Men's Basketball heads to Laramie for Cowboy tussle
Northern Colorado at Wyoming (Laramie, Wyo)
Northern Colorado notes | Wyoming notes | Big Sky Conference 2011-12 Men's Basketball Media Guide | Mountain West Conference notes
- Game 2: Northern Colorado (0-1) travels to regional-rival Wyoming (1-0) for Tuesday-night matchup
- When: 7:05 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 15
- Where: Laramie, Wyo. -- Arena-Auditorium (15,000)
- Live stats: wyomingathletics.com
- Coaches: The Bears' B.J. Hill (21-12 overall; second season) will take on the Cowboys' Larry Shyatt (90-93; seventh season).
- All-time series: This one's been all Wyoming, with the Cowboys holding a 50-19 mark and a 25-7 advantage in Laramie.
- TV: The game will not be televised.
- Radio: KFKA-AM 1310 (Troy Coverdale)
NORTHERN COLORADO NOTEBOOK
THE BEARS BASICALLY
- Northern Colorado Athletics began its transition to NCAA Division I play in 2003, and the Bears' basketball program was first postseason eligible in 2007.
- Northern Colorado Basketball won the Big Sky Conference's regular-season and postseason championships in 2011 and qualified for its first NCAA Tournament -- just five years after beginning play at NCAA Division I. The Bears drew a No. 15 seed and lost to second-seeded San Diego State 68-50 in Tucson, Ariz.
- The Bears had qualified for the NCAA Division II Tournament four times previously, including in 1964, 1965, 1966 and in 1989.
- Northern Colorado received 141 points, one first-place vote and the third pick in this year's Big Sky Conference Preseason Basketball Media Poll, which is the programs' second top-three preseason nod in the last two seasons. The Bears' preseason media picks since joining the league in 2006: 9th, 8th, 6th, 6th, 2nd.
- The Bears received 41 points, no first-place votes and the fourth pick in the Big Sky Preseason Coaches poll, which is where they were picked last year, too.
- Northern Colorado finished the 2011 season ranked No. 98 in the final NCAA RPI report, coming in ahead of Big Sky-teams Montana (122), Northern Arizona (161) and Weber State (162).
- That top-100 finish represented a monumental turnaround for the Bears, who finished the 2007 season ranked at No. 336 -- the lowest in NCAA Division I.
- Northern Colorado qualified for its third consecutive NCAA Division I postseason last season (Big Sky quarterfinals in 2009, CIT quarterfinals in 2010 and NCAA Tournament in 2011).
- Northern Colorado finished the 2010-11 season ranked eighth in the country in team free-throw percentage, and it also ranked in the national top 50 in three-point field-goal percentage (21st), rebounding margin (28th) and 3-pointers made per game (31).
- The Bears have made at least one 3-pointer in 142 straight games, with their last 0-for coming against Weber State on Dec. 28, 2006.
- The Bears, who are 14-0 at home during the 2010-11 season, are 27-3 in Greeley over the past two seasons and 37-7 at home since 2008.
- Northern Colorado has only had three undefeated home season in its 107-year history. The Bears also finished with a spotless record in Greeley in the 1948-49 season (10-0) and the 1926-27 campaign (8-0).
- The Bears are 37-4 over the last two seasons when leading at the half, including a 16-2 mark in that situation in 2010-11.
- At 1,043 all-time victories (107 seasons) Northern Colorado basketball is the second-winningest program in school history, behind Northern Colorado baseball, with 1,423).
LAST WEEK'S TOP BEAR
- Northern Colorado redshirt-sophomore guard Tate Unruh cored a team-high 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field Saturday night in the Bears' 89-75 loss to New Mexico State.
- Unruh also had three steals, three rebounds and three assists, to go along with three 3-pointers in the Bears' first home loss since March 2010.
- Unruh, who missed 11 games last season with an infection after an offseason surgery, played 31 minutes against the Aggies, which was a career high.
A NORTHERN COLORADO WIN AGAINST WYOMING WOULD ...
- Keep the Bears from starting a season 0-2 for the first time since the 2006-07 season, when they started the campaign with losses at Ball State and at Purdue en route to an 0-4 start.
- Give Northern Colorado a second straight win against the Cowboys after losing to them 21 straight times in games dating back to the 1936-37 season.
