The NCAA on Wednesday: OU, pressure is off and Wazzu

The ins and outs of what you need to know about the NDSU and Oklahoma matchup:

  • The Sooners like the perimeter shot and won’t hesitate to put up a 3-pointer at any second (they were 273 of 722 this year for 38 percent compared to NDSU’s 458 attempts). They’re similar in that regard to the University of Denver, which hit 15 against the Bison late in the regular season but only one in the Summit League tournament. This is a game that includes an Oklahoma team that was seventh in the country in scoring and an NDSU team that led the country in field goal percentage. So where will defense figure in? “The first team to figure out a way to get stops, that’s going to be very important,” said head coach Saul Phillips. “I know you look at their defensive stats, I think they’re skewed because I think they have played a lot better defense as the year has gone on.”
  • NDSU is considered the bigger physical team, although it didn’t look like it from the naked eye in the Wednesday practice sessions. Perhaps it’s because the Sooners have more guys in the 6-4 to 6-7 range than NDSU. The Bison have the better player at the center position and they will need a 65 to 70 percent shooting night from Marshall Bjorklund. They also need to keep the big guy out of foul trouble, something he’s been much better at in the last month of the season.
  • The most consistent player in NDSU’s Summit tourney two-game run was forward TrayVonn Wright. He was fabulous and the Bison will need him to drain at least two or three 3-pointers and contribute a couple game-changing dunks. On that note, the Bison also need a better performance from point guard Lawrence Alexander than what he provided in the Summit title game. Alexander on Wednesday compared Oklahoma’s offense to Notre Dame. “They spread you out, penetrate, try to get flat-footed 3s,” he said. “But I believe if we stick to our principles, play defense, we’ll be able to come out with a ‘W.’”
  • Taylor Braun grew up about 400 miles from Spokane in Newberg, Ore. He’ll have about 30 family and friends at the game. “It’s nice being back in the Northwest but I’m still far from home,” he said.
  • Phillips admitted in the NCAA press conference that his team was tight for the Summit League title game against IPFW. “I know this is going to sound silly to people in this room but when you’re a mid-major and you’re in a one-bid league, in a lot of ways the conference tournament presents more pressure than the next step,” he said. “Everybody wants to make the big dance. This is the big show. When you’re dealing with that and when you’re dealing with the singular goal of these guys for four or five years has been to make it here, yeah, I was feeling tight.”
  • Phillips was asked about ESPN’s Andy Katz tweeting that Phillips should be a candidate for the vacancy at Washington State, located just down the road from Spokane. Phillips said nobody has contacted him. “And you know what? I really like my boss and I really like my school and if I was thinking about anything other than this group of guys right now that would be about as selfish as you could get,” he said. “You got to understand we’re up in Fargo, man. I get on the inforum. But to see some national people talking about us, that’s fun. They’re just not talking about me, our team did this.”

 

34 thoughts on “The NCAA on Wednesday: OU, pressure is off and Wazzu

  1. Marsh can’t get into foul trouble and Braun and LA need to play better than the Summit League Championship game. If those happen it will be a W.

  2. The Saul to Wazzu stuff is crazy. Even Miles had to go to the Mountain West before going to a major conference. Same deal for McDermott (UNI in the Valley before he went Big 12, only to go back to MVC ironically). I know they used to play the slowdown style, but that’s still gonna be a REALLY tough sell to fans in Pullman. A coach from the Summit League who runs slow tempo? They’d be ready to run him out after two years if the program doesn’t start producing immediate returns.

    • miles and mcdermott never had the chance to play in the dance at ndsu. if saul wins in the dance no doubt major conference teams will be looking at him hard. enough of your anti, cynical rants “Reality” /Reality

      • also WSU over the years HAS played a slow, methodical type offense. keep typing things that are incorrect /Reality

        • Simple fact: it’s tough sledding going directly from the head coaching gig at an FCS school in football or a team from a one-bid league in basketball, directly to the head coaching gig at a BCS conference school.

          Simple fact.

          Miles and Bohl both knew this. And look at Miles now, head coach at one of the most up-and-coming BCS conference basketball programs in the nation, with brand new facilities and a rabid fan base.

          If Bohl gets Wyoming to two-three eight win season and bowl games, he’ll get his chance at a BCS conference head football coach gig.

          But very few take a direct route to the HC seat at the big time.

          You might counter with Chip Kelley (New Hampshire to Oregon and now in the NFL), but remember he did not go directly to the HC gig at Oregon. He went over there as their coordinator.

          There’s too much money at stake at the big time. Too many big dollar donors have a say and they all want different things. That’s how those things work.

          • Why are you talking football? That is irrelevant and completely different. One bid league coaches go to major programs all the time. Not saying he will go to a top team or anything. Remember its Washington St. Not Arizona were talking about here. FGCU coach and Pitino for Minnesota are a few examples. FCS has nothing to do with bball. It happens every season

          • The Pitino name and Phillips name don’t really carry the same clout in the basketball world of coaching.

        • Yes GS, you’re right. I’m sure Wazzu fans are just DYING to hire a small conference coach whose taken his program to two NCAA Tournaments.

          Oh wait, that’s who they just fired in Ken Bone!

