1. Omaha, 6-1
Last week: 2nd
Before the beginning of the season, the Mavericks had never won in Denver, Fargo, or Tulsa; and now they have won at all three. They also have not won at Western Illinois since transitioning to D1…so help me God… The Mavericks have also only had conference season sweeps over UMKC and IUPUI in the past. According to the ESPN3 commentators during the South Dakota State-IUPUI game a few weeks ago: you want to go undefeated at home and split your road games. That math puts you at 12-4 to (most likely) win the conference. The Mavs lost at home, so I guess they’ll just go undefeated on the road.
Jake White is currently the only player that is in the top 5 in the Summit League in points, rebounds, and field goal percentage. His three point field goal percentage is high enough to be in 3rd in the conference, but he does not attempt enough threes to qualify for that category. He is also 8th in the conference in free throw percentage, which puts at the highest free throw percentage for any player 6’6″ or taller in the league.
Tra-Deon Hollins is getting better and better offensively, which should just scare the hell out of other teams. He’s knocking down threes finally…and they are clutch threes, which Omaha desperately needed as the worst three point shooting team in the Summit. JT Gibson should be soon to add to the team’s three point shooting, right?
2. South Dakota State, 5-2
Last week: 3rd
The Jackrabbits got Jake Bittle back in time to beat Oral Roberts and South Dakota. Mike Daum continues to get better and better. Things could get real on Thursday…
The Jackrabbits still hold an RPI in the top 50.
3. IPFW, 5-2
Last week: 1st
Since the loss of Mo Evans, Max Landis has averaged 39.3 minutes per game. He only sat out a few minutes against Omaha because he got into foul trouble. Can he continue the hot shooting and carrying the team playing that many minutes? He’s shot 30% in the last two games at home, so maybe he is losing his powers.
4. North Dakota State, 4-3
Last week: 4th
In the last 5 games, AJ Jacobson is shooting 33% from the field and 28% on threes. It’s possible that Jacobson wont be on the Summit League 1st Team like it was predicted, I can think of a couple guys who can take his place… Curious if this team inserts Chris Kading back into the starting lineup when the team gets closer to the conference tournament.
5. IUPUI, 5-2
Last week: 6th
The Jags were able to knock off IPFW in Fort Wayne, so Mav fans should take a minute to thank IUPUI for this. The Jaguars have become a better team overall this season with the added offense from their transfers and newcomers. By the way, they only had 5 turnovers as a team against IPFW. Amazingly, for not being known as an offensive show, the Jaguars are 2nd in the conference in Summit League in field goal percentage behind Omaha.
6. Oral Roberts, 3-5
Last week: 5th
The Golden Eagles started the conference schedule with a on the road for a game, then home, then back on the road for one game, then back home for a game, then going on the road for two games, to come back home for South Dakota State and Omaha at home. They probably cannot wait for their three game home stretch against IUPUI, Denver, and Western Illinois.
I didn’t get to watch the Omaha-Oral Roberts game. I planned on watching it on ESPN3 on Sunday, and I got the first 10 minutes of the game, but then ESPN3 just decided that enough for me. I saw that AJ Owens did not play, I do not know why, but I watched the Golden Eagles’ game against South Dakota State and I wrote down “AJ Owens has a really quick release on his jump shot, but why? Why does a 6’9″ 260 pound guy need a quick release on his jump shot? Seriously?”
7. South Dakota, 2-5
Last week: 8th
The Coyotes were right there to defeat their instate rival, but couldn’t pull it off. They have two games on the road this week at Denver and Omaha. This is still a difficult team to figure out, and will be a tough out in the conference tournament for the 1st or 2nd seed. Tyler Flack appeared to be healthy again against South Dakota State. He had 10 points and 6 rebounds with a monstrous dunk at one point. If they can get him at 100%, the Coyotes are going to be annoying.
8. Denver, 2-5
Last week: 7th
The Pioneers only had one game last week which was a 14 point loss to Omaha. They get two games at home this week against the South Dakota schools, a split this week would be pretty reasonable.
9. Western Illinois
Last week: 9th
The Leathernecks are 0-7 and their next 5 out of their 6 games are on the road, and the one home game is against Omaha. The end of their loss to North Dakota State was phenomenal to watch. JC Fuller missed two easy shots, Jabari Sandifer missed a couple easy shots and refused to pass to a wide open Garret Covington, and it looked as if the team were not even paying attention to the coaching staff.