Location: Fargo, ND
Conference: Summit League
Coach: David Richman
Record: 23-9 (12-4 Summit League)
Kenpom ranking: 151
Good wins (Kenpom ranking): Akron (92)
Bad losses (Kenpom ranking): Southern Miss (313), South Dakota (225).
Tournament appearances: 3
Best result: Round of 32 (2014)
NBA alumni: None
Best name: Dexter Werner
Famous alumni: David Bernauer, Gus Bradley, Alf Clausen
NDSU turned heads by topping Oklahoma in last year's tourney, but this is a much different squad. That Bison team was led by three seniors and powered through the Summit League with an elite offense. Coach Saul Phillips took a job at Ohio and those seniors are graduated, but Lawrence Alexander -- who starred in that upset, with 28 points -- is now a senior, and scored 25 to get NDSU a win over top-seeded South Dakota State in the conference tourney.
Style of play: Risk-averse
NDSU plays hypersensibly. They don't turn the ball over (just 15.9 percent of possessions, 19th-fewest) and don't gamble to force opponents to turn it over (16.6 percent of possessions, 309th.) They focus on shutting down their opponents on the defensive glass (they grab 74.6 percent of opponent's misses, 2nd most) but don't risk allowing fast breaks by pressing for offensive boards (they grab 26.5 percent of their misses, 309th most.)
Key player: Alexander the Very Good
6'3 guard Lawrence Alexander will be remembered for his wild three to tie it against Oklahoma in last year's tourney, but he's also been the rock of an inexperienced team. The only senior on the Bison, Alexander played more minutes than anybody in college hoops this year, averaging 38.6 per game. His main weapon is the three -- he takes over seven a game, and hits 44 percent of them.
Fargo-ing to the 'ship
We're gonna go ahead and pin the Bison as the most successful small-conference DI sports program in America. The football team is absolutely dominant, with four straight FCS titles and five straight wins over FBS (top-level) teams. And the hoops team is in its third NCAA Tournament in just seven years of eligibility.