NDSU's men's basketball team looks good from the road. (My old boss at the golf course would use that phrase when asked if the tees were mowed correctly or the weeds were whacked properly... "Looks good from the road!")
Turns out, NDSU looks good up close, too. Saw them wipe the floor with Fresno State last week in Fargo. My color analyst, Juno Pintar, said before the game that he was not sure how good the Bison were... he would need to see how they came back after a loss, etc. (He's a coach. They think too much.) But I believe that even Juno was impressed by how well NDSU played.
The Bison have a freshman point guard, Lawrence Alexander ("L.A."), who has some showtime in him. He is very good on the dribble, doesn't look very easy to rattle and had little trouble getting a step on Fresno State's very quick guards. "L.A." kept feeding the giant, Marshall Bjorklund. He is a large young man with huge feet and good hands who had a career night (27 points, 14 rebounds) against the "biggest" DI opponent that has visited NDSU so far. The Bison have a good backup for Bjorklund in Jordan Aaberg... a great shooter in Mike Felt... a great defender in Dylan Hale... and a "glue" guy in Taylor Braun, who did everything from bring the ball up the floor to throw it down through the hoop.
And speaking of throwing it down, NDSU has one of the most electrifying leapers in the league in Trayvonn Wright. On one play in the first half, Wright took one dribble on the left baseline and left his feet like he was being yanked up by a bungee cord. He rose over two defenders and literally had to duck his head as it scraped on the bottom of the backboard. It was spectacular. (He missed the dunk, but got fouled. And made the free throws.)
So... NDSU looks good on paper and in person. We will see if they can keep their curb appeal and their showroom quality when the Summit League season starts. They play at Western Illinois and IUPUI this week. They look good from the road right now. And I've got a feeling they are going to look pretty good on the road and down the road, too.