It’s the annual North Dakota State vs. the University of Minnesota men’s basketball game later today.
Make sure to check out my Forum colleague Mike McFeely’s Sports Show on WDAY Radio (970 AM) at 10 a.m. today if you’re not reading this too late. Mike will be live from stories Williams Arena with The Forum’s NDSU men’s hoops beat reporter Kevin Schnepf. Guests include NDSU forward Brett Winkelman and Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan.
The teams are meeting for the fourth straight season. None of the games have been close, yet every year I think that will be different.
2005: Minnesota 70, NDSU 57 – Vincent Grier leads UM with 21 points.
2006: Minnesota 63, NDSU 49 – Lawrence McKenzie has 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Gophers. Andre Smith had 17 and 17 for the Bison in a notable effort.
2007: Minnesota 88, NDSU 56 – An ugly game, with five Gophers scoring in double figures.
So in keeping with tradition, I’m going to say this game is going to be closer than people think. I’ve watched the Gophers a few times this year and haven’t been that impressed. Having said that, NDSU’s loss to Idaho last week wasn’t impressive either, but the Bison did bounce back strong against Northern Arizona.
To say this would be a high-scoring game would seem like as good of an idea as me live blogging the game from my couch. Could you imagine how magical that would be?
Ben Woodside passes cross-court to Brett Winkelman, who drives past Jamal Abu-Shamala and pulls up from 18 feet… good. What a shot by …. Doh! I just spilled pizza sauce on my Zubaz. That stain’s not coming out.
So now for my prediction. The Gophers have tightened up defensively since allowing 80 to St. Cloud State in their preseason opener. I think NDSU should score more than they have in the previous meetings of this series, but it’s hard to see the Bison going off for 80 points.
Here’s my guess: Minnesota 75, North Dakota State 65. Should be closer than recent seasons. Now I know I’ve done well with predictions in the past, but don’t be afraid to take NDSU in this matchup. The Gophers haven’t blown out teams like Georgia State and Bowling Green this season, so you never know. That’s why they play the game.