Summit League predictions: Feb 25-27

Okay, it’s the last week for the regular season and I went 6-2 last week with this crap.  There is a still a little bit to figure out in the standings to see who can finishes 3 to 7, and who can get a guaranteed trip to the NIT between IPFW and South Dakota State.

February 25th

South Dakota (4-10) @ IUPUI (8-6) on ESPN3

I would love for South Dakota to win this game, it would help the Mavericks out a little bit; but I doubt it will happen.  The Jaguars won by 11 in Vermillion, and they match up to play big against South Dakota.  Darell Combs needs to knock down threes in order for the Jaguars to really walk away big from this game, as he is really the team’s only healthy consistent three point shooter.  The Coyotes may just fall into Not Play Mode to rest up their players a little in prep to play in the Summit League tournament.

North Dakota State (8-6) @ South Dakota State (10-4) on ESPN3

North Dakota State embarrassed the Jackrabbits in Fargo and forced them to only shoot 29% from the field.  The Jackrabbits have been solid in revenge games this season, and the Bison could still be without their leading scorer, Paul Miller.  The Jackrabbits are 10-0 at home this season, and have lost very few home games in the last 4 years with Jake Bittle in the lineup.

Oral Roberts (6-8) @ Omaha (9-6)

It will be senior night for Omaha, so hopefully Omaha will come out with a lot to play for.  There is a lot on the line in terms of standings for this game.  There will be no chance for Omaha to reach top 3 in the conference if they lose, and a loss could push them all the way down to 5th in the standings.  Omaha has responded well in games like this: like North Dakota State and South Dakota State.

Omaha creates the most turnovers in the Summit League, and Oral Roberts has been one of the worst ball handling teams in 2016; so Omaha should be able to get out in transition.  Oral Roberts’ post players, Brandon Conley and Albert Owens, will not like the match ups against the Mavericks against Randy Reed, Tre’Shawn Thurman, and Jake White.  Neither Conley or Owens are quick enough to guard Randy Reed, neither of them create a bunch of fouls to put Jake White on the bench, and Conley has had to battle injuries all year.

This is also Jalen Bradley’s return to Omaha.  His crossover to his left side step into a baseline jumper move should make you cry that the Mavericks didn’t have it last season.  Oral Roberts is on a 3 game winning streak and Omaha just dropped two straight games, but Oral Roberts has not been a great road team…but they did pick up wins at IUPUI and Western Illinois: 2 places that the Mavericks could not win.

Oral Roberts has an extra couple days of rest, which is great, because it seems like Omaha always gets the team that only had one game in the previous week.  Just great.  The Mavericks only have one game this week, so hopefully they can get some rest to get ready for the Summit League tournament…it really seems like some of the starters need that rest.

IPFW (11-3) @ Western Illinois (2-12) on ESPN3

This game might be worth the replay to hear how many things the ESPN3 Western Illinois commentators get wrong about the Mastodons.

February 27th

IPFW (11-3) @ IUPUI (8-6) on ESPN3

These two teams are actually pretty well matched up.  IUPUI won their first match up in Fort Wayne on a last second shot.  This game could be a really important for IUPUI in where they will finish in the standings.  IPFW is guaranteed to be in the top 2 spots, but a guaranteed trip to NIT would be nice for the Mastodons.

Oral Roberts (6-8) @ South Dakota State (10-4) on ESPN3

Senior Day/Night for George Marshall, Deondre Parks, and Jake Bittle should be big time for the Jackrabbits.  Aside from those dudes being juiced up, Albert Owens should be too slow to guard Mike Daum.  This game might break a record for how many head shakes a head coach (Scott Sutton) and a team captain (Obi Emegano) give to their own teammates mistakes.

North Dakota State (8-6) @ Denver (6-9)

All year I really liked North Dakota State in this game, especially after North Dakota State won the first game by 26; but North Dakota State has lost a lot of steam since that game and they may still be without their leading scorer in this game.  Denver’s Marcus Byrd has averaged 18.6 points per game in the last 5 games.  A Denver Pioneer has averaged 18.6 points per game over a 5 game period…

Denver has some extra rest for this game as North Dakota State will be coming down after a game against South Dakota State.

South Dakota (4-10) @ Western Illinois (2-12) on ESPN3

Okay, this might be the worst thing that ESPN3 has ever hosted.  Both teams should a “Ahh F it” attitude.  This should be really good.  I hope they just take out the commentary and just play circus music throughout the entire game.

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Hey seniors, thanks for the memories

On Thursday night, five seniors will play their final regular season game in Baxter Arena.  Though none of them are 4 years players into the program, they will still leave behind some lasting memories onto the program.  Here are just a few the memories that they gave Mav fans during their time here in the Ralston and Baxter arenas (so far).

