But there was more then Football to discuss from the NDSU athletics department this week!
The Bison men's Basketball team may have claim of the biggest surprise from the past week. After a 19 point shellacking by UC Santa Barbara I thought they might get routed by twice that over the 40 minutes of game time against the Trojans. Not only did that not happen, they actually managed to keep the game competitive. For now I'm going to chalk that up to USC taking them lightly or maybe not being as good as their current ranking. Until the Bison prove otherwise, I'm just dubious about their chances this season. That said, their next chance to get a W came on Friday night as they went into Missouri State's house and snuck away with a three point victory. The chatter was that the Bears are a preseason favorite in the Missouri Valley. IF Mo State turns out to be good enough to knock off Northern Iowa then that would be an impressive victory for the Bison. Only time will tell on all that though. For now I'm just going to call it win 1 of 15 this year.
The ladies of Basketball had a pair of games this weekend. On Friday night against UMass and today against Valley City. The fact that they defeated Massachusetts by a wider margin then they did VCSU to me means that they were playing with different rotations and getting bench players more time today but I didn't tune in for either action so that's just speculation. What isn't spec is that they are 4 - 0 for the first time in a long time and well on their way to the 17 wins that I think they'll have to their credit this season.
The Big 12 faction went three days in a row with competition Friday - Sunday. First came Iowa and the results were not even close for the Bison. On Saturday they took part in an open at Concordia but no results were reported. And today they faced of with Northern Iowa but were defeated by a two point margin. That's an improvement but I can't imagine that UNI has as quality of talent as a Big 10 school so that can't be overlooked.
Fourth & finally, the Volleyball team managed to advance to the second round of the Summit League tournament but fell 3 - 0 to host Denver on Saturday. That all but assures that their season is over, but with a 19 - 9 final record it was far from a failure!
The pups are growing up. For the first time in recent memory the Timberwolves did to another team what has been done to them a sickeningly high number of times - humiliating a terrible team! After falling behind by 12 at halftime against the high lottery bound Mavericks, they stormed out of the locker room and pulled ahead by the end of the third quarter then continued to run over them on the way to a 24 point victory. Needing only one half to not just beat a team but utterly dismantle them. That's playoff type stuff. That's elite team type performance. The trick is not to make it a one night show but to do it at every opportunity on the way to a 50, 55 or 60 win season. And everything they did is repeatable so the hype will be justified. The expectations may actually be lived up to!! Which historically would be precisely when the team goes on a 5 game losing streak, if not longer, so they need to defeat Detroit and show that they're coming together 5 games ahead of the first quarter poll!
The Dragons week kicked off against their Western Moorhead neighbors for a wrestling set that the Cobbers managed to steal. Then they headed to Nebraska for an open
The men's Basketball team went from zero to 60 as they hosted a season opening tournament, including a pair of games on Friday & Saturday, both of which they were victorious in. In contrast the ladies faced off against a single opponent during the week, as #21 Michigan Tech rolled into Moorhead on Thursday and rolled out with a 13 point victory. They also managed to squeeze in a sunset showdown against Northern Michigan today and *
All week I waited for an announcement of Concordia in the division three playoffs. The waiting was rewarded with the realization that they were excluded from the festivities. There really isn't any consolation for it but maybe the closest thing for the Football team is that the two teams that defeated them made the field & St. Thomas struck gold against Eureka. So I'd imagine that the Cobbers weren't too far away from being in the mix but the question going into next year is how do they get better then what they were this season? We'll just have to wait and see about that! For right now, it's too bad that a group with the accomplishments that this year's iteration had wasn't able to put themselves in a position to compete for a championship!
It also means that Winter sports are now at center stage.
That lot's week of action started with a Moorhead matchup as the Cobbers drove the four or five blocks to MSUM for some wrestling. Which went the way of the visitors. The Wrestlers then took part in an open in their confines, with a mixed bag of results.
Meanwhile, over on the hard wood the Basketball teams got after it with a five spot of contests between the men & women. The ladies won their week, against Morris on Wednesday and Redlands on Saturday with a loss on Friday to Chapman. The guys managed to stay perfect through two games, against Morris on Wednesday and Bethany Lutheran on Saturday. Football may be far from over for much of the country but as the weather turns is great to have something to go inside for around Fargo/Moorhead!
The men's Hockey team went 1-1-1 while the women went loss/tie. Side bar, raise your hand if you think ties are stupid. My hands up and hopefully yours is too. And now I'm realizing that it's a lot tougher typing with one hand! But that's how Hockey and Soccer choose to roll, part of why they'll never be top tier sports in the American landscape.
And lastly, the Swimming/Diving team got steam rolled in their lone competition of the month 160 - 75. The fact that the Cobbers have that offering would be pretty great, if they could get an Olympics level competitor but that seems like a longer shot then their Football fellows being allowed into the playoffs which is to say that it won't happen.