UW-North Dakota State pregame notes

Here are a couple of tidbits leading up to tonight’s CBI first-round game between Wyoming and North Dakota State.

–North Dakota State coach Saul Phillips knows first hand how good UW junior forward Leonard Washington is. When Washington was a freshman at USC in the 2008-09 season, he and the Trojans beat North Dakota State 61-57 in Los Angeles, and Washington scored 17 points. That was a season-high for him. Washington has posted double-doubles in three of the last four games for the Cowboys.

–Phillips may be able to pick the brain of an established Mountain West coach for some┬ádirt on the Cowboys. Phillips replaced Tim Miles at NDSU after Miles was hired at Colorado State and was an assistant for Miles at NDSU. The Rams are in the NCAA Tournament and open play Thursday against Murray State. “He’s so busy right now but I do plan on giving him a call and asking his opinion on some players,” Phillips said earlier in the week. “I’m sure a part of him wants the Mountain West to do well, but I’ll try and talk to him.”

–UW stayed together after its loss to UNLV in the MW Tournament last Thursday. North Dakota State lost its first game in the Summit League Tournament March 4 and many players soon left for spring break thinking there would be no postseason appearance. There was a scramble to get players back to get ready for tonight’s game. Got to wonder if that will affect the Bison or not.

–This is UW’s 24th postseason appearance in school history. That includes 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, eight in the NIT and two in the CBI.

–This is UW’s fifth game on a Wednesday this season and is 1-3 in its previous four.

–Phillips said UW’s deliberate and defensive style of play reminds him of Summit League foe Western Illinois. Maybe that’s good because Western Illinois won all three games against the Bison this season.

Follow me on Twitter tonight for live updates during the game @rpgagliardi, and see Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang for game coverage. And, don’t forget to join me for our live chat at 3 p.m. Thursday where we can talk CBI, UW spring football and NCAA Tournament — or anything else you want.

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