November 13th, 2013

In Devin Patterson’s first game, he had 9 points, 8 assists, and 4 steals to help Omaha get their first home win 2013-2014.

November 16th, 2014

In the first game of last season during transition, Devin Patterson had an incredible performance to help lead Omaha to a 25 point win over Central Arkansas.  Patterson finished the game with 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists.  Randy Reed showed some of his promise with 10 points and 7 rebounds off of the bench, while Jake White  almost had a double-double in the first half before being going to the locker room with an injury.  White’s injury would eventually lead Mav fans to constantly wonder what the season would have been like had White been healthy throughout the season.

November 22nd, 2014

While it was not a home game, Mav fans were left to continuously and gleefully keep reloading the box score on their phones and screamed “HOLY CRAP THIS IS GONNA HAPPEN” as the Mavericks were able to pull off an upset at Marquette.  Patterson led the way with 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists.

November 27th, 2015

Another game not played in Omaha, but Mav fans were given the opportunity to watch the game on ESPN3.  Jake White, playing in his home state against Minnesota, was in foul trouble the in the first half of the game.  When the Mavericks were on the verge of making a comeback on the Gophers, Jake White stepped up on offense in the second half before fouling out.  He finished with 23 points with 3 three point field goals, which all seemed to be exactly when the Mavericks needed them.

February 12th, 2015

Tim Smallwood made his first career start after Marcus Tyus’ season ended with a knee injury.  Smallwood was able to show that he was more than just a three point shooter with some key defensive plays against the guards of South Dakota…He finished with 7 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block.  This game was also the most minutes Kyler Erickson ever got at the Ralston Arena, and he was able to show off his hustle, heart, and enthusiasm to the Mav fan in his opportunity, Erickson had 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block…and I’m sure flexed and screamed at the crowd at some point.

February 19th, 2015

In what would be the last game at the Ralston Arena, the Mavericks were almost able to pick up an upset in a 3 point loss to Oral Roberts.  Patterson led Omaha with 23 points and 3 assists.  Randy Reed really brought some energy off the bench that game with 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, and 2 blocks and played really good defense against Korey Billbury while on the court.  Jake White was appearing more healthy at that point and had 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks; yet you could see he was still a little slowed down with injuries.

November 13th, 2015

The first home game after transition, and first official basketball game in the Baxter Arena, was probably the most anticipated game this century for the Mavericks.  The game turned out to be an offensive struggle for the Mavericks, shooting 35% from the field and 3-of-22 on threes in the game.  Randy Reed was able to provide a huge spark off the bench in the second half with a couple of key dunks, and he finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds.  Jake White also had a moment where he was knocked to the ground and quickly got up without the help of any of his teammates, probably to show Mav fans that he was healthy once again…at least that is what went through my mind.

November 17th, 2015

The Mavericks had to force overtime to make a comeback win against UMKC with the help of three seniors in double digits.  Devin Patterson had a key play at the end of the game where he broke by his defender and forced a UMKC player to foul him and send him to the line for the opportunity to send the game to overtime.  Jake White finished with 17 points and 7 rebounds; Devin Patterson with 19 points and 2 assists; and Tim Smallwood with 11 points and 4 rebounds.  The three seniors combined for 24 made free throws.

January 1st, 2016

Another game where the Mavericks had to come from behind to win in the 2nd half to pick up a win.  Western Illinois was ahead by 16 in the 2nd half, but then Tim Smallwood hit a couple of threes and Devin Patterson scored 7 points as part of a comeback run in the second half.  The Mavericks were able to force 9 turnovers in the final 8 minutes of the game, led by Smallwood who had 5 steals.  Smallwood ended with 14 points and 4 threes; Patterson ended the game with 25 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals; and Jake White ended the game with 20 points and 5 rebounds.

January 16th, 2016

IPFW’s Max Landis was close to impossible to guard, and the Mavericks had to comeback to force overtime before losing to the Mastodons.  Devin Patterson and Jake White combined for 50 points in the loss; White as also able to grab 11 rebounds.

January 30th, 2016

Another game that Devin Patterson and Jake White were able to combine for 50 points to help the Mavericks cruise to a win over South Dakota.  Tim Smallwood also added 12 points; and Randy Reed had 9 points and 5 rebounds.

February 10th, 2016

Kyler Erickson was just selected to the NABC Good Works Team and was honored before the game, and rewarded with his first career start.  Erickson played quality minutes and made huge hustle plays on defense to help the Mavericks pick up their first win over a team with a RPI in the top 50.  Jake White scored hit 4 threes in the game to help him reach 18 points on the night, after being limited with foul trouble in the first half.  Devin Patterson added 15 points and 4 assists; Tim Smallwood finished with 7 points; and Randy Reed had some high energy plays to give him 6 points.

