North Dakota State (14-7, 5-2) vs. Western Illinois (5-13, 2-6)
Western Hall, Macomb, Illinois; Thursday, 8:30 p.m. EST
BOTTOM LINE: North Dakota State goes for the season sweep over Western Illinois after winning the previous matchup in Fargo. The teams last played each other on Jan. 2, when the Bison shot 54 percent from the field while holding Western Illinois to just 43.8 percent en route to a 94-74 victory.
TEAM LEADERSHIP: Kobe Webster has averaged 15.9 points to lead the charge for the Leathernecks. Zion Young has complemented Webster and is putting up 14.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. The Bison have been led by Tyson Ward, who is averaging 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds.
STEPPING IT UP: The Bison have scored 84.3 points per game across seven conference games, an improvement from the 67.2 per game they put up over 12 non-conference games.
FACILITATING THE OFFENSE: Ward has either made or assisted on 42 percent of all North Dakota State field goals over the last five games. The senior guard has accounted for 37 field goals and 19 assists in those games.
ASSIST RATIOS: The Bison have recently converted buckets via assists more often than the Leathernecks. Western Illinois has an assist on 33 of 85 field goals (38.8 percent) over its previous three outings while North Dakota State has assists on 33 of 81 field goals (40.7 percent) during its past three games.
DID YOU KNOW: The North Dakota State offense has recorded a turnover on only 15.4 percent of its possessions, which is the 11th-best rate in the nation. The Western Illinois defense has forced opposing teams to turn the ball over on just 16.3 percent of all possessions (ranked 334th among Division I teams).
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This was generated by Automated Insights, http://www.automatedinsights.com/ap, using data from STATS LLC, https://www.stats.com