Friday morning reading

PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. — Yes, I took a little detour this week.

The Saturday-Sunday series provided me a chance to get down to the Valley for my step sister’s wedding before heading out to Omaha on Saturday morning.

The team also departed on Thursday, staying in Sioux Falls (I’m sure they are terribly disappointed that they aren’t staying in Sisseton, where they spent two days during last year’s blizzard on the return trip home from Omaha). It will travel the rest of the way to Omaha today and practice there.

In case you haven’t heard, the reason for the Saturday-Sunday series is that Creighton has a men’s basketball game on Friday night in CenturyLink Center. Tom Miller will be there to write a story on Creighton star Doug McDermott, who is attempting to become the first three-time, first-team All-American since Patrick Ewing. McDermott is a Grand Forks native, born in town while his father was coaching at UND.

While I was traveling, UND officially announced the future nonconference series with Wisconsin. This agreement has been reported several times in the past two years, but we didn’t know the exact dates until now.

In 2014-15 and 2017-18, the teams will play in Madison. In 2015-16 and 2018-19, they will play in Grand Forks. They will take a one-year break in 2016-17.

I believe UND will be playing both Minnesota and Michigan State in 2016-17.

We know UND has lined up the Gophers for 2016-17 and 2017-18. It also has a home-and-home lined up with Michigan State. In 2015-16, UND will go to Vermont. And I believe that Providence is set to come to Grand Forks at some point.

There have been discussions about playing in the Fairbanks tournament again as well.

This weekend, it’s a conference game for UND. The team has lost three straight NCHC games and will try to straighten things out in Omaha.

I wrote a little bit about Gage Ausmus for today’s paper. Ausmus brings a different element to UND’s defensive corps this season and has carved out his role on the team.

For those who may not know, Ausmus was a very good quarterback and led East Grand Forks to the state tournament as a sophomore. Dave Hakstol is probably happy that he chose hockey, though.

This week’s Q&A is with Zane Gothberg. It will be posted soon.

Omaha’s paper has a story on UNO’s late summer pickup, Matt Youso of International Falls.

I’ll have more today/tomorrow. But for now, here are my weekend picks:

Miami at St. Cloud State: Great matchup and rematch of an NCAA regional final from last season. The Huskies did a marvelous job slowing down UND’s offense last weekend. Can they do the same against the dynamic RedHawks? Split.

Denver vs. Colorado College: DU defenseman Will Butcher has been suspended for the first game of this home-and-home series. Both of these teams are reeling. Colorado College is 0-5 in its last five games. DU is 1-5 in its last six. Denver sweep.

Northern Michigan at Western Michigan: The Broncos got things right last weekend with a sweep over a struggling Colorado College team. The Wildcats won’t be an easy out, though. Split.

North Dakota at Omaha: There will be a good showing of UND fans but nothing close to last year, when they had the outdoor event circled on the calendar. Neither team seems consistent enough to pull off a sweep at this point in the season. Split.

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