UMKC (3-4) at North Dakota (1-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 5, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sioux Center (3,300) -- Grand Forks, North Dakota. Television: Midco Sports Net. Home Record: UMKC 2-1, UND 1-0. Away Record: UMKC 0-2, UND 0-4. Neutral Record: UMKC 1-1, UND 0-0. Conference Record: UMKC 1-1, UND 0-0. Series Record: UMKC leads 3-1.
GAMES NOTES: The UMKC Kangaroos begin a two-game road trip starting with Wednesday's clash with the With North Dakota in a non-conference matchup at the Sioux Center.
With losses in two of its last three games, UMKC will face North Dakota before a road matchup with No. 5 Louisville on Saturday. The most recent loss for the Kangaroos dropped them below .500 this season with the team coming in at 3-4 overall. Two of those losses come in UMKC's only other two road games this season.
It has been even tougher going for North Dakota which enters this game with a mark of just 1-4, including a current three-game losing streak. The team does have a win in their only other home game but that came against Division III foe Crown College.
All four of the previous meetings between these squads have come since the 2008 season. North Dakota won the first meeting but the Kangaroos have taken the last three to earn a 3-1 all-time series lead.
UMKC trailed for the entirety of its matchup with Western Illinois but did cut the score to a single point (58-57) with just over three minutes remaining. However the Kangaroos then went 1-of-5 from the field over the final minutes in the losing effort. UMKC shot just 40.0 percent overall in the game but did fight to even on the boards with each teams earning 30 rebounds. Thomas Staton netted 15 points off the bench to pace the Kangaroos.
The offensive showing from the Kangaroos against the Leathernecks was right in line with what UMKC has been putting up on a nightly basis. The Kangaroos score 63.4 points per game and shoot 42.1 percent from the floor. UMKC only assists on 10.6 field goals per game but has managed to stay even with opposing squads on the boards with a slim +0.2 edge in rebounding. Kirk Korver (10.1 ppg) is the only player on the roster scoring in double figures this season. However Korver is a rather one-dimensional scorer with the bulk of his offense coming from beyond the arc. Estan Tyler (9.1 ppg) is the closest thing to a second option on the squad, while Fred Chatmon (7.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg) powers the Kangaroos on the glass.
Although North Dakota has racked up losses this season the team's most recent defeat was especially deflating. In a matchup with South Dakota State, North Dakota led 70-58 with 1:01 remaining but suffered a 71-70 loss when Chad White's 3-pointer went through the net as the buzzer sounded. In the final minute the team missed a field goal attempt and a shot from the free-throw line. Josh Schuler paced the team with 13 points.
Consistent offense has been as hard for North Dakota to attain as wins. The squad is scoring a mediocre 64.4 points per game, shooting just 39.6 percent from the field. Add in the team's less than spectacular defensive efforts, as it allows an even 70.0 points per game, and the team has largely been fighting an uphill battle. Aaron Anderson (12.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.0 apg) is a bit of a do-it-all player, but has been hampered a bit but inconsistent shooting (31.4 FG percentage). Schuler (10.6 ppg) is much better in that regard at an even 50.0 percent from the floor. No other player on the squad is putting in more than eight points per game.
It has been a struggle to put up points and wins consistently for both of these teams. North Dakota may not be as terrible as its record might indicate and with its home crowd behind it, is in its best possession for a win in a few weeks.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota 65, UMKC 62
12/05 10:37:31 ET