  3. Bye bye Saul. The cupboard is bare next year, any opening he’s offered and he’s out

    • The cupboards hardly bare. They will be much younger but there is still some good talent on the team and some nice looking recruits coming in next year. Probably won’t be dancing for 2-3 years again. But you never know, it’s BB, it only takes 1-2 great players to win games.

      I think if NDSU wins a game or 2, Saul will probably be gone. He maybe even if they lose to OU. I think anyone offered 2-3 times their current salary would be hard pressed to turn it down. Good luck to him!

    • I don’t think the cupboard is bare. They’ll have one of the better backcourts in the league next year with Alexander and Brown. Obviously they lose a lot of size. But the Shanley kid and Dupree are good young ones to build around.

      Plus, it is the Summit League. It’s not that hard to contend in the Summit. Look at how bad Denver and USD were, and yet they were still 4th and 5th and even managed (or came close in USD’s case) to beat NDSU. Especially in a one bid league, the regular season is pretty meaningless. It’s all about how you play in the conference tourney.

      • The Summit league is a difficult league for this region. Plus the addition of Oral Roberts next year will bump this league up as well. Regular season winning is huge for tourny seed as well. Only having to play 2 games instead of three over a three day period is a HUGE advantage.

        • Yes ORU is tough but c’mon. They never won a tourney title in Sioux Falls. And the two day thing was a one year only deal. The 09 team made it. There’s no excuse for a program like NDSU to NOT be in the top 5 of the league year in and year out. If you’re in that top 5 you’ll have a good shot to win the title at the tournament.

      • One need only to look at Cal Poly….Wow, 7th seed in the conference tourney and won it. Won their play in game. Even if they won the whole damn thing, they wouldn’t have a winning record.

    • I agree…bye bye. NDSU athletics are merely a stepping stone for coaches that want to coach at the next level. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, good up and coming coaches will always be lined up for NDSU coaching openings. Fargo is not the destination for a top coach and neither is the Summit and FCS coaching pay scale.

      • Agree Bigtime. We do not have the media budget to pay these coaches what they need to stay. And that’s understandable for this region. I hold nothing against Bohl leaving or Saul if he does. (which I do believe will be the case) You need a big league to get the budget you need to pay the coaches. The Summit has no media deal except Midco. That is not enough.

        • There is no media budget because there is no demand for NDSU athletic viewing outside of the regsion. Can’t charge advertisers enough to make money with such a low fan base number. Unfortunately, fan enthusiasm does not equate to the programs revenue.

  4. Saul is gone, which is fine, that stuff hapens. Next man up as they say. McDermott, Miles, Kemp and soon Phillips all have found the greener paths. And they say NDSU is only a fball school

    We could be SDSU where nobody wants our coaches……

  5. Geez “GS”, do we have your permission to post anything realistic or do you prefer to keep living in candy land?

    Getting to the Dance andwinning is not a great measure of a coach. Plenty of guys did that, got a payday at the next level and were fired within a few years. Same logic for why you should never reward a coach with a big raise if he makes a miracle conference tourney run. Teams get hot in March.

    Besides which, the guy they just canned at Wazzu had come from Portland State after a six year stint. They’d look at Saul as basically the same type of guy. Considering their last major coaching hire in a money sport was Mike Leach in football, pretty sure hoops folks want a name too.

  6. Shut up about coaching changes. It’s time to win this dam game fellas let’s rock these sooners

  7. Just an FYI its a good thing when larger programs want our coaches….Means we are an up and coming Institution oh yeah and winning! The next young talented coach looking to punch his or her ticket will come along and repeat the process.

    I hope SP goes the way of TM—- two in a row is good for SU!!!!

  8. Anybody know if the game is available to Cable None customers anywhere? I’m in Spokane and my wife would like to be able to watch it. (Plus I want to dvr it.)

  9. Go Bison! All of FM, North Dakota and the region will be watching you!! The Bison are the only team from the 3 state area in the NCAA National Tournament.

    • Automatic bids are a wonderful thing. Half the teams are in based on their season schedule and competition and half are in for winning a small regional tournament! That is why the NCAA basketball tournament is viewed by such a huge fan group instead of just the top ten big conference program’s fan base.

  10. Better call Saul!

    Big win for NDSU. Go Bison! Big win for the Summit! Only team in 4 states still in!

    Go Bison!!!

  11. I’m numb……….. WOW……………..

    All of this athletic success is priceless.

    NDSU athletics is a national story.

    WOW…………

  12. So the guy above who said the cupboard would be bare? I answered that the Bison had Lawrence Alexander & Carlin Dupree back.

    Yeah, the future is in good hands too even when this great present ends.

  13. Bison Nation, be proud, our football and basketball teams play their hearts off. I have never been more proud to be an alumni. Bring on the next victim!!!!

  14. Still wondering why my innocent question about tv coverage was moderated and this venomous crap gets posted. Was I banned and don’t know it? Give me a break.

  15. JT I don’t know what you said but even TV stations in the cities didn’t cover in the 10 sports kinda weird not even scores. If it was about covering the game itself I was surprirised when they said the it wouldn’t be shown because cable one doesn’t carry Tru TV ,that the KXJB station couldn’t show it.