No. 12 North Dakota State experienced the full range of emotions that the NCAA tournament can provide over the last week, beginning with hearing their name called on Selection Sunday. Making their second tournament appearance as a Division I member, Saul Phillips’ team was one more than a few people felt capable of winning once in the 68-team field. And sure enough the Bison did just that, knocking off No. 5 Oklahoma in overtime on Thursday night.
While that result and the celebrations that followed was certainly fun, North Dakota State had its eyes on a bigger prize: a spot in the Sweet 16. Unfortunately for the Bison Xavier Thames and the rest of the San Diego State Aztecs proved to be too much to overcome, with SDSU earning a spot in next week’s Sweet 16 with a 63-44 victory.
Following the game the Bison had to deal with the pain that the end of an NCAA tournament run can bring, with six seniors having played their last game for coach Phillips. Understandably Phillips and his players were emotional during their respective postgame press conferences, with the coach referring to this being “only the greatest week of my professional life.”
You can watch the entire press conference here: