Minnesotans in the tourney Provincial Minnesota fans will want to track these five teams during the NCAA tournament:
Creighton (26-7, No. 3, West Region)
The Jays have a pair of Minnesotans on their roster: 6-7 senior Ethan Wragge (Eden Prairie) and 6-2 redshirt freshman Isaiah Zierden (Benilde-St. Margaret’s), who has been sidelined late in the season because of a knee injury. Wragge has hit a team-leading 104 three-pointers out of 220 attempts (47.3 percent) and is second on the team in scoring (10.5 ppg) and rebounding (4.0 ppg). Zierden had seen his playing time increase before injuring his right knee March 1 against Xavier. He was averaging 3.2 points.
St. Louis (26-6, No. 5, Midwest Region)
The player who makes the Billikens go is Jordair Jett, a 6-1 senior guard who led the team in assists (4.37 apg) and was the No. 2 scorer (13.7 ppg). It’s the second consecutive year the former St. Bernard’s star has led the Billikens in assists en route to a 25-plus-win season. Jett is shooting 48.8 percent from the field (156 of 320) but only 62.3 percent from the foul line (119 of 191).
Gonzaga (28-6, No. 8, West Region)
Osseo alum Sam Dower has taken a huge step this season, going from a top reserve a year ago to Gonzaga’s leading scorer and rebounder this season. The 6-9 senior is averaging 15.0 points and 7.1 rebounds for the Zags. He’s shooting 59 percent (181 of 307) from the field and 82.8 percent (111 of 134) from the free-throw line.
Harvard (26-4, No. 12, East Region)
Another ex-state point guard who makes his team go is 6-foot sophomore Siyani Chambers of Harvard. The former Hopkins standout leads the Crimson in assists (4.7 apg) and minutes (34.1) while averaging 11.1 ppg. Ex-DeLaSalle star Jonah Travis (older brother of current Islander Reid Travis) is averaging 4.6 ppg in a reserve role. The 6-6 junior averages 13.2 minutes a game.
North Dakota State (25-6, No 12, West Region)
The Bison have five former Minnesota high schoolers, enough to field an entire starting lineup, although 6-8 senior Marshall Bjorklund (Sibley East) is the only starter. Bjorklund is the second-leading scorer (13.4 ppg) and averages 4.3 rpg. Mike Felt (Redwood Valley), a 6-3 senior, averages 6.5 ppg and is the team’s top reserve. Jordan Aaberg (Rothsay), a 6-9 senior, averages 3.7 ppg as a top bench player. Senior Fred Newell (Lakeville North) and freshman Zach Checkal (Delano) each average less than 1.0 ppg.