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Tom Miller / Forum Communications Co. , Published November 08 2012

UND men's basketball team hopes to end nonconference road woes tonight against Kansas State

GRAND FORKS – The University of North Dakota’s core group of juniors, which includes four starters, has accomplished quite a bit in its first two seasons with the men’s basketball program – including back-to-back appearances in the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament.

One missing accomplishment, however, is glaring. North Dakota hasn’t won a nonconference road game since March of 2009 against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

UND faces a big obstacle in breaking that streak when it opens the season at 8:15 tonight against Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan. More important, however, is that UND coach Brian Jones wants to see improvement.

“Our guys are excited and grateful for this opportunity,” Jones said. “Especially for our upperclassmen, it’s an opportunity to compete against the best and a chance to show they’ve grown from last year.

“This group has yet to win a nonconference road game, and it starts (today) with that opportunity.”

This is the fifth straight season UND has played at least one Big 12 opponent. UND is still in search of its first win against the league after losing to Texas A&M and Iowa State twice, while dropping one game each to Nebraska and Kansas.

UND played Kansas in legendary Allen Fieldhouse last New Year’s Eve in Lawrence.

Kansas State’s Bramlage Coliseum, nicknamed the Octagon of Doom, is expected to have an electric atmosphere. The game marks the regular-season opener as well as the Wildcats head coaching debut of Bruce Weber, a former Illinois head coach.

Miller writes for the Grand Forks Herald