February 27, 2009 5:02 pm ET by Kyle Whelliston
North Dakota State at Oral Roberts (Badlands)
Mabee Center - Tulsa, OK
Saturday, 8:05 PM EST
It's the plot of just about every Bruceploitation fight flick ever made: a young, promising, upstart kung-fu fighter rises through the ranks, gaining respect and love on the streets when he gains a small victory over the champion early on in the game. But then comes the final showdown at the end, the Final Level, when it's all on the line and there's nothing to lose but everything. Think of this league's season as a remake of Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon, except it's basketball and it's the Badlands Conference and the music isn't as good. Does the Golden Eagle mascot have Sho'Nuff's shoulders, or what?
This game has nothing less than the Badlands Conference's regular-season championship hanging in the balance. You likely know the story already: North Dakota State (22-6, 15-2) has a track record of big upsets, but is in its first year of national postseason eligibility, and redshirted an entire class to get to this moment as a senior-stacked squad. One of those is multiple-MMBOW Ben Woodside, who went off for 60 one time and had a 58-point week a little later. It's the second-best 3-point shooting team in Division I (41.6 percent), the fifth-best overall (49.3 percent), and easily leads the BLC with 11.2 turnovers per game, proving that great ball control and shooting can help rack up a lot of wins: 14 in 15 games. You might have already contracted Bison Fever already, but do you have The Glow?
Oral Roberts (16-13, 14-3) is the three-time conference champion, and will gladly designate North Dakota State's collective ass... for dismemberment! NDSU won at home by eight in the first December meeting up in Fargo, part of a quick conference weekend in what was a brutally endless road trip; a 3-11 noncon mark for Oral Roberts included just one Division I home game. But now it's time for a visit to the Golden Eagle Dojo, a place where the home team's won 35 straight league contests. ORU and its finely-honed killer instincts are on a five-game win streak and are led by workhorse senior guard Robert Jarvis (17.2 ppg). This is a team that has once again established itself as the league's best defensive and rebounding squad. If ORU wins this, it'll claim its fifth consecutive regular-season title by virtue of a fourth or fifth-place tiebreaker, whichever position Southern Utah ends up in. SUU beat NDSU on Valentine's Day, and ORU swept the season series. The G'Eagles are sick and tired of hearing these Superman stories about the wassa legendary North Dakota State Bison catching bullets with their teeth. Catches bullets with their teeth?
|Hickory Picket Fences||27629|
|The Hopping Cats||21526|
|Under a Blood Red Line||10379|
|Jen Folds Five||6895|