Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
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SALT LAKE CITY — On a bright, sunny Wednesday afternoon in Salt Lake City, where the temperature approached a record 75 degrees, North Dakota players entered the 20,000-seat Vivint Smart Home Arena wearing smiles and feeling confident. All was well with the UND men's basketball team. And it should be. The Fighting Hawks, in their ninth Division I season, have reached the ultimate goal in college basketball — the NCAA Tournament. It's March Madness, a spectacle that has become one of the country's biggest sporting events each year.
SALT LAKE CITY—If the University of North Dakota's first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament felt like a dream, reality is beginning to set in for the Fighting Hawks. The Fighting Hawks' charter landed late Tuesday afternoon in Salt Lake City, where No. 15 seed UND will take on No. 2 seed Arizona on Thursday night in a first-round NCAA Tournament game at 20,000-seat Vivint Smart Home Arena. After grabbing a quick bite to eat, the Hawks went into a film session at their hotel before going through a mini walk-through in their designated team meeting room.
GRAND FORKS -- The University of North Dakota will play a familiar foe in the opening round of the WNIT. The Fighting Hawks will play at defending tournament champion South Dakota on Thursday in an opening-round game. Pairings for the WNIT postseason tournament were released Monday night. The winner of Thursday’s game will face either Iowa or Missouri State in a second-round tournament game.
GRAND FORKS—As a high school basketball player, University of North Dakota men's coach Brian Jones still remembers his first recruiting letter. "My first letter as a high school athlete was from Arizona," said Jones. "I've been an Arizona fan since I've been a kid." Jones didn't play at Arizona but he now gets the chance to coach against the Wildcats on Thursday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. "I guess things have come full circle," Jones said..
RENO, Nev. — North Dakota staged its most memorable comeback in program history Saturday night, beating Weber State 93-89 in overtime to win the Big Sky Conference tournament — a victory that sent the Fighting Hawks to the NCAA Tournament. UND trailed by 11 points with less than 8 minutes remaining and was down six with less than a minute to play. UND, however, has found ways to rally throughout the season. Their latest rally, however, was the the most memorable.
RENO, Nev. — UND is going Dancing. North Dakota won the biggest game in its men's basketball history Saturday night, staging a furious second-half rally to down Weber State 93-89 in overtime in the championship game of the Big Sky Conference tournament at Reno Events Center. The win qualifies UND for its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament. UND, the regular-season champion, trailed by 10 points with 8 minutes to play. But the Hawks rallied, led by tournament MVP Quinton Hooker, who scored 28 points to lead the way.
RENO, Nev.—For the second night in a row, the University of North Dakota started fast—blowing out to a 21-7 lead in the first seven minutes. Early on, the Fighting Hawks played a level that looked unbeatable in the Big Sky Conference men's basketball tournament. But the postseason has a way of leveling the field. Idaho proved that in Friday night's Big Sky semifinal game.
RENO, Nev.—UND opened the Big Sky Conference season with a crushing loss at Portland State. The 37-point setback in late December was one of the program's more lopsided losses in years. But UND rebounded and went on to win the league's regular-season title. UND and Portland State met again in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky tournament Thursday, and the Hawks played like a team that won the regular-season title and earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
GRAND FORKS, N.D.—With a conference title hanging in the balance and a postseason tournament No. 1 seed on the line, there was no way Quinton Hooker—one of the University of North Dakota's more dynamic players in years—was going to be denied. As usual, he wasn't. Hooker led UND to an 82-73 win over Portland State on Saturday before 2,870 fans at The Betty Engelstad Sioux Arena-- a win that gave the Fighting Hawks the Big Sky Conference regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in next week's postseason tournament in Reno, Nev.
GRAND FORKS — It's that time of the season when it's acceptable for teams to watch the scoreboard, whether they admit it or not. North Dakota, which had a bye on Thursday, likely had its eye on the Weber State-Eastern Washington game the same night. Eastern Washington downed Weber, a win that significantly helps the Fighting Hawks in their quest to win the regular-season Big Sky title.