Minnesota-North Dakota State BB Preview

The Minnesota Gophers open their 2006-07 basketball season for the second consecutive year against North Dakota State. Seven Golden Gophers make their regular season debut in Maroon and Gold against the Bison. NDSU was 16-12 last season and has all five starters back. The Bison defeated Idaho 91-76 on the road on Friday. Minnesota is hoping to bounce from a exhibition finale loss to Winona State.

North Dakota State is in its third season of being a Division I Independent. NDSU has accepted an invitation to the Mid-Continent Conference starting in the 2007-08 season. Last season, the Bison reached new heights in its basketball program by defeating Wisconsin 62-55, in Madison.

The Bison return their top five scorers from last season including sophomore guard Ben Woodside from Albert Lea, Minn. Woodside averaged 17.5 points and 5.1 assists per game. Senior Andre Smith is a strong inside scorer, who added 13.4 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.

Brett Winkelman averaged 12.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game and guard Mike Nelson chipped with 12.1 points and 3.7 rebounds. Lucan Moormann added 6.6 points and 5.6 rebounds last season.

Minnesota defeated North Dakota State 70-57 in the opener last season as Vincent Grier scored 21 points.

Winkelman scored a career-high 32 points and North Dakota State shot 68% in the second half in the win over Idaho.

Winkelman was 9 of 12 from the field and 12 of 15 at the free-throw line for the Bison.

Four players scored in double figures for the Bison, who shot 63% in the game. Andre Smith was the second leading scorer with 20 points, guard Ben Woodside scored 18 points with nine assists, and guard Mike Nelson chipped in with 13 points and five rebounds.

The Bison, who were one of the top 50 free-throw shooting teams in Division I last year, made 24 of 29 foul shots in the game behind Winkelman. Woodside was 6-for-6 and Smith was 5-for-6.

North Dakota State and the Minnesota Gophers play at 7 p.m. Monday night at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. The game will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Net (FSN North) and is part of the ESPN Full Court television schedule.

Gopher Illustrated Top Stories