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Jeff Kolpack, Published March 21 2009

Tveidt’s upside ‘scary’: Next year’s only returning starter helped get Bison to NCAAs

MINNEAPOLIS – The Fab Four helped North Dakota State reach the NCAA tournament this year. The Fifth One was pretty good, too.

The emergence of sophomore forward Michael Tveidt, especially late in the season, was a major factor in the Bison getting the most TV and radio air time in school history. He had 11 points and five rebounds in the 84-74 first-round loss to Kansas on Friday.

He was at his best in helping NDSU overcome an 11-point deficit, the largest KU lead of the game. Down 47-36, Tveidt’s 3-point field goal started an 8-0 run. He ended it with a high-flying tip-in that brought the Bison within 47-44.

“I think he’s going to be a star in The Summit League,” said Bison senior guard Mike Nelson. “It was great to see him mature. He’s done a lot for this team.”

The one hiccup came when the Bison got within 56-53. He missed three straight shots: a free-throw lane jumper that rimmed out, a corner shot that went in and out and a 3-point attempt that hit the back rim.

His biggest contribution, however, was getting the Bison to the Metrodome. His 21 points in The Summit League title game kept the Bison from falling too far behind Oakland (Mich.).

“His emergence was the difference between this year from last year,” said NDSU head coach Saul Phillips. “His upside is scary.”

Tveidt will be the lone returning starter with Ben Woodside, Lucas Moormann, Nelson and Brett Winkelman graduating. He’ll probably have to

take on another role than the one he got used to this year.

“When you play with these four seniors, they get double teamed and I got a lot of good looks,” Tveidt said. “I owe a lot of my success to those guys right there.”

His 11 points against Kansas made it a streak of five games in his last six scoring in double figures. He had 17 in a regular-season, title-clinching win at Oral Roberts.

“We’re not sitting up here if Michael Tveidt didn’t have the season that he had,” said Phillips, in the NCAA post-game interview room. “He’s a very special player.”

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