MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – When a 16-seed takes on a No. 1 seed Friday night, a lot of Minnesotans will be watching. That’s because a lot of Minnesotans will be on the court.

Five kids from the Twin Cities play for North Dakota State University and Apple Valley’s Tre Jones is a point guard for the Duke Blue Devils.

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It didn’t surprise Hopkins coach Ken Novak that his former player, Vinnie Shahid, sank the free throws that would push NDSU into the NCAA Tournament.

“He’s probably one of the best leaders I’ve ever coached, he’s going to be a coach one day. He’s one that directs traffic, he’s a guy that’s encouraging,” Novak said.

He is the team captain of a Bison team with five Minnesota players.

“You don’t see any fatigue on them,” said Jeremy Jorgenson, with NDSU Athletics.

Jorgenson is with the team in South Carolina. They flew there late Wednesday night, right after their play-in win. Their families came down yesterday.

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“Every player has a group of people here, and it’s really exciting. They’re living the dream right along with their kids,” Jorgenson said.

It’s a bit of a circus right now with all the hype around Duke where Apple Valley’s Tre Jones plays.

“Vinnie, he’s played against Tre so many times it’s ridiculous. Tre is up here playing in the summer also,” Novak said.

Vinnie and his team know the odds of a 16 versus one.

“When the ball goes up and it tips, it’s something we’ve all been doing our whole lives. Forty minutes goes on the clock and it’s a basketball game,” Shahid said.

When Vinnie played at Hopkins, they won the state tournament. That’s Hopkins’ goal again this weekend after cheering on their friend.

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You can catch the Bison take on the Blue Devils right here on WCCO following the CBS Evening News Friday night.

Heather Brown