Getting to know North Dakota State

Is OU poised to be a victim of the No. 5/No. 12 upset? North Dakota State is no slouch entering the tournament.

The first reaction is excitement when seeing Oklahoma earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The next reaction is who is North Dakota State?

No disrespect to the Bison but not too much is known nationally about the No. 12 seed in the West region.

OU and North Dakota State will get very familiar with each other 6:27 p.m. CST on Thursday night in Spokane, Wash.

North Dakota State has won nine consecutive games and 14 of its last 15 to finish 25-6 overall and 12-2 in the Summit League. The Bison won the regular season and tournament championship in the Summit League.

For good reason, too, as NDSU is the best field goal shooting team in the country at just under 51 percent.

Senior guard Taylor Braun leads the way at 18 points per game, which also led the conference. Being 6-foot-7, Braun is a bigger guard than most. However, that's the norm for the Bison. Everybody in their starting lineup is at least 6-3. On flip side, nobody is taller than 6-8.

This is the first appearance in the tournament for NDSU since 2009 when it lost to Kansas and the first meeting between OU in the teams' history.

All five starters average at least four rebounds per game with Braun tops on the team at 5.5 per contest. Senior forward Marshall Bjorklund averages 13.6 points per game and shoots a staggering 64 percent from the field.

Not only do the Bison have size, but they have experience. The starting lineup consists of three seniors, a junior and a sophomore. Obviously OU has used the same starting lineup of one senior, three sophomores and a freshman.

North Dakota State's best out of conference win was a victory at Notre Dame in December and NDSU defeated all of its conference opponents. The only two teams to beat the Bison in conference play were the two teams the Bison defeated in the conference tournament to earn the automatic berth.

The winner plays the winner of the San Diego State-New Mexico State game Saturday in the round of 32.

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