For the second consecutive season Lon Kruger is taking the Sooners dancing into March Madness. Fresh off a 23-9 record and a second place regular season finish in the Big Twelve Oklahoma has drawn the #5 season in the West Region and will be playing in Thursday's opening round against #12 North Dakota State. As the Sooners get ready to head to Spokane there's a lot that you should know about their first-round opponent.
The Bison Are Riding High - North Dakota State hasn't lost since February 1st when they play at Denver. Since that 67-63 setback the Bison have reeled off nine consecutive wins, which is their longest streak of the season.
They Are Also Conference Champs To The Second Power - Their 25-6 record was the best record in the Summit League, and their 12-2 conference record was good enough to win the regular season title. Included in their 9-game winning streak was a run through the conference tournament as well.
These Kids Can Shoot The Ball - The Bison are shooting nation's best 51% from the floor and 36% from three-point range. Senior forward Marshall Bjorklund is averaging 13.4 points per game and is shooting 63% from the floor. Senior guard Taylor Braun is averaging 18.2 points per game and is shooting 49% from the floor.
Four Bison Players Are Averaging In Double Figures - In addition to Bjorklund and Braun, senior forward TrayVonn Wright (11.5 PPG) and junior guard Lawrence Alexander (10.8 PPG) are also averaging double digit scoring.
NDSU's Schedule Is A Bit Suspect - The Summit League isn't necessarily a basketball power conference but the Bison did post a very respectful 12-2 record. The likes of South Dakota State, Denver and Nebraska-Omaha are a far cry from the bodies that Oklahoma has been stacking up against on a regular basis in the Big XII. North Dakota State has played just one Top 25 opponent this season, a game they dropped 79-62 to then #3 Ohio State.
The Bison Are Looking For Their First NCAA Tournament Win - This is just the second appearance for NDSU in the big dance. They were bounced by Kansas, 84-74, in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The Bison have also lost in the first round of the CBI in 2012 (76-75 to Wyoming) and 2013 (72-71 to Western Michigan) making them winless in post season tournaments since taking the step up from Division II.
There Will Be A Lot Of Yellow And Green In The Building - When the Bison played Kansas in 2009 over 10,000 North Dakota State fans made the trip to Minneapolis to cheer their team on. They will be noticeable and loud Thursday night in Spokane.
While the Bison are looking for their first NCAA tournament win when they face Oklahoma on Thursday night the Sooners will have some demons of their own to try to exercise. Lon Kruger has yet to win a postseason game since coming to Oklahoma and the Sooners are looking for their first NCAA Tournament win since 2009.