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December 15, 2002

UND BASKETBALL: Rivalry grabs CBS' attention

From: Grand Forks Herald, ND - 15 Dec 2002

By Wayne Nelson
Herald Staff Writer

In preparing a television special on college women's basketball, producer Rich Gentile looked for an NCAA Division II angle, one that would complement pieces on the Division I and Division III segments.

He didn't have to look far.

The UND-North Dakota State rivalry, perhaps the best in Division II, and the two schools' national success ended the search.

The Sioux-Bison rivalry will be included in the one-hour television special, to air on CBS on Jan. 12. The time of the show won't be determined until NFL playoff pairings for that date have been announced.

"We were doing a story on the Tennessee-UConn rivalry, and we're doing a terrific story on Gallaudet University," said Gentile, whose production company Tempo Communications is based in Chicago. "Gallaudet (a school for deaf students) made the Sweet 16 in the Division III playoffs.

"We were doing stories on Division I and Division III, so we thought we should do a Division II story, too."

Upon further research, Gentile discovered that both the Sioux and Bison have been national Division II powers since the early 1990s.

"How in the world does the state of North Dakota get in 10 of the last 11 national championship games and win eight of them?" Gentile asked. "We want to find out what's in the water up there."

A television crew will be in Fargo and Grand Forks Wednesday through Saturday. They'll be on hand for Thursday's NDSU/Minnesota State-Moorhead game, and Friday's UND/Minnesota-Crookston game at Hyslop Sports Center.

UND has won three Division II national titles (1997, 1998, 1999) and finished second in 2001, losing to Cal Poly Pomona in overtime. The Bison won titles in 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1996. In 2000, NDSU lost the Division II national title game, also in overtime.

NDSU didn't have a great 2001-02 season. UND, meanwhile, had another strong year, winning the North Central Conference and advancing to the North Central Region tournament.

Both teams appear to be back in the national title picture again. UND is ranked No. 2 in the latest USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Division II poll.

And the No. 7 Bison, after beating No. 1-ranked Missouri Western on Saturday night, likely will receive a top-five ranking in the next poll.

© Grand Forks Herald