MEN'S BASKETBALL: UND enters championship game with confidence
OGDEN, Utah -- Teams with size have given UND problems all season. Weber State has size, considerable size. The perennial Big Sky Conference power also will have the advantage of an estimated 6,000 fans backing them as well. So, UND certainly won...
OGDEN, Utah - Teams with size have given UND problems all season.
Weber State has size, considerable size. The perennial Big Sky Conference power also will have the advantage of an estimated 6,000 fans backing them as well.
So, UND certainly won’t come in as the favorite in Friday’s championship game of the Big Sky Conference tournament with a berth in the NCAA tournament on the line.
Weber has been in this position before, numerous times as one of the Big Sky heavyweights.
UND is the newcomer to the Big Sky and Division I. Only in its second season in the Big Sky, however, UND has made it to the semifinals last season and championship game this season.
And UND has another credit to its resume.
UND’s seven seniors are a combined 8-1 in postseason play, with two Great West Conference championships.
“This group is good in tournament play,” said UND coach Brian Jones. “They know how to win.”
And Jones said it’s a special group, one that committed itself as freshmen.
“These guys said yes to us when we were a transitional Division I program,” said Jones. “They want a chance to play for the Big Dance. I’m excited for them and I’m proud of them.”
Still, Weber will have all the advantages tonight.
Jones was asked about Weber’s size after UND’s 79-63 win over Portland State in Friday night’s semifinal round.
“They have the size but I say they have a matchup problem with us because of our quickness,” said Jones.
Weber State survived in its semifinal game, beating Northern Colorado 66-63 in overtime despite losing an 11-point lead in the second half.
Weber, which will be making its 16th appearance in the title game, has never lost to UND, giving the Wildcats yet another advantage.
Weber coach Randy Rahe, however, wasn’t buying any of the perceived advantages. His team has lost the past two Big Sky title games.
“North Dakota has come together and they’re playing for the better cause,” said Rahe. “Whatever happened before, it really doesn’t matter. Tomorrow is a whole different entity. We have to come ready to play, be aggressive and see what happens.”