Dave Richman and the men’s basketball team are coming off their fourth-straight appearance in the Summit League Tournament championship game. Most of the team is back and Richman has the men ready for another push to the top of the Summit.
The men’s basketball team will play 13 nonconference games this season with five coming at the new home for Bison basketball, the SCHEELS Center at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex. They will open this season against Arkansas State, a Sun Belt conference opponent who the Bison beat on Paul Miller’s buzzer beater last season. They will head to North Carolina in mid-November to play in the High Point Tournament before clashing with their most predominant team on their schedule.
“We’re going to face one of the best teams in the country in Xavier later in November and then turn around right before Christmas and go play an Arkansas team that can make you look bad in a hurry,” head coach Dave Richman said.
Xavier was picked to finish second in the Big East this season. The last high-major team NDSU defeated was Oklahoma in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The Bison lost to Illinois by six points and by 20 against Iowa State last year.
“Those games always highlight (the schedule) and those games are fun and the venues are great,” Richman said. “As we continue to build, there’s an expectation within our program that those are games that we want to compete and be successful in. Those are our standards and expectations.”
Returning a Loaded Roster
The Bison return six of its top seven scorers from last season. Paul Miller led the way in scoring last year with A.J. Jacobson close behind him. Jacobson played all 33 games last year, but has been dealing with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb this preseason and his status is unknown for the season-opener November 11.
“(Injuries) have limited us and some certain things we can do in practice, but I think, in the grand scheme of things, to get some guys some experience and some reps with the top group will be great,” Richman said.
The Bison will have two seniors in Carlin Dupree and Dexter Werner this year. Bismarck, N.D. native Werner averaged a career-high 22 minutes last season, played in every game, and led the Bison in rebounds and block shots.
Dupree returns for his senior season after a brief stint away from the Bison last winter. As a junior, Dupree led the team in steals in only 27 games. Dupree will be joined at the point guard position by sophomore Khy Kabellis.
Richman said he’s expecting Kabellis and Dylan Miller to pick up where they left off after their successful freshmen season.