- Bring the Bears' all-time record against Wyoming to 20-50 and be just their eighth victory ever against Wyoming on the road.
- Improve Northern Colorado head coach B.J. Hill's record against the Mountain West Conference to 2-2. The Bears, in Hill's first season as their head coach, finished 1-3 against the Mountain in 2010-11, defeating Wyoming but losing to Colorado State in the regular season and San Diego State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
SOMETHING'S MISSING HERE ...
- Northern Colorado achieved great success during a historic run in 2011, but much of that was due in large part to the production of seniors (Devon Beitzel, Chris Kaba, Neal Kingman and Taylor Montgomery) who aren't with the program anymore.
- Here's a closer look at what the Bears will have to replace this season to match last year's success: 1,501 points (66 percent of team's scoring), 453 made field goals (62 percent), 418 made free throws (73 percent) and 602 rebounds (58 percent).
- The Bears in 2011-12 will also have to replace quite a few minutes played, with Beitzel, Kaba, Kingman and Montgomery accounting for 112 minutes played per game last season (56 percent).
- The last time Northern Colorado returned less than 40% of its previous year's scoring was in the 2004-2005 season.
THE RETURNS ARE GOOD, THOUGH ...
- When the ball goes up Saturday night against New Mexico State, Northern Colorado will feature quite a different look than the team that took the floor during last year's run to "March Madness." But there will be some familiar faces and others who have been with the program for awhile, just not seen any floor time yet.
- Take senior forward Mike Proctor, for example. He's been an integral part of the Bears since his first career game at Oregon in November 2008, and Coach B.J. Hill will look for big things from his lone senior, who comes into this season averaging six points per game over his career, to go along with five rebounds per game and a 50 percent career shooting mark from the field.
- Redshirt-junior guard Elliott Lloyd also knows a thing or two about being a Bear, as this will be his fourth season in the program. He played in all of Northern Colorado's 32 games last season and started in 31.
- Lloyd has averaged eight points per game in the 65 he's played in the blue and gold, and his leadership, along with Proctor's, will be key for Northern Colorado during its title defense.
- The Bears will also welcome back this season Paul Garnica (played last year as a true freshman), Tate Unruh (redshirted two years ago; played last year), Emmanuel Addo (redshirted two years ago; played a lot last year), Connor Osborne (played two years ago; medical redshirt last year) and Tevin Svihovec (has never played but redshirted last year).
THE BEARS ALSO RETURN THE BIG SKY'S BEST COACH
- Northern Colorado coach B.J. Hill, in his first season with the Bears last year and in his first season as a head coach at any level, was tabbed by his peers as the top coach in the Big Sky Conference after keeping the Northern Colorado train on the tracks and guiding the Bears to just their third 20-win season in school history.
- Hill also led the Bears (21-11, 13-3 Big Sky) to their first regular-season Big Sky title in 2011, and the Big Sky Conference Championship and subsequent NCAA Tournament automatic berth.
- At the time, Hill's award was Northern Colorado's second Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year honor (Volleyball coach Lyndsey Benson won it in 2009), and the Bears have followed up with Jaime White's Conference Coach of the Year honor last season as well as soccer coach Tim Barrera's honor earned just last week.
HILL'S GOT A GOOD HEART, TOO
- The participants for the second annual "Shots from the Heart" tournament, presented by CollegeInsider.com, were announced Wednesday, Nov. 9, and Hill is among the 64 coaches from across the nations set to take part in the fund-raiser to benefit the Skip Prosser Foundation.
- Prosser, the former Wake Forest head coach, passed away July 26, 2007, after suffering a heart attack.
- That's the good news -- that Hill will be involved in such a deal for such a good cause. The bad news? He drew defending champion Fred Hoiberg in the first round of the tournament. Hoiberg, one of the best shooters in the history of the Big Eight Conference, is entering his second year as the head coach at Iowa State, whom the Bears will play on Tuesday, Nov. 22.
- Participating coaches will not actually compete against each other on the same court. Each will shoot 25 free throws at their convenience, a representative from their respective athletic departments tallying the results. The coach with the most makes will advance.
- Shots 1-10 are worth one point; 11-15, two points; 16-20, three points; 21-24, four points; and shot 25 is worth five points.
- Fans can follow results from the season-long event at www.collegeinsider.com/shots