March Madness

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview: (4) San Diego State vs. (12) North Dakota State

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(4) San Diego State Aztecs
Going up against a New Mexico State team that features the 7’5, 355 lbs. Sim Bhullar and the 6’10 265 lbs. Tshilidzi Nephawe on the frontline, the Aztecs literally had their hands full on Thursday night. They never trailed in the contest, but did give up a 22-10 run in the second half that led to the game being sent into overtime by a deep three from Kevin Aronis off of an offensive rebound. In the extra session, though, Xavier Thames refused to let the Aztecs get upset, scoring five of his team’s 13 in OT to help secure the 73-69 victory. He finished with a game-high 23 points to go along with his team high five dimes. The Aggies will look back at this game and blame their poor free throw shooting more than anything as they went 12-20 from the line. Luckily for the Aztecs frontline, they be towered over like that again the rest of the tournament. Despite the size advantage the Aggies had, Josh Davis still managed record a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds. In the Round of 32 the Aztecs have a much more traditional matchup against the upset-minded Bison. The Aztecs need to improve offensively in the next round after shooting under 40 percent from the field and three, but look for their top-ranked defense to have far more success in slowing down the Bison’s potent offensive attack than the Sooners’ defense did.

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(12) North Dakota State Bison
Coming into the tournament the Bison were favored by many to pull off the upset against Oklahoma, but the Sooners put up one heck of a fight. They went down swinging, but did eventually go down as the Bison topped them 80-75 in overtime. Taylor Braun, the top scoring threat for the Bison, was the focal point of the Sooners’ defensive game plan. They weren’t going to let him beat them. With his quality looks few and far between, Lawrence Alexander capitalized. He scored a game high 28 points, including an overtime-forcing trey with 11 seconds remaining, while also grabbing eight rebounds and handing out four assists – both team highs. The Sooners were led by Cameron Clark’s 25. The Bison won the battle of the boards by two and made 20-22 from the free throw line. The unsung hero of the game was Carlin Dupree, who came off of the bench to score four quick points late in overtime after Taylor Braun fouled out. Two areas where the Bison are going to have to be better in is defensive rebounding and taking care of the basketball. They allowed the Sooners to grab 18 offensive rebounds and turned it over 15 times. That’s a recipe for disaster against an opportunistic Aztecs’ defense in the Round of 32.

Interested betting on the North Dakota team? – Don’t miss out on reading our guide about sports betting in North Dakota first!