Published March 20 2009
Forum editorial: A historic game day for BisonThere are game days that make history. Today is such a day.
The North Dakota State University Bison basketball team takes on the Kansas University Jayhawks this morning at the Metrodome in Minneapolis in the first round of the NCAA Midwest Regional tournament. It’s a day of firsts for the Bison:
- The first Bison basketball team to compete in a Division I national tournament.
- The first Bison D-I team to go to the Big Dance in the first year of tournament play eligibility.
- A first for coach Saul Phillips, taking a team to the tournament.
- The No. 1 Bison scorer of all time among the starters.
- First for the Bison as winner of The Summit League season title and tournament championship.
The players on this season’s Bison team – the senior stars and steady bench – have created basketball heaven for fans. They’ve met nearly every challenge with poise and style. They’ve remained centered on their game (and their studies) as they emerged as one of the nation’s best basketball teams. As the season wore on, they strode confidently into every game, refusing to be intimidated by teams that were supposed to blow the Bison away. Disciplined, mature and extremely well coached, they never doubted themselves.
It has paid off.
Today the Bison take on the defending NCAA national champion KU Jayhawks. The sentiment among most basketball experts is that KU will prevail. The experts are pegging their analyses on KU’s rich history as a D-I power and its win last year. But this year’s Jayhawks are not last year’s. The Bison, on the other hand, are mature athletes who have been playing together for years. They have shown again and again that the steadiness that comes from experience can surprise even the most talented, young team. The Jayhawks are young.
The game of expectations is always iffy. The risk, of course, is disappointment. But no matter the outcome today, the Bison are on the nation’s biggest collegiate basketball stage for the first time in NDSU history.
They surely understand the historic moment. Win or lose, the players and coaches have raised the school’s national profile. They have been marvelous ambassadors for the school and the state of North Dakota on and off the basketball court.
The support today from thousands of Bison fans in the Metrodome will be matched by the tens of thousands of North Dakotans glued to TV and radio. Let the cheering begin.
Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.