November 26, 2013
THIS WEEK: Dakota State (4-3 overall record) returns back to men's basketball regular-season action with a pair of games against NAIA's 'Top 10' teams in the Draemel Classic, hosted by Midland (Neb.) University. The Draemel Classic takes place at the Events Center in Fremont, Neb. on Friday and Saturday.
DRAEMEL CLASSIC: The Draemel Classic, hosted by Midland (Neb.), features four teams—Dakota State, Evangel (Mo.) (5-1 overall record), Mount Mercy (Iowa) (4-6) and Midland (5-1)—that qualified for the NAIA National Tournament last season. The classic kicks off Friday evening with Dakota State and Evangel at 5:30 p.m. The host-team Midland will play Mount Mercy (Iowa) in the night cap at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Evangel will play Mount Mercy at 2 p.m., followed by Midland and Dakota State at 4 p.m. All games will be at Events Center in Fremont, Neb.
NATIONAL RANKINGS: Three teams in the Draemel Classic are ranked in the NAIA Men's Basketball Coaches' Preseason Poll. Evangel is ranked No. 9 in NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Coaches' national poll. Midland is No. 8 in the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball preseason poll, while Dakota State is ranked No. 18. Mount Mercy, an NAIA Division II basketball team, is not ranked in the national poll. The NAIA Division II Men's Basketball first 'Top 25' regular-season rankings will be released on Tuesday, Dec. 3.
DSU'S TOUGH SCHEDULE: Dakota State will play their fourth and fifth opponents this month that are ranked in the NAIA 'Top 25' national poll. The Trojans already played three games that are ranked in the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Coaches' preseason poll. DSU is 1-2 record against those teams, defeating No. 15 Northwestern (Iowa) 78-72 on Nov. 6. The Trojans lost to No. 19 Bellevue (Neb.) 85-73 on Nov. 9 in Mitchell, S.D. and 69-66 at No. 15 Northwestern (Iowa) on Nov. 20.
TROJAN EXHIBITION GAMES UPDATE: The Trojans dropped a pair of exhibition games to NCAA Division II and Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference foes on Nov. 23 and Nov. 25. DSU fell short to Augustana (S.D.) 81-65 on Nov. 23 in Sioux Falls, S.D. On Nov. 25, DSU traveled to NCAA Division II No. 12-ranked Minnesota State-Mankato for the third exhibition game this season. The Trojans trailed just by two points at halftime (37-35), but were outscored by the Mavericks 58-36 in the second-half as MSU-M defeated DSU by the score of 95-71. The Trojans play their final exhibition game of the season on Dec. 4 as they visit NCAA Division I South Dakota State at Frost Arena in Brookings, S.D.
LAST TIME OUT: Dakota State play their only regular-season game last week on Nov. 20. The Trojans fell short in a nail-biter at Northwestern (Iowa). DSU missed a 3-pointer shot as time expired as the Red Raiders held on to a 69-66 victory. The Trojans held NWIA to no field goal in the final 5:31 of the game. DSU dropped a pair of exhibition games to NCAA Division II schools—Augustana (S.D.) 81-65 on Nov. 23 and No. 12 Minnesota State-Mankato 95-71 on Nov. 25. Evangel recorded a home victory over NAIA's Division II No. 6 Robert Morris (Ill.) 89-72 on Nov. 23 in Springfield, Mo. Midland notched a pair of Great Plains Athletic Conference victories last week, defeating Morningside (Iowa) 83-77 in Fremont on Nov. 20 and at Mount Marty (S.D.) 81-62 on Nov. 23.
DSU STELLAR DEFENSE: According to the NAIA-DakStats statistical website as of Tuesday, Dakota State is ninth in the nation in field goal percentage defense (38.2 percent). The Trojans are 11th in the nation in defensive rebounds per game (30.6). DSU limited its opponents to 27.9 percent shooting from the 3-point line, which is 15th-best in the nation. The Trojans are averaging 9.0 steals per game, ranking them 25th in the nation. Dakota State ranks 26th in the nation in scoring defense per game (67.6 points per game). The Trojans accumulated a total of 21 blocks through the first seven games, which is 45th best in the nation.
REBOUNDS RANKS: Yusuf Vinson ranks 12th in the nation in offensive rebounds per game with an average of 3.7 rebounds per game. He is 18th in the nation in total rebounds per game (9.3) and 49th in defensive rebounds per game (5.6). Dakota State averages 44.7 rebounds per game, which is 12th-best in the nation. The Trojans are 17th in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (14.1).
LAST MEETING: Dakota State will be playing Evangel for the first time in series meeting history on Friday evening. Dakota State and Midland split their two meetings last season with each team winning on its home court. The Trojans rallied back from double-digit deficit to earn a 75-69 victory over the Warriors at DSU Fieldhouse on Jan. 5, 2013. Midland defeated Dakota State 63-53 in Fremont, Neb. on Feb. 9, 2013 to earn a season series split.
TEAM LEADERS: Yusuf Vinson averages 12.9 points per game for the Trojans this season. He shoots 50 percent from the field. Vinson records 65 total rebounds this season and averages 9.3 rebounds per game. He records five blocked shots (0.7 blocked shots per game). Adam Hofer leads the team with 19 assists (2.7 assists per game). Dylan Hale records 14 steals and ranks 49th in the nation in steals per game with an average of 2.0 steals.
WATCH IT: Midland will be providing the live video coverage of the Draemel Classic this weekend. Fans are encouraged to go to http://www.livestream.com/midlandathletics to watch the game. The links are available on www.dsuathletics.com in the rotating/scrolling calendar of events under the news articles.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Dakota State men's basketball and athletics all season long on www.dsuathletics.com. The Trojans are also on Twitter, just log onto www.twitter.com/GoDaSUAthletics. The Dakota State University Athletics group page can be found on Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/DSUTrojanAthletics.
UP NEXT: Dakota State plays their final exhibition game of the season on Wednesday, Dec. 4 as they visit NCAA Division I South Dakota State. Tip-off from the Frost Arena is set for 7 p.m. in Brookings, S.D. The Trojans return home on Saturday, Dec. 7. DSU welcomes Morningside (Iowa) of the GPAC. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. at DSU Fieldhouse in Madison, S.D.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director