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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 29, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion (2,734) -- Greeley, Colorado. Television: None. Home Record: North Dakota 3-1, UNC 5-0. Away Record: North Dakota 0-4, UNC 1-3. Neutral Record: North Dakota 0-2, UNC 0-0. Conference Record: North Dakota 0-0, UNC 0-0. Series Record: North Dakota leads, 41-20.
GAME NOTES: North Dakota tries to get back on the winning track this afternoon, as the team clashes with the Northern Colorado Bears in the Big Sky Conference opener for both programs.
With just three wins in 10 opportunities to this point, North Dakota is near the bottom of the standings in the Big Sky prior to the start of league play. Of the team's three victories, only one has come against another Division I program (North Dakota State), the other two established versus Minnesota Morris (110-69) in the opener and, more recently, Presentation College (78-32) on Dec. 15. Eight days ago, UND fell to South Dakota State in a 77-70 final at home.
Meanwhile, the Bears entered the weekend with the most total wins of any school in the league with six. However, just like North Dakota, UNC also came up short in the last game on the schedule with a 72-59 loss to Wyoming in Laramie a week ago. The defeat snapped what had been a four-game win streak.
North Dakota leads the all-time series by a count of 41-20, winning the most recent meeting last season by a score of 64-62.
These teams are set to meet once more during the regular season on March 4 on North Dakota's home floor.
At the Sioux Center the last time out, Troy Huff erupted for 30 points, shooting 10-of-14 from the floor, including 4-of-6 beyond the arc, yet still the hosts came up short after 40 minutes of action. Jaron Nash and Jamal Webb both accounted for 12 points and four rebounds for a team that shot 46.2 percent from the floor and 8-of-19 (.421) behind the 3-point line.
Huff has been the leading scorer in all but two games this season for North Dakota, and is now one of the top scorers in the nation with his 22.7 ppg. Shooting an even 50 percent from the field, Huff has already made close to twice as many free throws (60-of-84) than his closest teammate has even attempted. Also shooting the ball well from the field for UND are Aaron Anderson and Nash as they account for 12.1 and 11.4 ppg, respectively.
The Bears more than met their match against Wyoming last week as the Cowboys captured a 13-point win at home. Northern Colorado shot just 37.1 percent from the floor and 4-of-18 behind the 3-point line, with Tate Unruh contributing heavily to the group's inaccuracy as he missed all seven of his 3-point tries and was held scoreless while committing four fouls. Dominique Lee tried to carry the load with 17 points off the bench, followed by Tevin Svihovec with 11 points and both Derrick Barden and Jordan Wilson with 10 apiece.
Unruh's inept scoring effort was certainly the exception and not the rule, considering he is third on the team with 11.4 ppg at the moment, although his 37.0 percent shooting from the floor is still rather questionable. Barden (13.7 ppg) and Svihovec (11.6 ppg) are also involved in the scoring for a UNC squad that is producing a decent 72.9 ppg, even though they are shooting a disappointing 62.3 percent at the free-throw line.
Still seeking its first road win of the season, North Dakota gets another shot at it today, but again the odds are against the visitors. However, with Huff firing away from all angles you should never count out UND.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota 69, Northern Colorado 66
12/29 11:04:55 ET