February 13th, 2016

With most of his team appearing gassed after their win against South Dakota State, Jake White put on a show with 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting, he also had 7 rebounds to lead the Mavericks to their first win over North Dakota State in Omaha and their first season sweep of the Bison.  Kyler Erickson finished with 7 points, and had a huge dive for the ball to grab possession for the Mavericks.

The seniors will have one final run at home when they meet Obi Emegano and the Golden Eagles, though it is possible that the Mavericks could host a post season game at home.  All 5 players were incredibly essential to the growth and success of the men’s basketball program.  I wish them good them good luck on their senior night, The Summit League tournament, and on whatever future plans they have.


Here are how the seniors stacked up in the since transition stats, and they still have at least two games to go.

By the way, if you’re sitting around like: this guy is an idiot to keep these stats like this…what a loser…he has too much time on his hands.  My wife is working on her PhD and is on a research project that requires her to work from 8am to 10pm everyday of the week.  I was so bored last night that I watched the movie “Dutch” and then backed it up by watching the third Terminator movie…well I was in and out on the Terminator film, and I was really just watching it to remind myself of how terrible it was…the point is, yes, I do currently have time on my hands.  And “Dutch” didn’t hold up like I remembered it as a kid.

Points

3rd Devin Patterson                      1137

7th Jake White                                  651

14th Tim Smallwood                      279

16th Randy Reed                              250

17th Kyler Erickson                          151

Rebounds

7th Jake White                                   361

8th Devin Patterson                         231

14th Randy Reed                                134

15th Tim Smallwood                         118

17th Kyler Erickson                            86

Assists

2nd Devin Patterson                         303

13th Tim Smallwood                           40

14th Kyler Erickson                             36

17th Randy Reed                                  26

20. Jake White                                      19

Steals

1st Devin Patterson                        169

11th Tim Smallwood                         38

16th Randy Reed                                25

17th Kyler Erickson                           21

19th Jake White                                   15

Blocks

7th Randy Reed                                   18

10th Jake White                                   14

18th Tim Smallwood                            6

19th Kyler Erickson                              5

3 Point Field Goals Made

2nd Devin Patterson                        104

7th Tim Smallwood                             55

11th Kyler Erickson                             24

14th Jake White                                    22

25th Randy Reed                                     4

Double-Doubles

2nd Jake White                                         6

Games Started

3rd Devin Patterson                             87

10th Jake White                                      32

15th Tim Smallwood                               7

17th Kyler Erickson                                 4

Points-Sophomore

3rd Devin Patterson                             323

Rebounds-Sophomore

5th Devin Patterson                               85

Assists-Sophomore

1st Devin Patterson                              106

Steals-Sophomore

1st Devin Patterson                                57

3 Point Field Goals Made

2nd Devin Patterson                              32

Points-Junior

5th Devin Patterson                             317

10th Jake White                                     146

11th Tim Smallwood                              113

13th Randy Reed                                     104

17th Kyler Erickson                                 63

Rebounds-Junior

6th Jake White                                        112

11th Devin Patterson                             76

12th Randy Reed                                      52

13th Tim Smallwood                               51

17th Kyler Erickson                                29

Assists-Junior

3rd Devin Patterson                             104

12th Tim Smallwood                              23

14th Kyler Erickson                                14

16th Randy Reed                                      12

17th Jake White                                          9

Steals-Junior

2nd Devin Patterson                               59

10th Tim Smallwood                               19

14th Randy Reed                                       11

16th Kyler Erickson                                 10

18th Jake White                                           6

Blocks-Junior

5th Randy Reed                                            9

7th Jake White                                              7

11th Tim Smallwood                                    3

13th Kyler Erickson                                      1

3 Point Field Goals Made

5th Devin Patterson                                   27

9th Tim Smallwood                                    18

12th Kyler Erickson                                       7

14th Jake White                                              4

15th Randy Reed                                             2

Points-Senior

2nd Jake White                                            505

3rd Devin Patterson                                   497

9th Tim Smallwood                                    168

11th Randy Reed                                           145

14th Kyler Erickson                                     100

Rebounds-Senior

2nd Jake White                                             182

7th Randy Reed                                              83

9th Devin Patterson                                     69

13th Tim Smallwood                                     62

14th Kyler Erickson                                       57

Assists-Senior

1st Devin Patterson                                       93

9th Kyler Erickson                                         21

11th Tim Smallwood                                      18

13th Randy Reed                                             15

16th Jake White                                              10

Steals-Senior

1st Devin Patterson                                       51

8th Tim Smallwood                                       18

11th Randy Reed                                              14

13th Jake White & Kyler Erickson                9

Blocks-Senior

6th Randy Reed                                                 9

9th Jake White                                                   7

10th Kyler Erickson                                          4

12th Tim Smallwood                                        3

3 Point Field goals Made-Senior

3rd Devin Patterson                                       46

5th Tim Smallwood                                        37

9th Jake White                                                 18

10th Kyler Erickson                                        17

15th Randy Reed                                                2

 

