North Dakota State (1-0) at (1) Indiana (1-0) (ET)
GAME NOTES: The top-ranked Indiana Hoosiers will play their second early- season tune-up on Monday night when they play host to the Bison of North Dakota State. The game is part of the Bloomington Regional of the 2012 Legends Classic.
North Dakota State is 1-0 on the young season, having easily disposed of NAIA foe Valley City State on Friday, 93-47. The 93 points being the most scored by the Bison since putting up 96 points in a win over Oakland on Dec. 28, 2011. NDSU plays its basketball out of the Summit League, and before beginning conference play at South Dakota on Jan. 3, the team will face another opponent from the Big Ten Conference in Minnesota on Dec. 11.
Indiana had no problem winning its season opener versus Bryant on Friday night, running past the Bulldogs in a 97-54 final. The Hoosiers are the No. 1 team in the land, earning their first such distinction since ending the 1993 campaign the same way. IU has now won 15 of its last 18 season openers, and 28 consecutive home lidlifters. Indiana has much tougher games coming against Georgia, either UCLA or Georgetown, North Carolina and Butler, before getting Big Ten Conference play underway at Iowa on New Year's Eve.
Prior to Friday's opener, IU head coach Tom Crean was given a contract extension through the year 2020.
While this is the first-ever meeting between North Dakota State and Indiana on the hardwood, the Hoosiers are 7-0 all-time against Summit League opponents.
Mike Felt came off the bench to score a career-high 23 points as he led North Dakota State to a 46-point victory over Valley City State on Friday. Felt connected on 6-of-9 attempts from 3-point range and 8-of-12 shots overall to lead all scorers. Taylor Braun added 19 points, while Chris Kading and Marshall Bjorklund chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively. The Bison dominated the glass, 42-16, with Braun leading the way with eight boards. NDSU shot a blistering 59.0 percent from the floor and held the Vikings 32.7 percent, which included a dismal 4-of-21 showing from beyond the arc. Conversely, the Bison made good on 10-of-22 attempts from long distance.
With all five starters back from last year's team that went 27-9 and advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament, Indiana dominated an overmatched Bryant squad in Friday's season opener. Wooden Award candidate Cody Zeller logged a double-double consisting of 18 points and 10 rebounds, while five others scored in double figures in what wound up as a 43-point triumph. Christian Watford had a double-double of his own with 15 points and a career- high 15 boards, while talented rookie Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell finished his first collegiate game with a stat line of 10 points, seven assists, five rebounds, one block and one steal. The Hoosiers shot 55.6 percent from the field and converted 29-of-34 free throws. Indiana outrebounded Bryant, 46-29, and held the Bulldogs to just 13.8 percent (4-of-29) efficiency from 3-point range. Indiana's bench outscored Bryant's reserves, 40-17, all while goading the visitors into 18 turnovers.
Indiana's Maurice Creek, who underwent three surgeries over the last two years, played in his first regular season game since January of 2011 and finished with six points on a pair of 3-pointers. Jordan Hulls needs 21 points to become the 44th member of IU's 1,000-point club.
Indiana doesn't figure to be seriously tested until it heads to New York City next week to take on Georgia and either UCLA or Georgetown. A matchup with North Carolina a week later will be interesting, but that game as well as the majority of the team's non-conference slate will take place at home. In fact, the Hoosiers won't play their first true road game of the season until the league lidlifter at Iowa on the last day of the year.