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Monday, July 2, 2012

Maverick, Huskies Hoops Rivalry Corralled

As the old phrase goes, all good things must come to an end and no, we aren’t talking about the McRib’s stay at your local McDonalds, but instead, the 34-year run of Minnesota State and St. Cloud State playing their traditional home and home in basketball. 

Head men’s basketball coach Matt Margenthaler announced the 25-game schedule today with four nonconference games and a 21-game Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference schedule (you can view the schedule by clicking HERE).  After a double-and-triple take I came to the realization that MSU and SCSU will only play once this year and here is why.

As most of you know by now, the NSIC welcomes Sioux Falls and Minot State this season, pushing the league to 16 teams.  In both men’s and women’s basketball – along with many other sports – the league will be split into a north and south division in order to accommodate scheduling.  

That being said, Minnesota State will play in the South Division while league rival St. Cloud State will participate in the North Division.  Since MSU plays every team in their division twice (SMSU, Augustana, Sioux Falls, Concordia, Wayne State, Upper Iowa and Winona State) it will only play the Northern Division (Bemidji State, St. Cloud State, Minnesota Duluth, MSU Moorhead, Northern State, MSU Moorhead, Minot State and U-Mary) teams once.  

So, that leads us to this year’s schedule.  Due to the unbalanced schedule, MSU plays St. Cloud State just once this year – and most likely every year in the near future.  This year’s contest is slated for Jan. 18 at Hallenbeck Hall on the campus of St. Cloud State.

While it’s not the rivalry of Michigan/Michigan State, North Carolina Duke, etc., the St. Cloud State/MSU rivalry is a pretty darn good one.  Over the past 34 years the two teams have faced each other at least twice a year – and on nine occasions they have faced off three times in a year.  As cliché as it sounds, the match-up is generally always one that you can “throw the records out the window when these two teams play” type of game.  

Despite the fact that SCSU owns an 88-78 record all-time against MSU, the series has become extremely competitive with Margenthaler at the helm.  Over the past 26 games (SCSU owns a 15-11 edge during that span), the total point differential between the two teams is two points (2,041 for MSU, 2,039 for St. Cloud State).  Five games have been decided by three points or less and 12 games have been decided by ten points or less.   Finally, the Mavericks average margin of victory in the series is 12.5 points while SCSU’s average margin is 9.8 points.  Needless to say the two teams get after each other every time on the court. 

However, maybe as in the case with life, maybe absence will make the heart grow fonder.  While we’re not calling for a love fest between the two teams, but maybe the fact that this year – since we only play the Huskies once – the Mavericks can have a large following up to Hallenbeck Hall for that Friday evening game and vise versa next year when the Huskies travel to the Taylor Center. 
Speaking of schedules, the men’s and women’s cross country schedules, men’s and women’s indoor track schedules, men’s hockey schedules, soccer, volleyball and football schedules for next year are all online.  It should be safe to say that the women’s basketball schedule should be announced in the near future as well.  As always stay tuned to www.msumavericks.com for more information.