Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Big weekend for MSU basketball

With just five games remaining in the regular season, the Minnesota State men's basketball team could clinch the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championship with victories Friday at Concordia-St. Paul and Saturday at St. Cloud State. The Mavericks swept those teams at home last month, but St. Paul and St. Cloud have traditionally been tough places for the Mavericks to win.
Minnesota State has won four conference championships, with three coming at the end of the defunct North Central Conference. The Mavericks placed third last season, the first in the Northern Sun. The championship would allow the Mavericks to host the conference tournament the first weekend in March.
To beat Concordia-St. Paul, the Mavericks need to defend. The Bears have a couple of talented players, but Minnesota State has superior depth. Against St. Cloud State, it could come down to rebounding. The Huskies were plus-18 in the loss at Bresnan Arena, and the Mavericks won with perimeter defense, especially against guard Taylor Witt.
Despite a three-game winning streak, the Minnesota State women remain in a three-way tie for seventh, with the top eight teams getting into the Northern Sun tournament. The Mavericks upset Concordia-St. Paul last month so the Bears will surely be focused on revenge. The more winnable game is at St. Cloud State, though the Huskies won by one-point at Mankato.
It's been a weird season for Minnesota State, which seems capable of beating any team in the conference, though every opponent seems capable of beating the Mavericks.

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