North Dakota Fighting Sioux preview
This evening, in each team’s second game of the round-robin Basketball Travelers Invitational, EMU will face the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux. Since, once again, the Eagles are facing an opponent they’ve never played before, we start with the basic know-your-foe information about the Fighting Sioux.
First, you can check out the University of North Dakota athletics website here.
|Location||Grand Forks, ND|
|Coach||Brian Jones (since 2006)|
|Arena (Capacity)||Betty Engelstad Sioux Center (3,300)|
|Most Recent NCAA Appearance||never|
|Most Recent NCAA Win||never|
|Selectivity (US News)||Selective|
|Students (2009)||8,741 (4,770 M, 3,971 F)|
North Dakota reclassified its athletic programs from Division II to Division I (FCS) in 2008, moving the basketball team from the North Central Conference, which folded, to the Great West Conference. In 2012 they’ll be moving again, to the more geographically compact Big Sky Conference.
Like EMU, they’ve got a mascot controversy. The University of North Dakota’s nickname was originally “The Flickertails”, but was changed to “The Sioux” officially in 1930, with “Fighting” added later. Guest editorials that appeared at that time in the Dakota Student noted that “Sioux are a good exterminating agent for Bison” (the mascot of the nearby North Dakota State University team), “They are warlike, of fine physique and bearing”, and “The word Sioux is easily rhymed for yells and songs”. The choice of the name was also influenced by the Fighting Irish athletic teams of the University of Notre Dame (another “UND”).
In 1999, a bill was introduced in the North Dakota House of Representatives to eliminate the nickname, but died in committee. In 2000, twenty-one separate Native American-related programs, departments, and organizations at UND signed a statement opposing the continued use of the nickname and logo, saying that it did not honor them or their culture. Around the same time, former Fighting Sioux hockey player and wealthy alumnus Ralph Engelstad donated $100 million dollars for the construction of Ralph Engelstad Arena, which opened in 2001. One of Engelstad’s conditions for the donation was that the University keep the Fighting Sioux name indefinitely. Engelstad placed thousands of Fighting Sioux logos in numerous places throughout the arena to make physical removal of the logo very costly if attempted.
The debate reignited in 2005, following a decision by the NCAA to sanction schools with tribal logos and/or nicknames, including UND, that the NCAA deemed to be “hostile and abusive.” The sanctions would not allow schools like UND to use their names or logos in post-season play and those schools would not be able to host post-season championships. After an unsuccessful appeal to reverse the sanctions, UND started to pursue their legal options. On June 15, 2006, after consulting with North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, the Board of Higher Education elected 8-0 to authorize Stenehjem to sue the NCAA for penalizing the UND over its Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. In November 2006, UND was granted a preliminary injunction to prevent the NCAA from enforcing the rule. On October 26, 2007, a settlement between UND and the NCAA was reached preventing the case from going to trial. The settlement gaves UND three years to gain support from the state’s Sioux tribes to continue to use the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. If that support is not granted at the end of the three years, UND was to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo, remove most of the existing Fighting Sioux imagery in campus facilities, and pick a new nickname and logo to represent UND’s athletic teams.
On May 14, 2009, The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education approved a motion directing UND to retire the “Fighting Sioux” nickname and logo, effective October 1, 2009, with full retirement to be completed no later than August 1, 2010. This directive was to be suspended, if, prior to October 1, 2009, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe gave namesake approval consistent with the terms of the Settlement Agreement. After extending the deadline for meeting this condition once, to November 30, 2009, the board has unconditionally ordered UND to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname at the end of the 2010-11 season, with a final deadline of August 15, 2011.
|Head Coach Brian Jones|
|North Dakota||2006-2011||52-71 (42.2%)|
|Overall: 1 team, 5 seasons, 52-71 (42.2%)|
North Dakota head coach Brian Jones is in his fifth season. Prior to becoming the head coach for the Fighting Sioux, Jones was an assistant coach under Steve Alford, in 1999 at Southwest Missouri State, and from 2000 until 2006 at Iowa. Under Jones, the Fighting Sioux improved each of his first three years, going 11-17 his first year, 15-15 his second year (in which they were runners-up in the North Central Conference Tournament), and 16-12 his third year, before falling to 8-23 in the 2009-10 season.
Since it’s still very early in this basketball season, let’s next take a look at how the Fighting Sioux did in 2009-10.
|University of North Dakota 2009-2010 record:|
Notice that not only were the Fighting Sioux just 8-23 last season, but they did it against a very weak schedule, facing just 6 teams in the top 200. From that team, UND lost three seniors who contributed 29.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, 47% of the scoring and 30% of the rebounding for the team.
|Travis Bledsoe||6-0||185||G||Sr.||Leading scorer|
|Travis Mertens||6-5||218||F||Sr.||Leading rebounder, #2 scorer|
|Dustin Monsebroten||6-0||189||G||Sr.||Bench contributor and sometime starter|
2010-11 roster with notes:
|North Dakota Fighting Sioux roster|
|Aaron Anderson||0||G||140||5-9||Fr.||#3 scorer|
|Troy Huff||5||G||170||6-4||Fr.||#1 scorer (tie)|
|Patrick Mitchell||45||F||220||6-8||Jr.||#1 scorer (tie), #1 rebounder, best shooter|
|Jamal Webb||11||G||180||6-1||Fr.||#4 scorer, #2 rebounder|
The Fighting Sioux have a young team this year, with 11 freshmen and sophomores on the team, and just two juniors and two seniors. In terms of playing time, they go about 10-13 deep. Webb leads the team with 2.5 assists per game, but averages 1.13 turnovers per assist.
|Pos||63.3||75.4||EMU plays significantly faster|
|Eff||91.8||102.6||-10.8||86.7||99.5||-12.8||Advantage North Dakota|
|TS%||50.4||54.9||-4.5||44.8||53.4||-8.6||Advantage North Dakota|
|FTR||33.4||34.8||-1.4||28.3||49.6||-21.3||Advantage North Dakota|
|ST%||10.5||8.7||1.8||8.8||11.1||-2.3||Advantage North Dakota|
Basically, EMU is offensively inefficient, and has a huge gap in free throws, while North Dakota struggles with offensive passing and ball protection (assists and turnovers).
Next we compare the schedules so far this season (rankings from Ken Pomeroy).
|Fri Nov 12||NR||Waldorf||W, 77-46||67||Home||1-0|
|Tue Nov 16||6||Wisconsin||L, 85-53||63||Away||1-1|
|Fri Nov 19||331||Sacramento St.||W, 64-60||63||Home||2-1|
|Tue Nov 23||234||IUPU Fort Wayne||L, 71-61||69||Home||2-2|
|Sat Nov 27||101||Northern Iowa||L, 65-52||58||Away||2-3|
|Fri Dec 3||266||Idaho||L, 63-42||62||Away||2-4|
|Fri Nov 12||12||Michigan St.||L, 96-66||88||Away||0-1|
|Wed Nov 17||NR||Madonna||W, 79-70||75||Home||1-1|
|Sat Nov 20||180||Canisius||L, 71-51||73||Away||1-2|
|Sat Nov 27||147||James Madison||L, 74-68||75||Away||1-3|
|Fri Dec 3||299||Monmouth||L, 64-63||66||Neutral||1-4|
Finally, it’s worth noting that the Fighting Sioux have one very prominent former basketball player. From 1963 to 1967, Phil Jackson — yes that Phil Jackson — played forward/center at the University of North Dakota. Fortunately for EMU, Jackson won’t be around to help his alma mater.