Sunday, February 8, 2009

Here Come the Bison

After an 18-5 start in their first season eligible in Division 1, the North Dakota State Bison are looking to do the unthinkable.

It was back in the fall of 2004, where four scrawny freshmen showed up on the campus of NDSU in Fargo. They all decided to come play basketball for the school, who had just decided the season before that it would make a jump to Division 1.

Tim Miles, the coach for the Bison at the time, encouraged the four frosh to redshirt; suggesting that they would get one shot at glory in their 5th-year seasons, a shot at the NCAA Tournament.

A lot of people thought Mr. Miles was crazy, but now four years later the Bison are leading the Summit Conference with a 12-1 record and 18-5 overall.

They also could become the first team to make the Big Dance in their first season eligible as Division 1 members in nearly three decades.

NDSU is lead by a small 5-11 point guard in Ben Woodside. Some experts go as far as to say that he is one of the best PGs in the country. He has a knack for getting to the rim and is currently 9th in the nation in scoring, averaging 23 ppg. Not to mention he is also 5th in assists, with 7 apg.

Woodside gained national attention after scoring 60 points in a game on December 12 vs. Stephen F. Austin University. He tied the NCAA record for most free throws made in one game with 30, which was previously held by "Pistol" Pete Maravich.

Not to mention Ben scored 49 of his points in a 23 minute span. Quite impressive.

The Bison have won 10 games in a row, including 12 of their last 13. They've looked impressive in late January and here in February with quality wins over Summit Conference stalwarts Oakland 81-71 and IUPUI 91-69.

NDSU is also lead by two of their other 5th-year seniors in Brett Winkelman and Mike Nelson. Winkelman, is an undersized post player at 6-6, who leads the team in rebounding with 7.3 rpg and at one point this season was averaging a double-double.

Nelson, meanwhile is their shooting specialist. He has a knack for hitting down 3 point shots and is also their best defender.

NDSU is primed to make a run at the NCAA Tournament, starting with the Summit Conference tournament in nearby Sioux Falls, SD (March 7-10). The Bison will be bringing loads of fans to the Sioux Falls Arena and will be hungry for 3 wins that can get them to where many other teams have been dreaming of for years.

1 comment:

SoulOnIce said...

Thank you for putting the spotlight on these cats. I'll be watching for them, especially since conference tournaments are right around the corner.