 

Summit League predictions: Feb 17-21

5-3 last week, but I love it when Omaha proves me wrong.  I don’t like it when Western Illinois proves me wrong.  This is a big week for seeding in the conference tournament.  IPFW meets South Dakota State and Omaha, who are all in a fight for 1st (and 2nd) place.  Denver has match ups against Oral Roberts and South Dakota, who are all in a fight for 6th, 7th, and 8th.  North Dakota State and IUPUI will also meet on Saturday, which should be a preview of the 4 versus 5 match up in the conference tournament.

So with all of the intensity in these last 2 weeks, I have absolute confidence of picking at 1-7 this week.

February 17th

Omaha (9-4) @ IUPUI (7-5) on ESPN3

Something that scares me is that road teams in the Summit League games are now 0-6 on Wednesday nights in conference play…this includes the Mavericks losing at Western Illinois on a Wednesday.  The Jaguars are also 4-1 in conference play at home.  I think I said that they were undefeated at home in conference play on Monday…my bad.  It’s actually kind of amazing that IUPUI is better at home, it’s not like they have a huge home court advantage with a hopping crowd when averaging an attendance of about 1,000 people.

The Mavs won the earlier match up in Omaha, but it was not exactly a dominating performance.  IUPUI’s size is scary for UNO that they should be able to out rebound and crash the offensive boards and not let UNO run out in transition and get a number of easy baskets.  I say that somewhat blindly as IUPUI is 7th in the Summit in rebounds per game, but the Jaguars did have 15 offensive rebounds in Omaha.

The Mavs have to really watch out for Matt O’Leary.  He’s second on the roster for IUPUI in scoring and tied to lead the team in assists.  He plays efficiently, and at 6’8″, he might be the best big man in the Summit League at putting the ball on the floor and getting to the basket.  He can also step out and hit the three.  Matt Osborne’s game seems a little similar to Mike Rostampour as well, and the Jaguars have him coming off the bench; Mavs may have trouble crashing the boards with both Osborne and O’Leary on the court at the same time so Daniel Meyer and Randy Reed need to play smart in this game.

There is a part of me that is just going with the Jags in hopes to reverse jinx the Mavericks into a win.  I’m not sure if that is how jinxes work, but damn it, the science is not all there on jinxes.

I’m not sure if IUPUI’s Evan Hall will play or not.  He’s a 6’7″ freshman that averages 5 points and 4 rebounds, and he has missed the last 6 games.  I heard he was out with concussion symptoms, but that was from ESPN3 commentators who routinely get stuff wrong.  Anyway, the Jaguars are 3-3 in the last 6 games without him, and their three wins were by a total of 5 points.  They also lost earlier in the season to Missouri and Creighton when he missed two games.

Western Illinois (2-10) @ North Dakota State (6-6)

North Dakota State won by 13 in Macomb, and Western Illinois is not greatly equipped to stop the weave offense of North Dakota State; but this game could be closer than the 13 that the Leathernecks lost by earlier in the year.  The Leathernecks should actually have a shot in this game if NDSU’s leading scorer, Paul Miller, misses his fourth straight game.  Another sort of scary thing for the Bison is that they are in Oh Crap, Let’s Just Make it to March Without Anymore Injuries mode and Western Illinois is in Playoff Mode.  Western Illinois could be playing for a lot more right now.

Oh yeah, Summit League road teams are 0-6 on Wednesday nights in conference. This is the last Wednesday night in the Summit League.

This Bison are pretty much a lock to finish in 4th or 5th and facing up against IUPUI in the first round of the conference tournament, which is a really even match up.

York @ South Dakota (4-9)

Wait… York?

Feburary 18th

South Dakota State (9-3) @ IPFW (9-3)

This could be really big.  The Mastodons really have no one to stop Mike Daum.  Brent Calhoun is not fast enough to guard him.  John Konchar is too small to guard him.  Joe Reed is also someone who is too slow to stop him, but probably has the best shot out of all the ‘Dons to do it.  Daum could really big the big difference in this game.  You could tell Omaha was deeply concerned with not letting Daum get the ball in the 2nd half last week.  The ‘Dons are going to need another 30+ point performance from Max Landis to come out on top  in this game, but does he have enough steam left in him after all the minutes he has played?

