The North Dakota State (NDSU) Bison, from the Summit League, are 5-5 heading into tonight’s matchup against Arizona. They are traveling to Tucson after a 101-58 win against Valley City State on December 12th. On November 13th they played and lost to USC 75-65.
#2 Paul Miller 6’4″ G (Sr.)
#11 Jared Samuelson 6’3″ G (So.)
#24 Tyson Ward 6’6″ G (So.)
#21 A.J. Jacobson 6’6″ G (Sr.)
#30 Spencer Eliason 6’9″ F (Jr.)
Off the bench: #42 Dylan Miller 6’8″ F (Jr.), #23 Deng Geu 6’8″ F (So.), #34 Rocky Kreuser 6’9″ F (Fr.), #22 Cameron Hunter 6’3″ G (Fr.), #13 Khy Kabellis 6’5″ G (So.).
Offense: NDSU mainly worked from 3 offensive sets: a perimeter weave, high pick-and-roll, and perimeter pick-and-pop. They had good floor spacing and moved the ball very well around the perimeter. They were patient and rarely took forced or bad shots.
Defense: Half-court man to man for the entire game against Valley City. The guards would occasionally switch on perimeter ball screens, and they played good overall team defense.
Strengths: Good team chemistry and well coached. NDSU was very disciplined and patient on offense. They were deceptively quick and #2 Miller is a very versatile and tough player, leading the team in points, rebounding, and assists with 16, 6, and 4.
Weaknesses: Very poor offensive rebounding–of the 351 Division 1 teams, NDSU ranks 346th in that category. They do not get to the foul line very often either. Overall not a highly athletic team.
Summary: This is a solid team that plays well together. They are led by #2 Miller (also leading the team averaging 32 minutes per game and 13 shot attempts) but do have a couple of athletic and versatile players in #24 Ward and #23 Geu, both of whom were very active offensively and got to the rim in their game against Valley City. #21 Jacobson and # 11 Samuelson provide very good 3 point shooting at 56% and 42%. Both are attempting about 4 shots per game from behind the arc. The bigs #30 Eliason, #42 Dylan Miller, and #34 Kreuser seem interchangeable with the exception of #34 Kreuser being able and willing to step out and shoot from the perimeter.
Keys for Arizona: The Cats have a definite size and athleticism advantage in this match-up. NDSU may have to mix in some zone defense in this game if they have trouble defending and rebounding. Now that Rawle Alkins is back–and hasn’t seemed to miss a beat while seamlessly integrating his skills into this year’s team–the Cats can rely on their Big 3 of Ayton, Trier, and Alkins to take control of this game early. The Cats are 5th in the NCAA with a 52% field-goal percentage and should be able to dominate the glass against a poor rebounding NDSU team. PJC against NDSU’s best player, #2 Paul Miller, will be a key matchup to watch as Miller is an integral part of NDSU’s offense.