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Minnesota Basketball: Previewing North Dakota

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Gophers look for first winning streak of season against the Hawks

Kristin Ostrowski (University of Minnesota)

Minnesota temporarily righted the ship and rekindled their offensive spirit in a blowout win over Central Michigan on Thursday, defeating the Chippewas 82-57 and seeing newcomers Marcus Carr and Payton Willis lead with way with 19 and 18 points, respectively. The Gophers flashed their shooting prowess after three games of dismal offensive output, shooting 50 percent from the field and hitting 14 of 30 three pointers, which nearly eclipsed the team record of 16.

It was a refreshing win for the Gophers who had fallen on tough times thanks to a brutal early season schedule that took them on the road for three straight games, which netted them zero wins and a ton of character building.

Now, the Gophers are settled in for a four-game home stand where they’ll get a chance at power conference retribution against DePaul and Clemson.

North Dakota is up first, and the Fighting Sioux Hawks have had trouble finding their footing this season, sitting at 1-3 and on a three-game losing streak. They present another very beatable opponent for the Gophers

Essentials:

Who are the Gophers playing?

North Dakota Fighting Hawks (1-3)

What time are they playing?

Sunday, Nov. 24 @ 6 p.m. CT

Where are they playing?

Williams Arena

Can I watch the game on TV?

Yes, BTN.

Can I listen to the game on the radio?

Yes, KTLK 1130-AM/103.5-FM

Tell me more about the opponent.

As North Dakota works to find a basketball identity, freshman coach Paul Sather will have his hands full when the Hawks arrive at Williams Arena. North Dakota is still finding its footing after a recent reclassification to D-I basketball and it’s inaugural season in the Summit League last year left something to be desired as the team struggled to 12-18 finish overall. The outlook isn’t altogether positive this year either, as UND is projected to finish in the bottom tier of the Summit. The Hawks are a small team and will likely struggle to keep up with Daniel Oturu in the front court.

The Hawks are 1-3 on the season, with their lone victory coming over St. Bonifacius’ own Crown College. Sophomore forward Filip Rebraca leads the Hawks in points (17.8), rebounds (9.8) and blocks (2.8) per game, one of three UND players to average double-digit scoring. Rebraca has three double-doubles on the year, tied for eighth nationally, and his 73.2 percent field goal shooting is seventh in the nation as of Nov. 22, tops among all Summit League players. He is also the leading shot blocker and second leading rebounder among Summit players thus far this season.

The Gophers are 1-0 all-time against North Dakota and 70-3 against Summit League teams overall.

Predictions

North Dakota is not a good team and should struggle to keep up with the Gophers. Minnesota, an 18-point favorite, should win going away.

I’ll take the Gophers by 15.