Landis has averaged 39 minutes a game in the last 10 games; and while he has had a few awesome performances in that stretch, he has had some duds in those 10 games.  He did come out as the player of the week the last time IPFW faced South Dakota State and Omaha in the same week; but this reminds me of when Greg McDermott played the crap out of Antoine Young in his junior year because they had no back up point guard, and Young could barely finish the season.

February 19th

Denver (5-8) @ Oral Roberts (5-8) on ESPN3

Did you know Denver made 20 threes in a loss against IPFW on Saturday?  They are not likely to repeat that sort of production, but Oral Roberts is not a great defensive team to play up against Denver’s constantly moving offense.  Oral Roberts is a team that can really take advantage of all of Denver’s turnovers…and by Oral Roberts, I mean Obi Emegano.  Denver leads the league with the most turnovers, which is actually kind of sad given how they have the fewest possessions in the conference.

Denver won the first meeting between these two teams by one point in Denver, but Obi Emegano was not playing in the game.

February 20th

South Dakota State (9-3) @ Western Illinois (2-10) on ESPN3

Oh, Western Illinois is the team to have North Dakota State and South Dakota State in the same week.

Amazingly, South Dakota State only won by 2 points in Macomb last season; and SDSU is not as good of a road team this season…Western Illinois has something to ride into this game.  Western Illinois also only lost by 4 to South Dakota State in Brookings at the beginning of the conference season.  Wait, this doesn’t sound like the mismatch that it should be.

The Jackrabbits have won 11 straight meetings against the Leathernecks.  Oh, there it is.  South Dakota State could be in a tough game on Thursday night with IPFW, so maybe they might not have enough left in them to go up against Western Illinois this week.  I thought the same thing when North Dakota State were traveling to IPFW and Western Illinois in the same week, so I don’t want to get burned on Western Illinois again…this is what it landing on red 12 times in a row in roulette does to a man.

IUPUI (7-5) @ North Dakota State (6-6) on ESPN3

The last meeting between these two teams was fun to watch.  IUPUI has really struggled to score on the road since then.  The Jaguars could really have the edge again if Paul Miller misses this game again.

Omaha (9-4) @ IPFW (9-3)

If it was not for a huge mistake on offense at the end of regulation in Omaha, the Mavericks would have had the comeback win against the Mastodons.  The dream is that IPFW will get into a long drawn out exhausting game with South Dakota State on Thursday and really tire out the legs of Max Landis, and then have to face the Mavericks who will have an extra day of rest.

Landis was almost impossible to stop in Omaha, going for 37 points.  Someone like Devin Patterson has responded well to defending someone after they’ve had a huge game like that against the Mavericks.  The Mavericks also appear to play better under pressure…I feel like all the double digit comebacks should be enough to explain that.

Anyway, IPFW has one of their biggest weeks of the season.  They could take control of 1st place in the conference, or they could lock them selves into 3rd, or they could keep it at a three way tie at the top of the Summit League.  Man, I dislike IPFW.  Jon Coffman really loves this basketball program, and seems like a guy to not let his team drop 2 games at home in the same week.  He reminds of me of the guy that parks his 88 Toyota Celica in the back of the mall parking lot so no one door dings it, even though the bumper is covered in rust.

Denver (5-8) @ South Dakota (4-8)

South Dakota’s back court is not deep enough or quick enough to match up against all the guards of Denver.  Denver embarrassed South Dakota a few weeks ago in Denver, and the Pioneers have shown that they can play in Vermillion by beating the Coyotes by 18 last season there.

 

My trivial Summit League rankings – Feb 15

I’d like to thank all of the President’s who made the ultimate sacrifice to give me the day off of work today.

There are only two weeks left of the regular season for Summit League basketball.  IPFW, Omaha, and South Dakota State are in a race for the top two spots in the Summit League tournament; which is important because the two top spots play on Saturday, but then not Sunday if they can pick up a win on the first day.  Obviously, teams would like to play 3 out of 4 days instead of 3 days in a row.

Fun idea for a trip:  If Omaha were to be a 3 seed, you could travel to Minneapolis and laugh at the Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves, and then head to Sioux Falls on Saturday to see the Summit League tournament.

1. South Dakota State

Last Week:  1

Remaining opponents conference record:  22-27

Mike Daum will have Mav fans cursing his name for the next few years.  DAUM! DAUM! DAUM YOU!  Another player South Dakota State has that Omaha went after in high school was Reed Tellinguisen.  Tellinghuisen would look really good on the Mavs, and he looks alright on South Dakota State, but he cannot guard stretch 4s, and mainly Tre’Shawn Thurman.  The amount of fear of on his face whenever Thurman got the ball on the low block was equivalent to when my parent’s dog becomes terrified by the sound of a hammer.

