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MEN'S BASKETBALL: Big home weekend for BSU against MSU Mankato, Concordia

Bemidji State’s Maxie Rosenbloom, right, looks for space against U-Mary defenders Chris Mason, center, and Germain Decoste during last weekend’s game. The Beavers host No. 18-ranked MSU-Mankato and Concordia-St. Paul in the final regular-season home games at BSU Gym. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — When preparing to play against a ranked team, it is easy to get lost in the hype and overlook a different opponent.

BSU head coach and Mike Boschee are looking to avoid that by treating this weekend’s games with No. 18 Minnesota State Mankato (21-4, 15-3 NSIC) and Concordia-St. Paul (7-15, 4-14 NSIC) equally important.

“I don’t think you can be a consistently good basketball team if you can’t come into each game with a level head,” Boschee said. “You have to go into each game trying to play as well as you possibly can. Even if you don’t end up playing your best, at least you came in with the right mindset.”

“They are both going to be tough,” BSU senior forward Maxie Rosenbloom said. “Every game in this conference is tough. It does not matter if it is the top team or the bottom team, we have to stay focused.”

BSU hosts MSU at 8 p.m. tonight and takes on Concordia at 6 p.m. Saturday at the BSU Gym.

If Minnesota State’s record — it currently leads BSU by one game in the NSIC standings — was not enough of a reason to circle the game on the calendar, the Beavers remember falling to the Mavericks 73-68 in last season’s NSIC championship game.

“We want to get back to that same level,” Rosenbloom said of the NSIC championship game last season. “With them coming in, it definitely adds a little fuel to the fire.”

Boschee pointed out that both teams have plenty of new faces that were not a part of last season’s squads, but he acknowledged the returning players may have a chip on their shoulder heading into the game.

“I want our guys to play with a chip on their shoulders in every game they play,” Boschee said. “Mankato is in our way of being successful, so hopefully we can find away to be successful against them.”

MSU will bring its No. 18 rank as well as a five-game winning streak where the offense has posted four games with at least 88 points.

Fortunately for the Beavers, they will have the benefit of playing at home, where they are 11-2 this season and coming off of a sweep over Minot State and University of Mary.

Last weekend’s sweep came at a good time for BSU, as it had an eight-game winning streak snapped in its previous game.

“As a coach, whenever you lose a game, you start to wonder when your next win will come,” Boschee said. “It was nice to get it out of the way on Friday.”

Saturday’s contest with the Golden Bears will be the final regular season game for Rosenbloom and the rest of the seniors.

“It has been really crazy to look at where we were at four years ago and compare it to where we are now,” Rosenbloom said. “When Jake, Zach, and I came in, we barely had anyone come to the games and now we have the whole school and town behind us. It is really special for me to be a part of it and I would not trade it for the world.”