North Dakota Men's Basketball 2017 NCAA Tournament Capsule


North Dakota Fighting Hawks

Big Sky (22-9, 14-4)

After five trips to the CIT in six years, North Dakota finally broke through and won a Big Sky regular season title. Long-time head coach Brian Jones brought back five starters from last year’s team and that experience really paid off in a tight race for the conference title.
Big Wins: 11/27 vs CSU Bakersfield (57-55), 12/7 at North Dakota State (74-56), 2/9 Eastern Washington (95-86)
Bad Losses: 12/29 at Portland State (62-99), 1/28 at Northern Arizona (67-68), 3/2 Sacramento State (53-57)
Coach: Brian Jones
Why They Can Surprise:
With Quinton Hooker and Geno Crandall leading the way, the Fighting Hawks have a very potent offense. Hooker, a 6-0 senior, leads the team with 19.1 points per game and is a major scoring threat from anywhere on the floor. He is a very consistent outside shooter and connects on 43.6 percent of his three-point attempts. Hooker is capable of some massive outings and he is more than capable of dropping 30 or more points against any competition. And that is the type of game UND will need out of their superstar. Crandall has turned into more than just a point guard. He still does a great job distributing, but he can also score in bunches. Hooker and Crandall also lead a very good defensive effort that results in quite a few steals and easy buckets.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Corey Baldwin will join Hooker in shooting from long range, but this is not a team that relies heavily on the three-point shot. That is perfectly fine in the Big Sky, but sometimes in the tournament an underdog like North Dakota needs to stretch things out and change momentum with a quick spurt of points. Corey Baldwin is a capable shooter and Coach Jones will hope he is having a good day. The frontcourt lacks a major presence in the paint too. Carson Shanks is a big 7-0, 245 pound center, but he is not a particularly strong rebounder or shot blocker. Drick Bernstine, a 6-8 junior, is a very versatile player who averages 7.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists. While he does a lot of things for this team, not many players at this level are going to shy away from attacking the basket because of this frontcourt.
Probable Starters:
Geno Crandall, Sophomore, Guard, 15.6 ppg, 4.3 apg, 4.1 rpg, 2.1 spg
Quinton Hooker, Senior, Guard, 19.1 ppg, 3.6 apg, 4.7 rpg, 1.8 spg
Corey Baldwin, Senior, Guard, 10.3 ppg, 1.3 apg
Conner Avants, Sophomore, Forward, 9.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg
Drick Bernstine, Junior, Forward, 7.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.5 apg
Key Role Players:
Cortez Seales, Sophomore, Guard, 8.7 ppg, 1.7 apg
Carson Shanks, Junior, Center, 5.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Josh Collins, Sophomore, Forward, 2.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 80.0 (38th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 72.6 (186, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.3 (22, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.3 (203, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.9 (221, 11)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.8 (57, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.6 (122, 7)
Rebound Margin: 1.2 (146, 3)
Assists Per Game: 15.1 (77, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.4 (210, 8)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2016    CIT      First Round loss to UC Irvine
2014    CIT      First Round loss to Nebraska-Omaha
2013    CIT      First Round loss to Northern Iowa
2012    CIT      First Round loss to Drake
2011    CIT      First Round loss to Air Force
*all team stats through 3/5