2. IPFW

Last week: 2

Remaining opponents conference record: 27-22

Omaha just had one of their most important weeks since transitioning to division one, and now IPFW is going to have a really important week themselves.  IPFW is about to have South Dakota State come to Fort Wayne on Thursday, and then Omaha come to town on Saturday.  Of the three top teams in the Summit League, IPFW is the least deep team thanks to Mo Evans no longer being eligible.

No player in the league has played more 40+ minute games than Max Landis, and the last two games the ‘Dons were really only been able to go with a 6 man rotation.  No team needs a top 2 finish more than the Mastodons.

3. Omaha

Last week: 4

Remaining opponents conference record:  21-16

Two huge wins for the Mavs last week.  I seriously hope that Western Illinois and Denver week does not come back to haunt them.  Obviously, you want the Mavericks to finish 1st, but 2nd is also pretty important, because that means the Mavericks could get a day off in the Summit League tournament (assuming they win the first game) and not have to play 3 days in a row.  Some of the Mavs looked pretty tired against North Dakota State.

I really do not think Jake White gets enough credit for what he has done on this team.  His shot has become so much better throughout the season, he is incredibly clutch, and there are really not many players in the league that can guard him.  NDSU’s Chris Kading seems to be the best equipped for it, but the Bison needed to have him guard Thurman down the stretch…which allowed for Jake White to go off in the second half over the shorter AJ Jacobson and Dexter Werner.

By the way, one of my keys for the Mavs to have a successful season was for Jake White to improve his field goal percentage and get up around 45%.  He’s shooting 57% from the field!  Now if only referees weren’t out to get him.

4. North Dakota State

Last week: 3

Remaining opponents conference record:  31-26

Okay, I know it gets a little dicey after the top 3 right now.  The Bison have dropped two in a row, but they still have wins over South Dakota State and IPFW on the season.  They are a scary team with Paul Miller on the court, but it would be extremely difficult for them to win one game in the Summit League tournament without him on the court.

I like David Richman, and I know that Chris Kading had some health concerns over the summer, but why did he not play Kading more against Omaha?  The interior of Omaha struggled to score with Kading on the court, granted Jake White was in foul trouble, but still.  NDSU’s best lineup was with Kading and Dexter Werner on the court, Omaha had difficulty scoring inside with the two of them on the court, but Richman insisted on going with Werner and AJ Jacobson as long as he could.  Is he not allowed to play all three of them at the same time?

5. IUPUI

Last week:  5th

Remaining opponents conference record:  28-22

I like the Jags, but the most they scored on their recent 3 game road trip was 58 points… The Jaguars have yet to lose a conference game at home, which is good for them because they have 3 of the last 4 at home…They only won their last two home games by a total of 3 points.

6. Denver

Last week:

Remaining opponents conference record:  15-23

The Pioneers have 2 of their last 3 on the road, and their offense makes them a dangerous team.  You know, that’s all I really want to say about Denver right now.  That’s all I really can say about the Pioneers before wanting to black out.

So, hey, Valentine’s Day was nice.  My wife doesn’t really care about Valentine’s Day, so that is pretty dope.  I made some spaghetti, but I threw in some mushrooms, zucchini, and scallops, and it was pretty tasty.  That was a side to the salmon we had, and I also made a pretty nice salad.  We each had our (current) favorite beers.  She had the Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, and I had the IRA from Zip Line.  That Zipe Line is pretty impressive.  You’re pretty jealous, right?  My Valentine’s Day was me drinking beer with my wife and us discussing how stupid Valentine’s Day is.

7. Oral Roberts

Last week: 8

Remaining opponents conference record:  23-15

The Golden Eagles only have one game this week and it is against Denver, which is really a game for them fighting over seeding in the Summit League tournament.  After that, Oral Roberts is at Omaha and South Dakota State.  Sounds fun.

Scott Sutton and Oral Roberts need to win their last three games just to finish at .500 in conference.  They have not finished below .500 since 2000-01.  The team doesn’t look like they are really “made for the future” right now either.

8. South Dakota

Last week: 7

Remaining opponents conference record:  14-23

The team lost their starting point guard, Shy McClelland, and a rarely used guard, Zach Dickerson, last week.  They are not an incredibly deep team in the back court, but they do have some depth in their front court.  Wasn’t South Dakota versus Oral Roberts one of the most anticipated preseason match ups for this conference?

