They’re not the Fighting Sioux or the Fighting Nobodies. They’re the Fighting Hawks.
North Dakota feels established with its new nickname and identity coming off some controversy in recent seasons. (They had to ditch the Fighting Sioux name because it was deemed offensive, and have been the Fighting Hawks since 2015 after going without any name at all for a few years.
But if you have a guy named Geno Crandall, who’s able to go for 37 points in a half, I suppose you can call yourself whatever you want.
UH is shooting for its fifth 2-0 start in the last six years. It will have to be mindful of Crandall, who erupted in the second half against Troy on Friday and tied the Stan Sheriff Center scoring record of 41 points, tied with two other visiting players. Through the first couple days of the season, he’s the nation’s leader in points per game — in one game.
Tipoff between the 1-0 teams is at 5 p.m. This will be a sterner test than what Arkansas-Pine Bluff provided in a 12-point UH win on Friday.
Junior guard Sheriff Drammeh is available for UH coming off an illness. My best guess? He comes off the bench today, given both the success of the “Big Three” lineup and the fact that Drammeh was out of practices for a full week until Saturday.
UPDATE: UH is indeed going with the “Big Three” lineup of Mike Thomas, Gibson Johnson and Jack Purchase.
North Dakota is coming off its best season as a Division I member, going 22-10, winning the Big Sky tournament and earning a 15 seed to the NCAA Tournament. (The Fighting Hawks lost to Arizona.) Note: Corrected from them losing to Kansas.
In the first game of the day Sunday, Troy routed Pine Bluff 81-57.