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Up next for IPFW: Today vs. South Dakota

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Mastodons need every win to stay in league race

Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 3:35 am

Up next for IPFW: Today vs. South Dakota

When: 7 p.m. (EST)

Where: Gates Sports Center

On the air: ESPN 1380-AM

Records: IPFW (18-8, 6-3 Summit League), South Dakota (9-14, 3-5)

Expected starters for the Mastodons: Steve Forbes – 6-9, redshirt junior center; Luis Jacobo – 6-5, senior forward; Michael Kibiloski – 6-7, senior forward; Pierre Bland – 6-2, senior guard; Joe Edwards – 6-4, junior guard.

Update: IPFW has enjoyed a record-setting season this year and that will continue with a victory tonight. A win would mark the Mastodons' 19th win of the year and set a new program mark at the NCAA Division I level. IPFW has been trying to achieve that mark for over a week, as it is on a two-game skid after losses at South Dakota State and North Dakota State. In those losses, the Mastodons had their worst and third-worst shooting performances of the season. The Coyotes are a solid defensive team (just over 43 percent shooting allowed), which will provide a challenge for the Mastodons. IPFW is just 3-3 over its last six games and needs every win possible to remain in the chase for the Summit League regular season championship. With five games remaining, the Mastodons are a game behind North Dakota State (7-2) and tied for second with South Dakota State (6-3), while Denver (5-3) will be at IPFW Saturday and is close behind. By winning the regular season championship, the Mastodons would be guaranteed a berth in the NIT. The Mastodons fell to the Coyotes last month on the road 75-61. IPFW is ranked 25th in the latest Mid-Major national poll and is tied with Indiana State for the most victories of any Division I team from this state.

IPFW coach Tony Jasick: “With the media, there is a lot of talk and a lot of questions about (the post-season), and let's be honest, I don't live in a cave. There are a lot of neat and exciting things that could occur at the end of the year. But it's all a wash if you don't take care of business and prepare as a player and as a coach to have some success (against South Dakota). We talk to our team every day, literally, since October about playing your best. What do you have to do to play your best as part of our team playing its best? We have not done that yet. That was our goal Monday in practice and that was our goal (Wednesday) in practice. We are trying to prepare ourselves to play our best (against South Dakota). Because if we play our best, were pretty good. We've seen it in spurts. If you can do that? Then all of this other (post-season) stuff? It will all work out.”