Western Kentucky, North Dakota St. earn automatic NCAA bids

Orlando Mendez-Valdez has a cool name and was the Sun Belt player of the year.

Orlando Mendez-Valdez has a cool name and is the Sun Belt player of the year.

Watch out for Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are headed to the NCAA tournament for the second-straight season after knocking off South Alabama 64-56 to claim the Sun Belt tournament title.

WKU advanced to the second round last season by upsetting Drake, and could make a deeper run this season.

Last year’s star Courtney Lee is now in the NBA, but the Hilltoppers have terrific balance and a tremendous group of guards. Orlando Mendez-Valdez leads the way. He can score inside and out and is also a terrific passer. A.J. Slaughter was a role player last season but has really emerged this season.

Western Kentucky will likely be a 12 seed. Early season victories over then No. 3 Louisville and Southern Illinois make the Hilltoppers an attractive Cinderella team.

North Dakota wins Summit League behind Woodside

Ben Woodside sent the Bison to the NCAA tournament by hitting a jumper with 3 seconds remaining to give NDSU a 66-64 win over Oakland (Michigan).

North Dakota State has enjoyed its first season in D-1, blasting through the woeful Summit League with a 16-2 record.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know anything about NDSU. I’ve heard of Woodside, who scored 60 points earlier this season against Stephen F. Austin. But I thought it was still called the Fighting Sioux. Go figure.

Brief research has revealed the Bison/Sioux lack a quality win during non-conference, although it hung close during road games against Minnesota and USC.

I don’t expect much from NDSU. Sorry Bismarck. Or Fargo.

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6 responses to “Western Kentucky, North Dakota St. earn automatic NCAA bids

  1. Whoever wrote this is an idiot. First NDSU is in FARGO not Bismarck (spelled with a c) and they are the Bison. UND is located in Grand Forks and they are the Sioux. If you are going to try to write intelligently about a topic and be taken seriously at least do your basic research.

  2. I know college basketball, but I admitted I knew nothing about NDSU. I also know nothing about the state of North Dakota despite growing up in the Midwest. I think NDSU beat Minnesota in football last year, but I could be wrong. That is the extent of my knowledge. Congrats on the making the Big Dance though, good stuff.

  3. That’s like saying those UNC Blue Devils from Chapel Hill/Durham.

  4. That is without a doubt the stupidest comment I have read…anywhere. Let’s keep things in perspective here. This is NDSU’s first year in Division 1. Supporting your team is one thing, but comparing it to Duke/North Carolina is another. Additionally, it is quite ignorant to expect others to possess knowledge about the state of North Dakota, and it’s college institutions. Keep it real now.

  5. Maybe the metaphor isn’t the best, but you know what? Google exists. When you throw together a post and don’t even bother to glance at a wikipedia article, you’ve got to expect the internet locals to call you out.

  6. I just used Google and found out that North Dakota isn’t basketball relevant in any way what so ever. Comparing ND to UNC/Duke is a HUGE stretch. Don’t worry, you’ll still have college hockey when they lose to Kansas

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