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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bison Sports Arena (6,000) -- Fargo, North Dakota. Television: None. Home Record: IUPUI 4-7, NDSU 10-1. Away Record: IUPUI 1-12, NDSU 7-6. Neutral Record: IUPUI 1-2, NDSU 2-0. Conference Record: IUPUI 1-12, NDSU 10-4. Series Record: IUPUI leads, 7-4.
GAMES NOTES: The worst team in the Summit League will face off with one of its best when the IUPUI Jaguars visit the North Dakota State Bison at Bison Sports Arena on Saturday night.
The miserable season for IUPUI kept going on Thursday as the Jaguars were routed, 82-45, by South Dakota State. With the loss the Jaguars have fallen to just 1-12 against the Summit League which has it alone in last place. The Jaguars have a matching 1-12 mark on the road and have dropped 11 straight contests overall.
For the first time this season North Dakota State lost at home last time out. In a grueling matchup with conference leading Western Illinois, the Bison were defeated, 49-36, by the Leathernecks. The loss was the first in 11 tries at Bison Sports Arena for the Bison who are 19-7 overall and 10-4 in league play. North Dakota State is currently in third in the Summit League standings though just a half game back of second place South Dakota State.
It wasn't pretty when these teams met earlier this season as North Dakota State rolled to a 78-40 victory. Even with that decision, IUPUI still leads the all-time series, 7-4, after having won five of the previous six matchups.
IUPUI had no answers for South Dakota State at either end of the floor on Thursday. The Jaguars shot just 34.8 percent from the field and allowed the Jackrabbits to score 22 points off turnovers. Then on defense the Jaguars let the Jackrabbits shoot at a 53.8 percent rate while hitting 11 shots from beyond the arc.
The defensive end of the floor has given IUPUI the most trouble this season. The Jaguars are letting up 77 points per game on 49.4 percent shooting. Both of those marks are among the 10 worst nationally. The Jaguars are also one of the 10 worst rebounding squads in the country (28.5 ppg). Those efforts on defense and the boards have severely outweighed the teams meager offensive numbers (66.9 ppg, .445 FG percentage). The Jaguars were dealt big blows with the losses of John Hart (14.2 ppg) and Ian Chiles (10.2 ppg) this season due to an eligibility issue and an injury. In their place, Mitchell Patton (13.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Donovan Gibbs (10.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg) have tried to hold the fort down but to no avail.
There wasn't much offensive success on either end of the floor in North Dakota State's bout with Western Illinois. That was especially true for the Bison in the second half when they had just three field goals and shot 13.6 percent from the field. Meanwhile the Leathernecks shot at a 44.7 percent rate in the contest and had a 35-29 edge in rebounds.
North Dakota State is normally a team equipped for low-scoring battles. The Bison are surrendering just 55.5 points per game on 38.4 percent shooting this season. Each of those totals is among the 25 best in the country as is the number of assists they allow per game (10). On the offensive end the Bison are normally extremely efficient as well, shooting a league best 47.4 percent from the field. North Dakota State has also had to deal with the injury bug as leading scorer Taylor Braun (15.2 ppg) was lost with a stress fracture in his right foot in mid January. In the eight games Braun has missed, the scoring load has shifted to Marshall Bjorklund (11.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg), Lawrence Alexander (10.7 ppg, 4.0 apg) and TrayVonn Wright (9.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg).
IUPUI couldn't be coming to Fargo at a better time. The Bison have been stumbling a bit with losses in two of their last three games, but against IUPUI the Bison will get back on track.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota State 68, IUPUI 54
02/16 10:31:46 ET
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