It appears there’s a new bully in the Summit League.
In each of the past three seasons, the North Dakota State Bison have gone 12-4 in conference play, claiming two league titles.
NDSU claimed the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after holding off rival South Dakota State 57-56 in the Summit championship. The team is 23-9 overall heading into March Madness.
New coach, no problem; the Bison are back in the Big Dance and looking to pull off a little magic like they did in 2014.
Here’s what you need to know about North Dakota State:
1. North Dakota State Is Making Its 2nd-Straight NCAA Tournament Appearance
NDSU is making its second-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance since joining Division I in 2009. It’s the Bison’s third overall March Madness showing.
In 2014 as a No. 12 seed, the Bison knocked off No. 5 Oklahoma 80-75 in a second-round overtime upset, then fell to No. 4 San Diego State 63-44.
2. Lawrence Alexander Leads the Bison in Scoring
The team scores 64.5 points per game and allows 61.6, which ranks highly in Division I.
All the team and individual stats can be found here.
3. Dave Richman Is In His 1st Season as Head Coach
Dave Richman is in his first season as the Bison coach, taking over for Saul Phillips who left for Ohio University after 7 years of running the NDSU program.
Richman, 36, has been with the team since 2003-04, first beginning as a graduate assistant before moving into the associate head coach position. He’s the 23rd head coach in school history.
He graduated BA (2202, physical education) and a Master’s (2004, sports and recreation management) from North Dakota State.
4. The Bison Made the Tournament In Their First Year of Eligibility
As a No. 14 seed in 2009, their first season eligible to participate in March Madness, North Dakota State dropped a first-round game to No. 3 Kansas 74-64.
It was the first time since 1972 (Southwestern Louisiana, now Louisiana-Lafayette) a team made the Tournament in their first year of eligibility.
NDSU played in Division II and appeared in 8 NCAA Tournaments, going 9-8 in them. They went to the tourney 4 straight years from 1994-97.
5. North Dakota State Has an Enrollment of 14,700
At the beginning of the Fall 2014 semester, North Dakota State had an enrollment of 14,747, which comprised mostly of its 12,124 undergrads.
The main campus is in Fargo, but the school has extensions all over the state.
According to the website, NDSU is:
…distinctive as a student-focused, land-grant, research university, ranked by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education among the top 108 public and private universities in the country. NDSU is in the elite category of “Research Universities/Very High Research Activity,” with several programs ranked in the Top 100 by the National Science Foundation. NDSU is fully accredited as an institution by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.