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Courtesy: USF Athletics

USF Looks to Defend Home Court This Weekend

Courtesy: USF Athletics
          Release: 01/23/2013
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The Game
Sioux Falls returns to the Stewart Center, where they are 7-2 this season, to host Winona State University and Upper Iowa University this weekend. The Cougars meet the Warriors and Peacocks for the second time this season, both having defeated USF on their respective home courts earlier this month.

Please see the related links box for a complete version of USF, WSU or UIU's notes.

The Broadcast
Live Stream: Sioux Falls will provide a free live stream of Friday and Saturday's games. Click here to watch.

Radio: KWSN (1230 AM) will air both games. Tom Frederick will provide the play-by-play.

Links to live audio, stats and video stream can be found on the schedule page here

Fast Break
• The Cougars are 1-2 all-time against Upper Iowa and 0-2 when playing Winona State in basketball.
• USF is 1-8 versus opponents with a winning record this season. WSU heads into the weekend at 16-3 overall, while UIU boasts a 13-5 mark.
• Combined, WSU and UIU are 13-2 (9-1 NSIC) in away games this season.
• The Warriors are currently on a 10-game win streak with their last loss at Minnesota State (12/7).
• USF is 7-1 this season when holding teams below the 70-point mark.
• The Cougars' top-5 NSIC rankings include: second in rebounding defense (29.4), third in turnover margin (+2.31), fourth in steals (7.81) and fifth in 3-point FGs made per game (7.0).
• Senior center James Rader led the way with a career-high 26 points in USF's 71-62 loss at UIU (1/4). The Cougars are 3-1 when Rader leads the squad in scoring.
• USF owns a 75% win percentage when placing four players or more in double-digit scoring, which they've achieved four times this season.
• As the NSIC's 13th ranked offense (64.1), USF has the third-fewest (813) shots attempts in the conference this season.

Johnson Climbing the Coaching Charts
In his fifth season as USF's head coach, Chris Johnson could match Francis Olson's 98 game win total this weekend and climb one spot to sit tied for fourth place on the Cougars' all-time wins list.

We Will Pick You Up
The Cougar bench was somewhat of a no show, as they were outscored 63-32 by the opposing relief in two games over the weekend. Prior to last weekend, USF placed a minimum of one non-starter in double figure scoring in six-straight contests.

Nothing in Life is Free
Free throw shooting has proved to be an Achilles' heel for the Cougars. USF opponents have stepped to the line more often than the Cougars in all but five games this season. During that handful of games, USF is 4-1.

Game of Possessions
Committing single-digit turnover totals in three of the last four games, USF has taken care of the ball. Subsequently, they average just 12.6 turnovers per game to maintain a +2.3 turnover margin. In-fact, they have recorded fewer turnovers than their opposition in 10 of 16 games this season, yet are 4-6 in such games.

Saving the Best for USF
NSIC teams seem to turn in their best 3-point shooting performances when facing USF this season. The Cougars own a league-worst 42.9% 3-point FG percentage defense. WSU is a great example of this phenomenon. The Warriors went 10-of-18 (55.6%) from 3-point range in their overtime win over the Cougars. Both their number of makes and percentage were season-highs.

Winning on the Glass
The difference in rebounding often determines the outcome of a game. After being outrebounded in six of their previous seven contests, USF outrebounded MSU Moorhead and Northern State and matched Southwest Minnesota's rebounding total, yet walked away 1-2 last week. They are 5-2 this season when outrebounding their competition.

About Upper Iowa University
Three players average double figures for Upper Iowa (13-5, 9-3 NSIC) who is posting 69.6 points per game. Picked to finish 12th in the conference, UIU sits fifth overall and third in the South division. Their resume includes impressive road victories over then-No. 9 Winona State (12/1), and No. 20 Minnesota State (12/8). The Peacocks three conference losses came against Augustana, Southwest Minnesota and Winona State. They have tallied 79.5 points a night during their current two game win streak.

About Winona State University
The No. 25 Warriors (16-3, 10-2 NSIC), who were selected to finish first in the NSIC and returned 6-9 All-American and South division preseason Player of the Year center Clayton Vette, is starting to look like the team that was so highly touted coming into the 2012-13 season. WSU owns a 10-game win streak and added another offensive threat with the return of Grant Johnson (14.0 ppg) to their lineup this semester. Vette leads the way for the Warriors averaging nearly a double-double with 19.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. He has seven double-doubles on the year.

Up Next
USF hits the road for a pair of NSIC North matchups at Minnesota, Crookston and Bemidji State.

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