One of the cool smart phone apps that many Bison fans took a liking to during the FCS national title game in Frisco, Texas was the “Bison Tracker,” which took advantage of the GPS function in the phones and located every Bison fan who downloaded the app. Well, many did, and it showed a wave of people traveling from the Midwest to the Dallas area. It seems Wichita State has the Tracker App bug.
It’s alumni association called NDSU about three weeks ago and wanted to use it for the Missouri Valley Conference basketball tournament. The developer of the app, Tim Brookins, said sure. “We decided this was an important step in our business plan to get other institutions to use the app and provide feedback,” he told the NDSU Alumni Association. “After securing a limited use legal agreement, I am pleased to share that the Shocker Nation apps launched yesterday for android and iPhone.”
Wichita State is now watching their fans migrate and check in for their tourney in St. Louis – as of this morning there were more than 1600 users. It is also being picked up on the Wichita news and Facebook pages. Here are a few of the media links:
Here is the list of applicants for the head women’s basketball coach opening at North Dakota State, which will be available after the season. As usual, it includes some head-scratching resumes that have about as much chance as I do. The university only furnished the name (not sure why but I’m not going to fight every battle and this is one we’ll leave for now), so there are bound to be inaccuracies with a coach’s latest position per web search. The one familiar name is former Bison player Jill DeVries, who resigned as the head coach at Valley City State last year and is working as Ultimate Hoops Trainer at Lifetime Fitness in Minneapolis. There were five applicants that through a short web search I couldn’t identify as a potential candidate, so they were left out. At least there doesn’t appear to be anybody who went by #chuckthepigskin in his applying for the head football coach at UND.
Daniel Johnson, coach, Lake Worth Christian High, Fla.
Lee Loy, former HC, High Point University
Kevin Lynum, assistant coach, Warner University
Chad Killinger, assistant coach, Marshall
Taj Franklin-McWilliams, assistant, New York Liberty
Chris Chougaz, coach in Greece
Kaylord Saunders Jr., coach, Minneapolis Public Schools
Ken Flickinger, HC, Westminster High, Ill.
James Pappas, assistant, Concordia University, Wis.
Keith Ferguson, assistant, Louisiana-Monroe
Paul Haney, assistant, Cecil College
Kip Jones, assistant, IPFW
Jody Craig, HC, Foothill College, Calif.
Kristen Holt, assistant, Texas-San Antonio
Kody Ketterling, HC, Filer HS, Idaho
MollyAnne Light, HC, Camden County College, N.J.
Mark Kost, assisstant, Morehead State, Ky.
Tammy Bagby, Women’s American Basketball Association director
Thomas Flahive, assistant, Saint Peters College, N.J.
Daryle Tucker, HC, Green Mountain College
Justin Hager, HC, Cibola High, Ariz.
Sheronda Powell, assistant, Three Rivers College, Mo.
We’re into March and the postseason is here for the Summit League. We knew heading into last night’s game NDSU was the number one seed, but now the brackets are set on the men’s side and the Bison have a good shot at seeing Denver again on March 10th in Sioux Falls. Last night was indicative of how the season has went for NDSU, six players in double figures, from Taylor Braun to Jordan Aaberg as NDSU beat Denver 78-68. The Pioneers were outstanding from three-point range going 15 of 32, a fact that Saul Phillips was not pleased with, something he said that would be addressed in the next nine days. Here’s a look at the men’s bracket:\
(7) IUPUI vs. (2) IPFW – 6pm
(5) South Dakota vs. (4) Denver – 6pm
(6) Western Illinois vs (3) SDSU – 8:30 pm
Denver/USD winner vs (1) NDSU – 6pm
WIU/SDSU winner vs. IUPUI/IPFW – 8:30pm
Semifinal winners - 8pm (ESPN 2)
NDSU split with Denver during the regular season, a 67-63 loss February 1st where Taylor Braun was playing with an infection, while the Bison swept USD, that included a narrow win in Vermillion. Worth noting that both SDSU and USD will play in the night session on Sunday night, which guarantees for a wild environment and a tough ticket to get in Sioux Falls. The women’s bracket will be revealed later today, there’s one more regular season game to go; SDSU plays at USD this afternoon, Coyotes can move into a tie for third with IPFW with a win, the Jacks and IUPUI have already wrapped up the top two seeds, NDSU will face IUPUI Saturday at 2.
Finally some postgame comments from Saul Phillips and the Bison players after an emotional final night inside the Bison Sports Arena, remember our weekly live chat returns at 10pm tonight, hope to see you then.
