Men's basketball renews rivalry with Wyoming
GREELEY, Colo. -- Northern Colorado (8-1, 1-1 Big Sky) will return to the road this weekend for a Saturday afternoon game against the Wyoming Cowboys (4-4, 0-0 Mountain West). The game will be played in Casper, Wyo., as part of Wyoming's annual Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Wyoming Shootout. The Bears and the 'Pokes haven't faced each since 2005.
- Date: Saturday, Dec. 12
- Tip: 3:30 p.m.
- Location: Casper, Wyo.
- Venue: Casper Events Ctr. (8.395)
- Radio: 1310 KFKA (Greeley)
- Play-by-play: Troy Coverdale
- Web stream: 1310kfka.com
- Television: No TV
- Play-by-play: N/A
- Analyst: N/A
- Sideline: N/A
- Live stats: wyomingathletics.com
DID YOU KNOW?
- Northern Colorado coach Tad Boyle is in his fourth season with the Bears and holds a 39-59 record.
- The Bears began their transition to the NCAA Division I level in 2003-04 and were postseason eligible for the first time in 2007-08.
- Northern Colorado is 18-49 all-time against Wyoming, and just 7-25 in road or neutral contests against the Cowboys. The teams began playing in 1908, with the Bears coming out on top in that first meeting 31-26 in Greeley.
- Northern Colorado is off to an 8-1 start this season, which is tied for its best start in 108 years of playing collegiate basketball. The Bears also started 8-1 during the 1988-89 and 1935-36 seasons.
- Northern Colorado lost its 10th game in both of the above seasons, though, so a win Saturday would give the Bears their best start ever after 10 games.
- All of that suceess has also helped the Bears in recent weeks steal a small share of the national spotlight.
- Northern Colorado garnered its first national ranking on Nov. 23 (Mid-Major Top 25)
- In early-December the Bears were featured as a "Best of the Rest" team by The Sporting News, in the magazine's weekly ranking of non-BCS conference schools.
- Northern Colorado was also in early-December the subject of a featured column on FoxSports.com, entitled "The Unlikliest of the Unbeatens." At the time, the Bears were one of just 27 undefeated teams in NCAA college basketball.
- The Bears received 153 points and the #22 national ranking in this week's CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll after debuting at #25 two weeks ago, marking the Bears' first apperance in a NCAA Division I national poll. NC has now been ranked for three straight weeks.
- Northern Colorado completed an undefeated November (6-0) this season for just the fourth time in program history. The Bears previously were perfect in November in 1984 (4-0), 1978 (1-0) and 1976 (1-0).
- The Bears are 6-1 in road or neutral contests this season after finishing 4-14 in those games last season.
- Northern Colorado has had a lot of success early on this season, and there's reason to think the Bears haven't even started clicking yet.
- Junior Devon Beitzel is scoring about the same as he did last season (11.9 to 11.8), but he's playing a lot more (about 30 minutes in 2009-10, compared to 23 last year) and his shooting is way under where it figures to end at the end of the season. Beitzel, a career 46 percent shooter from the field, is hitting just 42 percent of his shots this season and just 31 percent of his shots from three-point range, where he's a career .369 shooter.
- Also, as a team, Northern Colorado is hitting just 37 percent of its three-pointers this season, compared to 40.1 percent last season, when the Bears finished the year ranked No. 8 in the NCAA in three-point shooting percentage.
- And finally, the Bears have built their historic start almost entirely on the road. Of the Bears nine games this year, only one of them have come at home. Northern Colorado still gets to play 12 more games this season in Greeley, where they finished 10-4 in 2008-09.
- The Bears were one of just 15 NCAA college basketball teams (out of 346) in the nation that didn't play a home game in November. Northern Colorado, which didn't have its home opener until Dec. 1, against Colorado State, was the only one of those 15 teams to be undefeated.
- NC's Dec. 1 home opener this year was its latest since 1990, when the Bears defeated Doane College 101-92 on Dec. 1.
- Northern Colorado started its 2009-10 Big Sky Conference schedule on Dec. 4 against Montana State. That was the earliest a Bears team had ever started a conference season. The previous earliest mark came on Dec. 8, 2001.
- Northern Colorado won two tournaments this season (Rainbow Classic, Reggie Minton Air Force Classic) for the first time since the 2002-03 season, when the Bears claimed titles in the Division II Colorado Mines Tournament and Chuck Stephens Classic.
- In winning the Classic, NC joined previous winners like Indiana (1974), North Carolina (1982), Michigan (1992) and Louisville (1993).
- In the championship game of the Reggie Minton Air Force Classic on Saturday, Nov. 21, Northern Colorado defeated Air Force for just the first time since Feb. 1957. It was also its biggest margin of victory over the Falcons (24 points).
- The Bears placed five players on all-tournament teams during its two tourneys this year (three in Hawai'i and two at Air Force).
- The Bears' 81-75 victory Monday night, Nov. 16, gave Northern Colorado 1,000 men's basketball victories in its 107 year history. Northern Colorado men's basketball (now at 1,005 wins) is the second-winningest team in school history (NC baseball has 1,423).