North Dakota (11-14) at Northern Colorado (9-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 20, 9:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion (2,992) -- Greeley, Colorado. Television: None. Home Record: UND 8-5, UNC 7-4. Away Record: UND 3-9, UNC 2-11. Neutral Record: UND 0-0, UNC 0-0. Conference Record: UND 8-8, UNC 7-9. Series Record: North Dakota leads, 40-20.
GAME NOTES: North Dakota kicks off a four-game road trip on Wednesday night with a visit to Northern Colorado to face the Bears in a Big Sky Conference clash at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.
North Dakota, which has just one more home game left during the regular season against Southern Utah on March 9, cannot catch the elite teams for the top spot in the conference standings, but now at 8-8 the squad can still assure itself a strong finish in the top half of the Big Sky.
Unfortunately, over the weekend UND missed an opportunity to remain over .500 in league play when it hosted Northern Arizona, but the meeting went to overtime and eventually spelled a 74-72 setback for North Dakota. The loss was the second in the last three games for the team.
As for the Bears, currently tied with NAU, Sacramento State and Montana State for fifth place in the standings, they've actually won three straight games thanks in part to a 78-64 triumph versus the Hornets over the weekend at home. Now 7-4 in their own building, the Bears are 7-9 in league play as well.
In terms of the all-time series, North Dakota owns a commanding 40-20 advantage over the Bears, although it was UNC which won the first meeting of the season back in December by a score of 75-66 on the road.
In a game that featured 11 ties and 20 lead changes, North Dakota let a 10- point advantage versus NAU in the first half disappear and eventually turn into a two-point overtime victory for the visitors on Saturday afternoon. Troy Huff put together a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds, adding five steals as well, while Aaron Anderson tied for the game high with 24 points in the losing cause. Mitch Wilmer pitched in with 12 points and eight boards as the team turned the ball over 21 times and shot just 7-of-23 beyond the arc.
Scoring in double figures in all but one game this season, Huff is posting an even 20 ppg in league play, although he has appeared in just seven of those 12 bouts. He is also first on the glass with almost seven rebounds per contest, but still the team is being beaten on the glass by almost four per game at the moment. Anderson contributes 12.7 ppg and Josh Schuler 10.2 ppg, but the latter is suffering from a sore back and may miss Wednesday's tilt.
Derrick Barden scored 21 points and pulled down 14 rebounds as Northern Colorado posted a 14-point win over the visiting Sacramento State Hornets in Big Sky Conference action over the weekend. Tate Unruh added 20 points and Tim Huskisson 15 for the Bears, as they shot an impressive 51.4 percent from the floor in the first half and easily moved out to a comfortable 45-27 advantage at the break, which made it easy to capture the double-digit win at home.
A 44.4 percent shooter behind the 3-point line through 24 starts, Unruh is the leading scorer for the Bears right now with his 13.0 ppg. As he showed against Sacramento State, Barden has the potential to put up a double-double whenever the conditions are right as he averages 12.5 points and a team-best 9.0 rpg for a squad that is just barely holding up against the competition on the glass.
Having lost the first meeting of the season at home, North Dakota has revenge as a motivating factor to come out on top Wednesday night, not to mention that there is still some movement to be made in the league standings heading into the final weeks of action.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota 71, Northern Colorado 66
02/20 11:05:48 ET