Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at www.bisonmedia.areavoices.com. On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.
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FARGO — It looks more like a complicated college math class project than possible results of men's basketball standings tiebreakers. You practically need a professor to dissect the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet the Summit League put out on possible scenarios resulting from the games on Saturday. The Summit has one day left in the regular season and about the only thing that has been decided is ninth-place Oral Roberts will not make the eight-team postseason conference tournament. Otherwise, just about every seed is up for grabs.
FARGO—The North Dakota State athletic department now has a clear picture on the reductions it will be facing: It will lose $800,000 in state funding. NDSU will have to find more than $400,000 in each of the next two years in either cuts or additional revenue to make up for a reduction in state appropriations. The athletic department receives $2.1 million in state funding and school President Dean Bresciani said Wednesday, Feb. 22, 40 percent of that will be cut in this biennium. It's part of the directive by the North Dakota Legislature to cut higher education costs.
FARGO — As senior days go, this one will be hard to top as long as the building exists. And the Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex still has that shiny new car smell having been open for just one season. North Dakota State gave Dexter Werner and Carlin Dupree something to remember with a double-overtime barn burner against Western Illinois Saturday afternoon before 4,696 very loud fans. The 100-91 men's basketball win kept the Bison in a first place tie in the Summit League at 10-4 in the conference and 18-9 overall.
FARGO — Former North Dakota State head basketball coach Saul Phillips and his assistant at the time, Dave Richman, were sitting in the stands at an AAU tournament in Milwaukee when the kid with the Charles Barkley frame was dominating play. Their first thought: How is this possible? Dexter Werner wasn't exactly crushing the competition in North Dakota high school basketball after all. He had just been to the NDSU team camp that summer of 2012 and Phillips said the Bison coaches told Werner that he could walk on to the team.
FARGO — When it became apparent North Dakota State head football coach Chris Klieman was looking for an offensive coordinator, the job wasn't open for very long. Maybe a few seconds, at the most. There wasn't even a need to interview Courtney Messingham, most likely because there is nothing Klieman didn't know about him. They've been friends since they played on the same youth baseball team in fifth and sixth grade in Waterloo, Iowa, and hardly a month went by since both got into coaching in the early 1990s that they didn't talk to each other.
FARGO — The 1,000-point club at North Dakota State inducted two more members on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 11. Juniors A.J. Jacobson and Paul Miller both reached the milestone in career points, but the Bison effort was far from a two-man show. And it really wasn't about offense.
FARGO—The shot heard around the state—a directive to the North Dakota Legislature to cut higher education costs—will most likely be felt in the athletic department at North Dakota State. But the aftershocks are expected to be minimal to the point the general public may not even notice. In other words, no sports will be cut. "That's off the table, 100 percent," said athletic director Matt Larsen.
FARGO — Whatever was pulling the North Dakota State first-place Summit League train off the tracks was figured out on Wednesday night, Feb. 8. The Bison left Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex with all aboard. Center Dexter Werner, the Bison men's basketball conductor, did enough offensively with 12 points but more importantly defensively didn't let SDSU star Mike Daum take control of the show. The 6-foot-9 Summit scoring leader still had his points, but the Bison had more around Werner in taking an 82-65 victory before 4,805 fans.
FARGO—The North Dakota State softball team lost so much from last season that you have to wonder if head coach Darren Mueller had trouble recognizing his team on the first day of practice. It will be major test for one of the top mid-major Division I programs in the country to see if it can immediately reload. Of the few players that are returning, three are its top two pitchers and the other is the starting catcher, who happens to be the team's only senior. Alyssa Reina said she's ready for the leadership challenge.
FARGO—As long as fax machines are part of National Signing Day, the direct connection between the North Dakota State football office and the states of North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin will forever be active. It's where the Bison concentrate their recruiting efforts and it's where the bulk of its roster calls home.