University of North Dakota men's basketball prepares to take on Wisconsin
GRAND FORKS -- Two seasons ago, the University of North Dakota faced a Wisconsin team with two future NBA players -- 7-footer Frank Kaminsky and guard Sam Dekker.
GRAND FORKS - Two seasons ago, the University of North Dakota faced a Wisconsin team with two future NBA players - 7-footer Frank Kaminsky and guard Sam Dekker.
In that 2013 game, Kaminsky scored a school-record 43 points, leading the Badgers to a 103-85 win at the Kohl Center.
Tonight, UND returns to Madison to play Wisconsin - minus Kaminsky, now with the Charlotte Hornets, and Dekker, who plays for Houston.
Though the two Wisconsin standouts have moved on, it still won’t be easy for UND as the Badgers - last year’s national runner up to Duke - again are expected to contend for the Big Ten title.
And it doesn’t help UND that Wisconsin (1-1) dropped its season opener against Western Illinois on Friday night.
“There is nothing like it when you can play at a place like that,” said UND junior guard Quinton Hooker, who started for North Dakota two seasons ago in Madison. “It makes you play a little bit harder.”
Two seasons ago, UND put up 85 points against a disciplined Wisconsin team coached by Bo Ryan. UND had one of its more athletic teams two seasons ago when they played Wisconsin. This season’s team, from early indications, could match the athleticism of two seasons ago.
Tonight, however, will be about discipline, said UND coach Brian Jones.
“We’ll have to be disciplined and value the basketball,” said Jones. “We have to guard a team that doesn’t turn it over much. We have to be ultra aggressive but at the same time be very disciplined on both sides of the ball.
“It could be a great learning tool for all of our guys because of the success Wisconsin has had. They do things the right way because they know about the things that get you beat.”
After losing its opener to Western Illinois, Wisconsin rebounded Sunday for a 92-65 win over Siena. Prior to the loss, Wisconsin was ranked No. 17 in the AP top 25 poll.
The Badgers will be led by 6-foot-4 guard Bronson Koenig, who averaged 20 points in Wisconsin’s first two games.
Athleticism aside, UND will bring one of its youngest teams in the past decade to Madison. Only Hooker and sophomore center Carson Shanks have played extensively for UND.
“It might be a shock at first for those (younger) guys, but they’ll be all right,” said Hooker.
Six UND players hit double figures in the team’s 99-69 season-opening win over Division III Minnesota-Morris on Friday.
True freshman Cortez Seales led the way with 27 points.
“I think the game will be a great experience as well as a great learning experience,” said Seales.