Vikings and Jimmies againIf watching ranked rivals appeals to you, the Civic Center is the place to be tonight. The on-the-rise and 13th-ranked Jimmie women put their 21-4 mark on the line against Valley City State, which has struggled of late, but has been ranked for much of the season.
By: By Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
If watching ranked rivals appeals to you, the Civic Center is the place to be tonight.
The on-the-rise and 13th-ranked Jimmie women put their 21-4 mark on the line against Valley City State, which has struggled of late, but has been ranked for much of the season.
The nightcap features the No. 19 VCSU men and the Jimmies, who have the only losing record of the four at 11-15, but who also nearly beat the current No. 2 team in the NAIA — 24-1 William Penn of Iowa — earlier this season here.
“It’s always great when we play Valley,” JC women’s coach Greg Ulland said. “They bring a ton of people over here and I know our fans will be ready to go. It should be awesome.”
The Jimmie women have lost just twice in 2013, and are 8-2 in their last 10. Their last two games have featured dominant first halves, followed by lackluster finishes. Still both were wins including an 81-64 win over the Vikings at the Bubble one week ago.
“It’s great to play as well as we have in the first half, but if you don’t back it up with another, then you’re just sort of spinning your wheels,” Ulland said. “I know it’s human nature to let down when you have a big lead, I get that, but you can’t let it become a habit because against good teams one half isn’t normally going to be good enough.”
The Jimmies’ 81-points they hung on the Vikings last Wednesday was an abnormality. The Vikings (18-6) are in the top 10 in points (56 ppg). They have struggled of late, though, going 3-3 in their last six.
“I know they’re not happy with the way they’ve played the last couple of games, but they’re a very good team. There’s no question about that,” Ulland said.
The Jimmies are a handful for any defense right now, though. They’re pushing 80 points per game and ranked ninth nationally.
“We’re playing at a pretty high level right now. It’s still one of those where we have to build two halves on top of each other and play 40 minutes,” Ulland said. “We still want to be playing another five or six weeks, so we have to continue to improve.”
If there was a line for the men’s game it’d probably fall under pick ‘em.
The 19th-ranked Vikings (19-5) have a superior record to the Jimmies (11-15), but the two teams have played twice with the cumulative score of VCSU 135, JC 133.
JC coach Justin Wieck, who spent Tuesday battling a stomach virus, expects no different tonight, and despite the illness, he’ll be there, “I don’t have to run up and down the court, which is good.”
The Jimmies are 1-3 in their last four, but were right in all three.
“We’ve played well against some good teams, so we know we’re capable of being a good basketball team, but we still haven’t put it all together on a consistent basis,” Wieck said. “That’s where we’re lacking right now, but we know we have it in us.”
The Jimmies have played 10 teams that were either ranked or getting votes when they played them.
“We’ve had a couple games that have gotten away from us, but for the most part when you look at it, we’ve competed well,” Wieck said. “This is another chance for us to to play a really good team. We’re going to have a really good crowd and we’re excited about it.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org