Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dancing with the Star: Northern Colorado

Conference: Big Sky

Record: 21-10, 13-3

Rankings: 121 (Kenpom), 99 (RPI), 122 (Sagarin)

Potential Seed: 15

Best Players: Devon Beitzel (21.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.5 spg), Neal Kingman (10.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg), Elliott Lloyd (7.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.3 apg)

Big Wins, Bad Losses: The bears don't have a single win over a team in the RPI 100. In fact, they only played three games against teams in the RPI 100, and lost by an average of 15 points. Their worst defeat was a 78-75 loss at Lousiana-Monroe, the 328th-ranked team in the country. Their best win was an 18-point win over Montana during Big Sky regular season play.

Tendencies: The Bears like to shoot and they like to score. Unfortunately, most of their scoring came against low-major competition. But regardless of who the opponent is, one thing is for certain: Devon Beitzil will get buckets. The senior guard has scored more 20 or more points in 20 games this season, including the last nine games in a row. He has been held to under ten points just twice, against Arizona (2) and Weber State (5).

How They Got There: The Bears won their first seven conference games in a row before suffering back-to-back losses. Since the final day in January, the Bears have won 10 of 11, including the Big Sky Championship.

Outlook: This is the program's first tournament bid in school history, so just being part of March Madness is special. The Bears will more than likely have to play a #2-seed, so the odds are not in their favor to get past the first round. But with a player like Beitzel and in a setting like March Madness, anything could happen. Think Ben Woodside and North Dakota State from 2009.

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