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Jeff Kolpack, Published March 20 2009

Dome karma put to test: Bison hope to carry momentum from NDSU football team’s win

MINNEAPOLIS – North Dakota State assistant men’s basketball coach Jason Kemp was walking around the Metrodome floor Thursday in a T-shirt with a caricature of Bison football coach Craig Bohl on it. It was an attempt to please the good karma gods.

“Want to keep the Bohl magic,” Kemp said.

The last time an NDSU team was at the Metrodome was in 2007 when the Bison football team defeated the University of Minnesota. The Gophers ticket office, which handles tickets for the NCAA regional, said a crowd of about 15,500 (the capacity is 32,000) is expected for the NDSU and Kansas first-round game today.

About 2,500 single-session tickets were sold on Thursday and around 1,500 of those were set aside for will call.

It won’t be the estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Bison fans who were on hand for the Gopher football game, but there will still be an NDSU influence.

“The state is behind us,” said center Lucas Moormann. “There are no pro teams, so we’re the ones that they’re watching.”

None of the Bison players were at the football game because of practice. They gathered at head coach Saul Phillips’ house to watch it.

Ruley says Bison players saying the right things

It was on a different level, but the most experienced national basketball tournament coach in the NDSU athletic department was on hand for Thursday’s Bison shootaround at the Metrodome. And Amy Ruley liked what she saw in the NDSU players.

“They’re saying the right things,” Ruley said. “But you know deep down they expect nothing else but to come in here and win.”

Ruley led the NDSU women’s basketball team to five Division II national titles. She resigned last year and is an associate athletic director. The Bison men are in a bigger picture now, but some things don’t change.

“You still have that same tournament feeling,” Ruley said. “It’s the same formula and the same process. None of that changes.”

Better seat this time for NDSU’s Vaughan

NDSU reserve guard Josh Vaughan was at the Metrodome when it hosted the NCAA Final Four in 2001. He was in Section 208, an upper-deck spot in the corner.

“It was so far away,” he said.

His seat today will be much better.

“Just a little bit,” he said.

Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the Saturday Morning Sports Show, 10 a.m. to noon on WDAY-AM (970). He can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog

can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia