North Dakota State (24-8) vs. South Dakota State (24-9)
Tuesday, March 12, 9 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Lucas Gulotta, College Basketball Associate Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sioux Falls Arena (7,100) -- Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Television: ESPN 2. Home Record: NDSU 12-1, SDSU 13-0. Away Record: NDSU 8-7,
SDSU 7-8. Neutral Record: NDSU 4-0, SDSU 4-1. Conference Record: NDSU 12-4,
SDSU 13-3. Series Record: North Dakota State leads, 109-97.
GAME NOTES: Nate Wolters will try to ensure that his magnificent career ends
on the grand stage as he leads the top-seeded South Dakota State Jackrabbits
against the North Dakota State Bison in the Summit League Tournament
Wolters began to make a name for himself as one of college basketball's best
players last year when he led SDSU to the NCAA Tournament where it came up
just short against the third-seeded Baylor Bears, who had numerous NBA
prospects on their roster. The talented floor general returned for his senior
season to post incredible averages of 22.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.8
assists per tilt. His efforts helped the Jackrabbits win the Summit League
regular season title.
Wolters showed he can light it up as well as anyone, scoring 53 in a single
game versus IPFW during the regular season and set a season-high with 12
assists in SDSU's 72-56 win over the Mastodons in the semifinals on Sunday.
Chad White also got into the action, as he had White poured in 17 points on 4-
of-5 from 3-point range for SDSU. Tony Fiegen surpassed the 1,000-point mark
for his career as he added 16 points, while Jordan Dykstra logged nine points
and nine rebounds for the Jackrabbits, who shots a lofty 61.5 percent from the
field on the night.
The Jackrabbits will now turn their attention to a very talented NDSU team,
which finished third in the Summit League but just one game behind SDSU and
Western Illinois's first-place tie. The Bison coasted past the Leathernecks to
a 55-43 victory on Sunday in the semifinals as TrayVonn Wright tallied 19
points and seven rebounds. Taylor Braun added 14 points, seven rebounds and
four assists for the Bison, who have won four in a row. NDSU won the
rebounding battle, 30-21, and outscored WIU in the paint, 20-14.
Braun paces NDSU with 15.3 points and 1.5 steals per outing while Marshall
Bjorklund chips in 11.8 points and 6.1 boards per tilt. The Bison had not won
a tournament game since 2009, when they won the championship, before their
quarterfinal round victory over UMKC.
The home team won in both of the regular-season meetings. The Bison clipped
SDSU, 65-62, on Dec. 29 behind a 20-point outing from Bjorklund. NDSU shot
53.5 percent from the floor and knocked down nine 3-pointers in the first
bout, but the Jackrabbits exacted their revenge on Jan. 26 as Wolters pumped
in 26 points to lead his squad to a 69-53 rout. The Bison are 109-97 against
the Jackrabbits all-time. This is the fifth postseason meeting on record
between the two schools and the first for a league championship since 1980
when SDSU beat NDSU 79-75 in Brookings.
Although the Bison were impressive on Sunday against WIU, Wolters is the one
player no one in college basketball seems to have an answer for. It is hard to
imagine his Summit League career ending with a disappointing loss in the
championship game, but the Bison showed they can play with SDSU before. This
one should be an exciting finale.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Dakota State 75, North Dakota State 71
03/12 10:31:29 ET
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