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UND (4-1) @ Utah Valley (3-3) 11/24 5 pm


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UND did what they needed to do again against an inferior non-D1 opponent, beating up on Concordia (NE).   Now UND will turn its attention back on the road to take on an old Great West foe, Utah Valley.

Utah Valley is coming off a 22 win campaign and a CBI appearance.  They are picked 4th in the coaches and 3rd in the media in the preseason polls, so they are expected to a be a top team in the WACky WAC.  This will be the first of two WAC opponents that UND plays this year, (they get UT Rio Grande Valley in a few weeks).  They are coached by Mark Pope, who is in his 4th year at Utah Valley. 

These two teams played last year in GF, with UVU coming away with an OT victory, as they had difficulty stopping their 7 footer (who has since graduated). 


53 - number of points Avants needs to get to 1000 career points

.753:  Current free throw percentage of the entire team (keep that margin all year please!)

Key player: Conner Toolson (6'4 Senior Guard)

The Preseason 1st team all-WAC player has definitely been living up to the billing.  His 3 point percentage is a little lower than his average, but he is one that can light it up.  Shot it around 40% from 3 and 80% from the line last year, so he is due for that monster game.  Be a good matchup for Cortez, or maybe Jal off the bench. 

X-Factor: Baylee Steel (6'11 Junior Forward)

You are probably wondering why I am choosing him as the x-factor, someone who is averaging 6.7 ppg.  Well it isn't the points that I am concern about, but his rebounding ability.  He has already produced two double digit rebounding performances, including a 19 board performance against BYU.  In that game, he also had 7 offensive rebounds.  Bottom line, when he is in the game, you need to keep him off the boards.  

Keys to the Game:

1) Rebound the ball

UND needs to have a good performance on the boards, prevent UVU from getting 2nd chances.  You got some players who can rebound now, lets see them have good games on the boards.

2) How will UND handle the competition

Its no secret that UND has had an uneven schedule to say the least, so we don't know how they will fare against like teams.  Will they take that confidence that they have gain by pounding inferior opponent and translate it into success, or will this be a crashing back to reality moment for this young squad.

3) The Youth of UND

I'm not so worried about the senior leaders, or so much Brown and Walter.  How will the rest of the team handle playing probably a better opponent that Milwaukee.  Rebraca has been solid, but this will be a good test to see how fast he is maturing.  Will Jal or Marko have their breakthrough game?  Can Davids be solid at the point and Moody shooting the ball lights out?

The Call

This would be a good win for UND to get on the road and could spur them to bigger and better things.  I think out of this stretch of games, this will be the toughest matchup of the 5. I'm waiting for that one game where the youth shows up in full force and I am worried this might be the one where it does.  If this was in GF, I would take UND... but since it is out in Utah, I think the more experienced team will take the win and defend their home court.. I hope I am wrong though

UVU 79-74

Game is Free on WAC Digital Network: Link is here http://www.wacdigitalnetwork.com/

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We certainly could have won but we played pretty well against a bunch of upperclassmen on the road.  That might be the type of game that we would win a month or two from now.  Moody had a couple of "in & outs" that may have made a difference.  It was interesting to see who got the minutes in a competitive game.  

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