February 2, 2012

Men's Basketball comes home to take on the Hornets

Game 21: vs. Sacramento State Get Acrobat Reader

When: 7:05 p.m. (MT) Thursday, Feb. 2   
Where: Greeley, Colo. -- Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion (2,992)
Live stats: uncbears.com   
Radio: KFKA-AM 1310 (Troy Coverdale)   
TV: Web stream -- Big Sky TV (Troy Coverdale)
Coaches: UNC's B.J. Hill (28-24 overall; second season) will face the Hornets' Brian Katz (24-83; fourth season)
All-time series: The Bears and the Hornets have played 11 times (starting in 2006-07), and UNC leads 9-2 and 4-1 in Greeley.

OPENING TIP

  • Northern Colorado will welcome in Sacramento State on Thursday night looking to win back-to-back home games for the first time this season. The Bears defeated Eastern Washington 71-70 in their last game at home and are 3-6 at home on the season. But each one of those wins has been followed by a loss.
  • The Bears, at 4-5 in the Big Sky, are looking Thursday night to get back to the .500 mark in league play for the first time since their loss at Montana dropped them to 3-3. Northern Colorado is currently under .500 in Big Sky play after more than one game for the first time since 2009.
  • With a win Thursday, the Bears would improve to 10-2 all-time against Sacramento State and defeat the Hornets for the eighth straight time. Northern Colorado is 4-1 against Sacramento State in Greeley.
  • The Bears' current 9-2 mark against Sacramento State is their best mark against any of their Big Sky opponents. Their next-best win-loss mark is a 7-5 record against Eastern Washington.
  • After experiencing a "home-heavy" December, the Bears come into Thursday night's game having just completed a "mostly-away" January. They played three games in Greeley in the first month of 2012 while playing five times away from the friendly confines. Thursday night's game is the first of five home games for Northern Colorado in February.  
  • In somewhat of an interesting schedule quirk, Northern Colorado will finish its regular-season series with the Hornets on Thursday night having not even played conference-foe Weber State for the first time. The scene was the same for the Bears when they took on Idaho State and Northern Arizona last week.
  • Northern Colorado has been an exceptionally strong rebounding team this season, and its plus-4.6 rebounding margin is the top mark of the Big Sky Conference's nine programs and ranks it 52nd in the country. The Bears have outrebounded their opponents in nine of their last 10 games, four times in a row, and 16 out of 20 games this season.
  • Unfortunately, t's not equating to a lot of wins, though. Northern Colorado is 6-10 when outrebounding opponents this season.
  • It should come as little surprise, but it's still worth noting: when Northern Colorado has flexed its defensive muscle over the last two seasons (Hill's tenure as its head coach), it's usually won. The Bears are 6-1 this season and 19-4 in the last two years when allowing fewer than 70 points to their opponent.
  • On the flipside, if Northern Colorado allows its foe to get to 80 points or more, it's winless this season (0-7) and 1-10 under Hill.
  • Northern Colorado, coming off Monday's road win at Northern Arizona, is 17-10 under Hill following a win, with a 1-5 mark in those situations this season.