9. Western Illinois

Last week: 9

Remaining opponents conference record:  27-21

They actually could still make the Summit League tournament.  Their last game against the season is against South Dakota, who is currently in the 8th spot.  Wait, so South Dakota versus Western Illinois might actually be important?  They could take advantage of North Dakota State not having Paul Miller on Wednesday, but if Miller is playing, let’s not kid ourselves… They also have South Dakota State, and now we’re all laughing and having a good time, but the Mav and IPFW fans are looking for God’s address to send him letters.  Actually, Western Illinois picking up a win at home against IPFW is not far fetched.

Summit League Predictions: Feb 10-13

I went 4-4 last week, and I have the confidence to go 2-6 this week.

If you’re wondering about my resume for predictions; I finished in the top 5% of ESPN brackets last season, so I’m kind of cool.  The worst my bracket has ever done was when I picked Kansas to win the whole thing and Northern Iowa’s Ali Farokhmanesh hit a game winning shot to upset the Jayhawks.  Farokmanesh jogs on the same jogging path as me, and I have yet to scream at him, so I also have that going for me.

February 10th

South Dakota State (8-2) @ Omaha (7-4) on ESPN3

Badly want Omaha to be wrong on this game, it would be the biggest win they’ve had since transitioning to division one, but it is a really big challenge and Omaha would have to play nearly perfect.  The Omaha team we saw against Denver was far from perfect, and almost lost that game completely on fundamentals.  Omaha cannot win if Devin Patterson is 2-of-9, Jake White and Tre’Shawn Thurman are in foul trouble, and Randy Reed & Tim Smallwood are both hurt.

But hey, if Creighton can beat the # 5 team in the country on Tuesday, why can’t Omaha beat the # 45th-ish team in the country at home on Wednesday?

As much as South Dakota State has embarrassed Omaha since the transition, the Jacks are only a 3 point favorite tonight.

February 11th

IUPUI (7-4) @ Oral Roberts (3-8) on ESPN3

Obi Emegano only played 20 minutes in their first meeting and ended up fouling out, and hearing that would make you think IUPUI won the game.  The Jaguars were out rebounded by 12 and gave up 10 threes, though.  The Golden Eagles are on a 5 game losing streak and do not appear to have any momentum going their way, but IUPUI also dropped their last 2 games.  Oral Roberts had guys step up, who normally don’t step up to beat IUPUI, can they really do that again?

Look, I just think IUPUI is an all around better team.  Do you want to fight about it?

North Dakota State (6-4) @ South Dakota (3-8)

North Dakota State narrowly beat the Coyotes in Fargo last month, and Coyotes are a bad match up for the Bison…especially if Paul Miller won’t be playing for NDSU.  The Coyotes are going to force teams to shoot threes, and although they have the worst defensive three point field goal percentage in the Summit, the Bison do not have a lot of guys that can consistently hit threes outside of Miller and AJ Jacobson.

Something I would like to randomly point out about Omaha: The Mavericks are no longer last in three point field goal percentage in conference games.  They are 7th above South Dakota and Western Illinois thanks to Omaha shooting 41% on threes over the last three games.

Yeah, I think North Dakota State is a better overall team.  I don’t want to fight about it.

Western Illinois (1-9) @ Denver (5-6)

Western Illinois still has some fight in them, but the Denver players are really getting the hang of their system.  Western Illinois has yet to beat Denver since the Pioneers joined the Summit, and they have lost by an average of 11 points.

February 13th

North Dakota State (6-4) @ Omaha (7-4)

A sweep of the Bison?  You homer, you!

Paul Miller missed NDSU’s last game with a knee injury, even if he plays, can he be nearly as dangerous on a bum knee?  The Bison will struggle to score without Miller.

Of course I say that the Bison will struggle without Miller like a complete jerk, after NDSU just beat IPFW by 16 in Fargo.  The ‘Dons were playing that game with basically 6 players, more evidence to stick out there that IPFW is the least equipped team, of the top 4 or 5 teams in the League, to play 3 games in the Summit League tournament.

South Dakota (3-8) @ South Dakota State (8-2) on ESPN3

The Coyotes have still yet to win in Brookings since both schools joined the Summit League, and South Dakota has lost in Brookings by an average of 18 points.

Denver (5-6) @ IPFW (8-3)

IPFW only beat Denver by one in Denver.  IPFW should actually not be heavily favored in this game, Denver won 2 upsets last week by a total of 5 points.  This game could be another big game for Max Landis, and the Denver slow pace could be really good for him to have an efficient game.

Western Illinois (1-9) @ Oral Roberts (3-6) on ESPN3

Got to say, I don’t feel that confident in Oral Roberts here.  The inconsistency of both of these teams is incredibly scary to really make a call.  I am still going with I just can’t see Obi Emegano letting Oral Roberts lose to his former school.

