NSIC opener

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BISMARCK, N.D. - The Northern Sun Conference basketball schedule is a long one, and it’s a difficult grind. The University of Mary starts the 22-game grind tomorrow.

The Marauders are 1-2, not counting the three exhibition games they have played. Head coach Joe Kittell says they are right where he thought they would be at this time. "We added seven new guys to the mix, and five red-shirts that are finally getting the chance to play, and only three returnees. It's going to be a work in progress, and so we knew that. Offensive wasn't going to be pretty at times, and defense, you've got to learn how to play with other guys, so we knew it was going to be a challenge, and we've got to get better every day, and, it's a good group, talented group, we've just got to get better."

The Marauders play their travel partner tomorrow. U-Mary is at Minot State, and even though it’s the first conference game, Kittell says it is an important conference game.

"Those games have been so important the last two years, so, the first year we swept them and we were able to get the third spot because of it. Last year we split, and we ended up being in the 4-5 tie with them, and we lost the home game because we didn't get that sweep again. So, those games come down to be really important, and it's right away on Saturday, and right after that we play Moorhead and Northern at home. And so you get right in the grind of it, and get into games that have so much importance to us," said Kittell.

It’s a doubleheader at the MSU-Dome on Saturday. Women are at 2:00 p.m. CT and the men start at 4:00 p.m. CT.