Both UND basketball teams got off to rough starts this weekend. The men’s team faced a tough test at Kansas State and fell 85-52, while the UND women lost 65-52 to Harvard.
The men’s team stuck around with the Wildcats for as long as 26-25 but foul trouble and shooting woes turned the game into a rout. Random thoughts from Manhattan:
- UND was 2-for-18 from the 3-point line. You won’t beat any of the big boys with that stat. UND’s guard play is strong, but their strength is getting to the basket — a difficult thing to do with K-State’s bulky frontcourt. The glaring weakness for this UND team right now is the lack of a consistent deep threat. The most likely candidates would be Aaron Anderson and Josh Schuler. Anderson, though, was 0-for-6 from deep and Schuler was way off on his two attempts.
- Brandon Brekke had six points in 11 minutes and fouled out. The entire UND frountcourt was in foul trouble so it’s tough to blame Brekke. The team was undersized and, I think, tried to overcompensate by being too physical. Brekke has struggled to stay out of foul trouble during his career. The guy shoots almost 70 percent from the field. He needs to find a way to stay on the court.
- Some of the good news is newcomer Alonzo Traylor added seven points and seven rebounds and appears to be a nice addition.
- UND was also without the services of three players I figured would work into the mix. The obvious was Texas Tech transfer Jaron Nash, who appears to be getting the run-around by the NCAA. Make a decision already, NCAA (and keep in mind he played under an awful environment at Tech that should allow a free transfer regardless of his father’s illness). Another absence was Shane Benton, a redshirt freshman who has impressed me in the practices I’ve seen. He was apparently serving a one-game suspension, which wasn’t made public prior to gametime against Kansas State. Also, JuCo Ryan Salmonson didn’t make the trip, and I’ll have to look into why.
- In all, Kansas State was clearly a tough matchup for UND. The Wildcats were excellent defenders.They didn’t allow guard penetration on screen and rolls and beat up the Green and White underneath. Once the foul trouble started to mount, the game got out of hand.
The women’s team stumbled against Harvard, a team coming off a win against a mediocre North Dakota State team and a team UND beat by three in Boston last season.
- I didn’t think UND would have this much trouble replacing the guard play of the Mothershed twins. Brianna Williams and Cyerra Mills have a long ways to go. UND might be best off just letting forward Madi Buck bring the ball up the court.
- UND clearly misses junior center Allyssa Wall. I think Wall’s presence would really calm UND down offensively. Buck and Nicole Smart are good scorers, but they don’t really create their own shots. They would benefit from an inside presence like Wall, whose injury seems a little mysterious as her timetable to return is very unclear.
- UND was 4-for-15 from the 3-point line. I think some of that can contribute to Wall’s absence. UND has some proven shooters who aren’t getting the space or time to get off a good shot without a steady scorer in the post.
- Some good news: Megan Lauck is starting to fulfill her potential. She was UND’s best player against Harvard.