SIOUX CITY |With Iowa prep basketball teams taking a break during the holidays the local college teams are ready to take center stage in the city.
Five things to watch for during the two-day, eight-game Briar Cliff Holiday Classic at Newman Flanagan Center/Ray Nacke Court.
TOUGH STRETCH: Briar Cliff women face two more ranked teams to close out its December slate, sixth-ranked Jamestown and 23rd-ranked Mayville State. That gives the Chargers five of their six games in the month against teams ranked in the NAIA Division II national poll. Part of the reason for the 6-9 start is the tough schedule as Briar Cliff is 1-6 against ranked teams this season.
TOP SCORERS: Morningside College senior Madison Braun leads the Great Plains Athletic Conference in scoring at 18.7 points per game. Mayville State sophomore Andi Gayner leads the North Star Athletic Association at 18.6 points per game. Mayville State (85.6) and Jamestown (79.6) rank 1-2 in scoring in the NSAA while Jamestown also leads the league in scoring defense at 58.9. Sixth-ranked Morningside's 84.6 points per game rank third in the GPAC while Briar Cliff is seventh at 70.2.
GPAC VS. NSAA: Briar Cliff is 1-1 against the NSAA, defeating Waldorf and falling to Valley City State, this season while Morningside is playing a North Star foe for the first time. Jamestown, who will join the GPAC next school year, is 2-2 against the GPAC, beating 18th-ranked Northwestern and Dordt while suffering its only two losses of the season to second-ranked Concordia in overtime and ninth-ranked Dakota Wesleyan. Mayville State, meanwhile, is 2-1, falling to Concordia and downing Northwestern and Dordt.
HOME SWEET HOME: Briar Cliff men take an 18-game non-conference home court winning streak into Friday's action. The Chargers last non-conference home setback came against Clarke on November 9, 2013. Briar Cliff, 6-0 at home already this season, went 12-3 a year ago at the Flanagan Center. The Chargers have not dropped a game in the Briar Cliff/Morningside Holiday Classic, each alternating host duties every other year, since 2011-12.
POINTS APLENTY: The four men's contests should all be fast-paced, up-tempo, high-scoring affairs. Briar Cliff averages 91.9 points per game, ninth-best in the NAIA Division II while York is at 87.2, Morningside 83.1 and Culver-Stockton 77.6. Morningside and York have balanced teams with four double figure scorers while Briar Cliff and Culver-Stockton have three apiece.