North Dakota State Men's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament Capsule

North Dakota State Bison
Summit League (25-6, 12-2)


North Dakota State is turning into a consistent postseason participant, yet they have yet to have any success. If it is going to happen, this will be the year. Coach Saul Phillips boasts six seniors in his regular eight man rotation, including superstar Taylor Braun. After two straight years of losing in the first round of the CBI, this group of seniors is ready to make a splash in a slightly better postseason tournament.

Big Wins: 11/20 at Western Michigan (83-74), 12/16 Delaware (85-66), 3/11 vs IPFW (60-57)
Bad Losses: 11/24 at North Dakota (77-95), 1/9 at IPFW (71-82), 2/1 at Denver (63-67)
Coach: Saul Phillips (7 seasons at North Dakota State)

Why They Can Surprise:
Braun can simply do it all. He has recorded double-doubles with points and assists and points and rebounds this season and is always a threat to eye a triple-double. He shoots 44.1 percent from long range and averages 18.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.6 steals. He has scored 30 or more points on four occasions this year…so far. But perhaps the most impressive thing about North Dakota State is that they do not have to rely on Braun’s scoring to win games. Early in the year against a decent Rider squad, the Bison won 87-70 despite just seven points from Braun. Much later in the year, Braun was just 1-for-6 from the floor and scored six points against a very good South Dakota State team. NDSU still won that contest that had huge Summit League title implications by 15 points. Guard Lawrence Alexander and forwards Marshall Bjorkland and TrayVonn Wright are double digit scorers who are more than capable of stepping up when needed.

Why They Can Disappoint:
The Bison will play pressure defense and are never afraid to go for steals. That often leads to easy buckets the other way, but it also leads to easy buckets the other way when the steal attempt comes up empty. The overall field-goal percentage defense is not bad, but that is not the same story when it comes to beyond the arc. There are not many teams in the nation that allow the opposition to shoot a higher percentage from three-point territory. Against teams with a lot of shooters, or even a squad with one or two shooters who are having a good day, North Dakota State will give up a lot of points in a hurry.

Probable Starters:
Lawrence Alexander, Junior, Guard, 10.8 ppg, 2.6 apg
Taylor Braun, Senior, Guard, 18.2 ppg, 3.9 apg, 5.5 rpg
Kory Brown, Sophomore, Guard, 6.8 ppg, 1.7 apg
Marshall Bjorklund, Senior, Forward, 13.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg
TrayVonn Wright, Senior, Forward, 11.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Jordan Aaberg, Senior, Forward, 3.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg
Mike Felt, Senior, Guard, 6.5 ppg
Chris Kading, Sophomore, Forward, 2.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.7 (46th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.2 (75, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 50.9 (1, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.6 (124, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.3 (262, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.0 (97, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.6 (24, 3)
Rebound Margin: 4.9 (38, 2)
Assists Per Game: 12.0 (226, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.1 (19, 2)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2013    CBI        First Round loss to Western Michigan
2012    CBI        First Round loss to Wyoming
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Kansas

*all team stats through 3/9


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules