After taking a few days off, the SCGD is back today with a game between two teams that should be amongst the best in their respective conferences…and an in-state rivalry on top of that. It was not very long ago that the state of North Dakota was not even mentioned in Division I sports, without a single school competing at the top level. Today, the state has both North Dakota and North Dakota State in Division I and both schools are amongst the best in their conferences (the Big Sky for UND and the Summit League for NDSU). North Dakota State has also become a powerhouse in football, where they should be the top seed in the FCS tournament when its bracket is announced today.
These two programs will meet at UND’s home court in Grand Forks, North Dakota at 6:00 PM Eastern today for their fourth ever encounter as Division I foes (television coverage on MidcoSN and Fox College Sports-Pacific). While the North Dakota State Bison hold a 2-1 edge in matchups since both teams moved to Division I, UND leads the all-time series 158-128 — a series that dates back to 1905.
The North Dakota State Bison enter today’s game with a 2-2 record, coming off a road win over Western Michigan after losing at St. Mary’s and losing a one point heartbreaker at home to Southern Miss. They have been led so far by Taylor Braun’s 16 points per game and TrayVonn Wright’s 13.5 Points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
The University of North Dakota is playing only its third game of the season, having defeated non-D1 Minnesota-Morris before losing at Wisconsin 103-85 last time out. That game was notable for the Badgers having hit triple digits for the first time in over a decade. UND has also been putting up points so far though, as senior Troy Huff led the way with 37 against Wisconsin.
The other notable fact about North Dakota is that it is the lone school in Division I without a team nickname. The school retired its Fighting Sioux name before last season after an extensive fight with the NCAA about it, but pursuant to state legislation cannot adopt a new nickname until 2015. So for now, they are simply the University of North Dakota.