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OMAHA, Neb. — Creighton men's basketball is the big show in Omaha. The Bluejays, coached by former University of North Dakota assistant Greg McDermott, regularly play before more than 17,000 fans at the CenturyLink Center. The Bluejays already have played four teams ranked in the AP Top 25 poll this season and are in the mix to compete for the Big East title. Tonight, UND will be in the national spotlight as the Fighting Hawks take on Creighton and McDermott, who still has ties to Grand Forks and UND.
GRAND FORKS — Minutes after the University of North Dakota beat Sacramento State for the Big Sky Conference, Fighting Hawks volleyball coach Mark Pryor knew where his team was headed for the first round of the NCAA Tournament. To no one's surprise, UND will play at Minnesota on Friday night, Dec. 1, in the first round of the tournament. The NCAA released the pairings Sunday night. In fact, minutes after UND won the Big Sky, Pryor said he received a text from Minnesota coach Hugh McCutcheon saying, "See you in two weeks."
GRAND FORKS — The shots didn't fall for the University of North Dakota on Saturday, Nov. 25, against Utah Valley. Everything else, however, was in place for the Fighting Hawks—good defense, rebounding and effort. Until the shots do fall, though, UND may find itself in some tough games—like the one against Utah Valley, an up-and-coming mid-major program that prides itself on playing any team, any place, any time.
GRAND FORKS — Like the University of North Dakota, Utah Valley is a mid-major men's basketball program. Like UND, Utah Valley also needs to play guarantee—or money games—on the road—usually against Power 5 programs. But Utah Valley may have taken guarantee games to a new level earlier this season. UND hosts Utah Valley Saturday, Nov. 25, at The Betty in perhaps one of the more difficult home games for the Hawks this season. Utah Valley is 3-2 this season, with its losses coming at No. 8 Kentucky and No. 1 Duke.
GRAND FORKS—The University of North Dakota started its season with three games in Hawaii. Then, the Fighting Hawks played Big Ten member Nebraska two days ago before more than 10,000 fans. UND's home opener came Tuesday night against Northland College of Ashland, Wis., a Division III program. The game didn't have the buzz of a trip to Hawaii or a shot against a Big Ten team. That may have had something to do with UND's sluggish start. When reality sunk in, however, UND responded and cruised to a 79-48 win before 1,570 fans at The Betty.
LINCOLN, Neb.—When the University of North Dakota men's basketball team plays a Big Ten team—or any program from a Power 5 conference—the Fighting Hawks usually will be undersized. That's a given in the life of a mid-major men's basketball program. "We're always going to be undersized," said UND's 6-foot-7 center Conner Avants. "We just have to deal with it; make a living against it by using pump fakes, drives and kick-outs and the like."
LINCOLN, Neb.—The University of North Dakota men's basketball team left Hawaii last week with two wins and a loss. The loss came by three points against host Hawaii. All in all, UND couldn't have asked for much more from its appearance in the Rainbow Classic, considering the Fighting Hawks opened the season with seven new players. "This team plays with a lot of energy and we have guys who never quit," said UND junior Geno Crandall, whose 41 points in a win against Troy highlighted the trip. "We got down early in a couple of games, but we found a way to fight back."
GRAND FORKS — No one play usually defines a win or loss in college football. But one play did stand out in Sacramento State's 34-27 Big Sky Conference win over the University of North Dakota on Saturday, Ocgt. 21, before 9,259 fans at the Alerus Center. UND trailed 10-0 in the second quarter before tying the game on a Reid Taubenheim 41-yard field goal and Brady Oliveira's 15-yard scoring run. UND's defense then forced a Sacramento State three-and-out, highlighted by Brandon Dranka's sack on third-and-11.
GRAND FORKS—The University of North Dakota hopes to have a new athletic director in place by the end of December, said UND President Mark Kennedy. Brian Faison, the school's athletic director since 2008, announced his retirement Tuesday. He will retire Dec. 31 but will serve as a special adviser to UND athletics from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2018. The next athletic director will be UND's 15th since 1903.
GRAND FORKS—The University of North Dakota wasn't picked to win the Big Sky Conference men's basketball race last season. But the Fighting Hawks surprised many, winning the league's regular-season title and the postseason championship to earn the program's first berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Hawks return only two starters from that 22-win team. So it's no surprise UND isn't picked to win the league again this season.