March 19, 2010

Dahlman will test Badgers in NCAA opener

If you don't know about Noah Dahlman, just take a look through Wofford box scores this season.

You'll get to know him quick.

Of the Terrier's top five scoring outputs of the season, Dahlman owns them all. He has had games of 31, 25, 23 (twice) and 21 this season. In addition to that, Dahlman holds all five of Wofford's most field goals made in a game this season.

He stands 6-foot-6 and handles the rock extremely well. He can also shoot the ball as his 58 percent shooting clip from the field suggests. If that stat doesn't do it, try his 16.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game average.

"It makes you constantly have to be in the right spot and always conscious of what you're doing," UW forward Keaton Nankivil said earlier this week in regards to defending a player like Dahlman. "He's the kind of player that if you slip up for one second, he's going to take advantage of it.

"We just have to be conscious, not just the guy guarding it, but all five guys on the floor have to be conscious of what their doing and try as hard as we can to not make the mistakes he can take advantage of."

No other Terrier plays more than Dahlman, no other Terrier scores more than Dahlman and none of the regular contributors shoot better than, you guessed it, Dahlman.

"He's a handful," UW assistant coach Greg Gard said. "He's 6-foot-6 and knows how to play. He's got great footwork. He's always had great footwork. He had that in high school. He's just improved and honed his skills. He's obviously added some strength and some weight and some of those things.

"He gets a lot done. He's probably not going to win a dunk contest, but he's won a lot of games."

Dahlman, who has a brother playing for Michigan State, owns the all-time Minnesota state record for rebounds. And after spending a couple of seasons in Wofford's system run by Mike Young, Dahlman is playing at an incredible level.

"There is a reason he's the player of the year in the Southern Conference," Nankivil said. "He knows how to get it done at his size. Just having the mental toughness and the motor that he has makes all the difference for him."

Jordan Taylor, a pretty solid Minnesota prepster himself, knows Dahlman through the AAU circuit. Having played with the Wofford standout, Taylor is excited for the opportunity to reunite.

"I played on the same team as him for a year," Taylor said. "He's a workhorse, or he was back then. I can only imagine that he's gotten better since then. I know that he had a great season down there.

"It will be fun to see those guys again and play against them."

Other than Dahlman, Wofford has two other players from the Land of the Lakes. Juniors Cameron Rundles and Jamar Diggs transplanted their game from Minneapolis to the southern comfort of Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Those two guards rank second (Diggs) and fourth (Rundles) on the team in scoring and are among the team leaders in assists.

Together, they help make Wofford a 26-win team.

"There is a reason they're an NCAA tournament team," Nankivil said. "At this time of year, you figure everybody is good and doing something well. This is the type of team that you look at and see they're so fundamentally sound that we're really going to have to play well in order to not let them get after us and take advantage of our mistakes."

Tip off is scheduled for 1:50 p.m. central time.

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