guards, can have their moments from the 3 point line but will do their damage elsewhere.  This will be a different style than what Sac State threw at UND yesterday.

The series in Big Sky play is 5-4 UND, including a 4-1 record at home

This is also senior night for UND, as they will honor their 4 seniors on this years squad.  Pekas joined the squad this year and got in very little, but always had a role in helping in practices.  Blake was the 4 year walk on that again, played sparingly in his 4 years but always worked hard.  Baldwin transferred in and was a key cog in the UND lineup for the past two years.  Was the 3 point marksman that UND needed and was solid on both ends of the court.  Possibly one of Jones better JUCO transfers he has brought in.  Then there is Hooker, who has been the heart and soul of UND hoops for the last 3 years, and will go down as one of the best UND players of all time.  What Q brought to this program was not only is great talent, but his leadership was second to none.  So thank you Seniors for all that you have done for the program! 

Other Games (If you want drama, take a look at the battle for 3-6 seeds):

EWU (13-4) @ NAU (5-12) Eags got the best of both worlds last night, taking care of business on the road against SUU and seeing UND stub its toe at home.  They have a chance to clinch a share of the conference title with a win and the 1 seed with a win and UND loss.  Standing in their way is NAU, who nearly stormed back from a 20 point halftime deficit against Idaho, only to fall short.  NAU can't improve their position and their matchup in round 1 is set (they will play PSU), so all they can do is play spoiler.

MSU (11-6) @ Weber (11-6) If a song could describe Weber's current situation it would be Urgent by Foreigner.  They dropped another home game, this time to their arch rival Griz, and have now lost 4 in a row. They sit in a 3 way tie for 3rd with Idaho and MSU, with the Griz only 1 game back. Speaking of the Cats, they took care of business against ISU and now set up a big showdown at Weber.  The winner of this game will end up the 3 seed in Reno (both teams win the tiebreaker over Idaho current based on head-to-head results against EWU).  The loser?  Depending on other results could be as low as a 6 seed. Can Weber get their swag back or is MSU sending a message that they are a serious threat in Reno to win it all.

Griz (10-7) @ ISU (3-14): The Griz just might have saved their season, no really I'm serious.  That's how much that win at Weber was to that team.  Now they find themselves in a great position to snag either the 4 or 5 spot, and potentially be on the same side as UND,  with a win against the Bengals, who are just looking to not finish dead last in the conference.  Griz can't lose however, because with a loss and a SAC win, they fall to the 7th seed. Do the Griz have a run left in them? They have the talent at guard to do it.

Idaho (11-6) @ SUU (3-14): Vandals managed to survive the storm at NAU and are one step closer to a bye.  Despite being in a 3 way tie for 3rd, they cannot finish in that critical 3rd spot due to losing tiebreakers over MSU and Weber (and of course they play each other).  The good news?  4th is definitely up for grabs and a win seals it up.  A loss to SUU, who is just trying to stay out of the basement, could see them drop all the way down to a 6 seed depending on how the Griz do out in Poky.

SAC (9-8) @ UNC (6-11) Well Sac State came up with another statement victory, going into Grand Forks and coming away with a W.  Now they take on UNC, who finishes their season up on Saturday.  Sac State can't go any worse than a 7 seed at this point and a win plus a Griz loss bumps them up to a 6.  Can Sac State build on their big win and take care of business against a UNC team with nothing to lose?  Or will it be another example of 1 step forward, 1 step back for Hornets Nation

SWSiouxMN's Prediction of Seeds by the end of the night on Saturday

1 UND

2 EWU

3 Weber

4 Idaho

5 Griz

6 MSU

7 SAC

8 PSU

9 NAU

10 SUU

11 ISU

The call:

99-62, that was the margin of victory for PSU against UND in the first conference game of the season.  UND has been waiting for another crack at these guys to avenge that embarrassing loss.  There are several different storylines coming into Saturdays game.  Senior Night, Conference title and #1 seed in the balance.  Guaranteed bid to the NIT on the line at worst should UND lose in the BSC tourney.  It would be a total kick in the stomach in UND didn't win Saturday, having a 1 game lead in the conference and having a chance to win the conference at home and not get it done.  UND knows it has much at stake, and I believe the entire team steps up to accomplish its goal of a BSC regular season title and get that #1 heading into Reno.

UND 83-73

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