NDSU claimed a second Summit League men’s basketball crown in six years on Thursday night as the Bison defeated South Dakota 82-54 and in the process fulfilled one of its major preseason goals. The glamour comes in March with the postseason tournament, but to win the conference crown illustrates who the best team was during the regular season. The Bison now have locked up the top seed for the tournament and won’t play till 6pm on March 10th against the winner of the 4/5 matchup. They also have the automatic bid to the NIT cinched up, which to most that read the blog seems like small potatoes, but it is a really big deal as well, with each game being televised on ESPN.
Taylor Braun and NDSU captured a second Summit League Championship on Thursday night.
Winning two conference crowns in the last six years may not sound all that impressive, but when stacked up against other mid-major schools NDSU fits in with some impressive company.
Conference Titles Won By Mid-Major Schools Since 2009:
3: Butler (2009, 2010 and 2011)
3: Stephen F. Austin (2009, 2013 and 2014)
2: Oakland (2010 and 2011)
2: Creighton (2009 and 2013)
2: Weber State (2009 and 2010)
2: Montana (2012 and 2013)
2: Valparaiso (2012 and 2013)
2: NDSU (2009 and 2013)
Ironic to see Stephen F. Austin on this list, that’s the team that Ben Woodside had the game of his life against, scoring 60 points, it appears the Lumberjacks are heading back to the NCAAs this year, they clinched the Southland title on Thursday night. There’s one glaring stat attached to the Summit schools on this list compared to the others, and that’s NCAA Tourney success, obviously Butler has had some, Creighton and Valpo have, even the Big Sky schools to some extent. We’ll see if NDSU can take the next step and join a “higher” class of mid-major if they reach the NCAA Tournament, but for tonight, it’s time to understand that NDSU isn’t just a football school anymore.
This weekend is probably the last home game for a crew of seniors on the NDSU men’s basketball team. It’s possible if the Bison lose in the Summit tourney they could host an N.I.T. game but that’s a scenario nobody on the team really cares to think about. One of those seniors is center Marshall Bjorklund. Here’s an interesting tidbit from talking with those involved in his career for a story in Thursday’s newspaper:
Bjorklund, a farm kid from Arlington, Minn., played only one summer of AAU ball in high school, mainly because work on the 2,400-acre corn or soybean and livestock operation was needed. Once at NDSU, however, former Bison standout Andre Smith worked out with Bison players — especially Bjorklund — one summer. Smith is a veteran overseas professional. “He was by no means nice to us,” Bjorklund said of the workouts and scrimmage games. “He was going to let us have it. But he kept us energized and he taught me a few things that have translated over to this season. We have a similar style of play and that helped.”
Head coach Saul Phillips compared it to last summer when Ben Woodside, currently playing in Italy, worked out with Bison guard Taylor Braun. “His biggest growth came the summer Andre Smith came back,” Phillips said. “Andre has nothing in common with Marshall except that they’re both extremely gifted with ball fakes, balance and finishing in the low post. Andre had his moments with Marshall and it really paid huge dividends.”
Bjorklund isn’t sure of his pro potential, saying he first needs to take care of a few injuries after the season before he gives that a thought. In the last couple of years, he’s had a broken nose, chipped tooth and knee and shoulder problems. “I’ll have some opportunity if I want to,” he said. “We’ll see how it plays out.”
Now that the direction of the Bison women’s program has been established, there’s no reason to wait until the end of the season to speculate on the next coach. To me, it’s an easy philosophical question: who out there would best fit to match up to South Dakota State?
The Jacks are the benchmark and NDSU is so far behind them that’s it’s almost frightening. SDSU has won 18 of the last 19 meetings between the teams; 18 of 19 — that’s like NDSU over Morningside back in the NCC football days. So, if you can’t beat them, then take from them. Look at the SDSU assistant coaches, such as Mike Jewett. He’s been a head coach at two other schools for a total of seven years, including four at Southwest Minnesota State. He has a career winning record of 110-85 as the head coach. He was an assistant at St. Cloud State when the Huskies reached the Elite two straight years in 2005 and 2006. I would guess he knows the Upper Midwest recruiting footprint, an area the Bison have not done well in recent years.
I’ve heard Kelly Roysland’s name, although I don’t think she has enough experience. She’s an assistant with Minnesota, a program that is also currently struggling. There are folks who want to bring Amy Ruley back. I don’t think that’s the way to go. Her legacy is assured in NDSU history and not sure why she would want to risk that — or go through what could be a tough couple of years unless the program hits on some instant-success recruits, which at this point considering schools are now mostly recruiting high school juniors is doubtful. NDSU it would appear is way behind there.
This is a good job. It’s well funded, a new arena is coming and, although getting to be a long time time ago, there still is history of success. It’s going to take somebody who is willing to take the patience route and get back to what once made this program great: recruit well in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota for the core of your team and find athletes who don’t take no for an answer and play a team game that is fun to watch. In other words, find the kids that South Dakota State is recruiting.