Saturday, December 7, 2013

UND Travels To Butler, Visits Historic Hinkle

*Here is a quick preview before you watch the game on Fox Sports 1 at 5 p.m.
*This is the first meeting between the two teams and the first time UND has ever played a Big East team.
*Butler is 5-2 as UND is 2-4.
*Butler is averaging 73 a ballgame while giving up 67.
*Butler went 14-2 on their home floor while the Bulldogs are 229-34 at Hinkle in the last 18 seasons.
*Both Butler losses have come by two points, both at the Old Spice Classic.
*Although not ranked, the Bulldogs look as if they might be that typical "Butler" team that will make a deep run into the NCAA Tournament.
*Let's talk x's and o's-
*Butler posts a great one, two punch in Kellen Dunham(6-6 Sophomore) and Khyle Marshall(6-6 Senior) Both players are coming off great performances at the Old Spice Tournament where Dunham dropped 32 against Washington State(Averaged 20 in the three tournament games) while Marshall dropped 30 against the Cougars(Averages 17 PPG, 7 RPG)
*The Bulldogs are pretty top heavy with these two but also get plenty of production from 6-9 Junior Kameron Woods who averages 11 and 9.
*The question is, who guards these guys? I don't think UND coach Brian Jones plays zone because of Dunham's ability to shoot the three (Attempts almost 7 a game) I think probably Huff gets Dunham, Nash guards Marshall.
*Kameron Woods is going to be today's difference maker. UND has to find someone who can guard the big man. When UND traveled to Wisconsin, I thought Kaminsky would have a big game because UND didn't have anyone who could match up with the 7-footer. Luckily, Woods won't fire up any threes but North Dakota must find a way to limit him in the paint. Getting him in foul trouble would be huge.
*I don't think UND goes zone but I say Butler does. UND struggled big time against the zone when Pacific threw it at them in Oregon. I'm sure the UND coaching staff is anticipating zone and practiced against it all week. Although a good outside shooting team, UND cannot rely on the three ball today. Yes, if Huff gets hot like he did at Wisconsin, you feed him the ball and let him shoot it. But the green and white must find a way to break down the zone by swinging the basketball and getting penetration in the paint(this could help with getting Woods in foul trouble)
*North Dakota must be ready to play defense. Marshall shoots 55 percent from the field which is the staple of Butler basketball-work the offense, get high percentage shots. It would be nice if UND threw on the press to speed the game up as UND wants to see over 160 points combined, Butler would take 100 points combined.
*I think UND puts together one of its best games of the year. It doesn't mean they're going to win but I think it is close. Another thing to keep in mind is Butler is not a great free throw shooting team(65%) so if it does go down to the wire, I think it helps UND.
*I'll say Butler wins it 83-76 but I wouldn't be shocked if North Dakota pulls off the upset. 

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