Maybe the Leathernecks can win again if they barely play JC Fuller like they did against Omaha.  The kid has an awful shot selection, and Billy Wright decided to play De’Angelo Bruster a bulk of the minutes.  Bruster did not make any shots, but he only took 3, and he got his teammates involved and made some really good decisions on the court as a freshman.

SDSU and NDSU should make for an important week for Omaha

Currently sitting tied at third in the Summit League, the Mavericks have the most important week that they have had since transitioning to division one.

It feels like crowds at both games should be bigger than normal this week.  A big crowd on a Wednesday might seem unlikely, but there are a decent number of South Dakota State alums that live in the Omaha area, and they all act like the Jackrabbits are the Spurs.  The Jackrabbit fans did declare Omaha as the “most dangerous” Summit League team, so we have that to hold onto. Omaha’s attendance has been up this season, for a number of reasons, but they have already surpassed the amount of fans that they had all of last season.  The Mavericks are currently averaging about 2050 fans per game, and they averaged nearly 1350 last season at the Ralston Arena.  The Mavericks averaged an attendance of 1970 in the three games that the Jackrabbits played at the Ralston Arena, so perhaps with more on the line this week, the Mavericks can have one of the biggest attendance weeks they’ve ever had in basketball…or at least since transition.  There is no Creighton game on Wednesday, and Nebraska is at Wisconsin, so there really could be more Omahans playing attention to this game than normal.

Not many teams have done well when facing the Jackrabbits and Bison in the same week over the past few seasons, and now the Mavericks unfortunately have to face that schedule after dropping two winnable games last week. There is obviously some pressure for the Mavs to do well here.  Losing two straight games made this week a must win week.  Omaha dropped 30 spots in RPI after dropping those two games last week. Starting off at 7-1 in the conference, and then dropping 3-of-4 games is certainly like watching the first half of a season of The Walking Dead, getting super jacked, and then sitting through 4 episodes where 75% of each episode is awful and you just want to get to the good stuff.

If the Mavs win (especially) Wednesday and Saturday , they still hold a chance to win the regular season title, and if they lose…well then.  The Mavericks have not done well against South Dakota State since transitioning to division one, only winning 1 game.  In fact, in the 6 losses to the Jackrabbits, SDSU has shot 51% from the field and Omaha has shot 38% from the field.  Omaha has also lost those 6 games by an average of 17 points.  The last time South Dakota State came to Omaha, the Mavericks shot 27% from the floor in the game.  I remember feeling confident about the Mavericks going into that game, but a few minutes into the second half made me want to take up a stress relieving hobby.  Like brewing my own craft beers, or just drinking craft beers…okay the drinking craft beers was in my wheelhouse all along.

The good news for Omaha is that road teams do not do very well in conference games on Wednesdays in the Summit League.  This season so far, road teams are 0-5 on Wednesday in conference games, and last year they were 3-9…but South Dakota State did have one of those wins; a 2 point win at Western Illinois last season.  Summit League players must just be upset that they have to wait for 2 Broke Girls, or Arrow.  Jurassic Park 3 is on TV this Wednesday night.  Okay, maybe the crowd wont be that big with that kind of competition.

The Mavericks are going to need senior guard Devin Patterson to step up on Wednesday.  Do you have a garbage can nearby?  Patterson in his last three games against South Dakota State has shot 24% from the field and 0-of-8 on threes.  The Jacks were able to, not stop but, contain the Mavericks penetration and ability to get to the line on the 28th.  Patterson might be the fastest player in the Summit League, although De’Angelo Bruster of Western Illinois is pretty damn fast, but he has had trouble with George Marshall and Deondre Parks, and he needs to penetrate and get to the line on Wednesday night.  Anything to force one of South Dakota State’s Big 3 to the line.

I mention these shooting woes in hopes of maybe reversing a jinx.  Patterson in his career against North Dakota State was pretty poor before the start of this season.  I mentioned weeks ago that in order for the Mavericks to beat the Bison in Fargo, that they would need Patterson to play better.  In 4 career games, he shot 22% from the field 21% on threes against the Bison, but he one of the better games of his career a few weeks ago going 11-of-14 from the field with 32 points; and the Mavericks were able to pick up their first win in Fargo.  The Mavericks need that Patterson on Wednesday night.

Patterson needs help though.  Tra-Deon Hollins has to step up a notch defensively with Patterson to help contain Marshall and Parks.  He only had 2 steals against South Dakota State.  It is good and sad that I said “he only had 2 steals.”  Marshall and Parks combined for 50 points and 19-of-25 from the floor in Brookings on the 28th.  It’s not like Jake Bittle should be ignored either.  In Omaha last year, Bittle went 7-of-7 from the floor with 21 points and 7 rebounds.  Oh, and the Jacks are 15-2 with Bittle in the lineup, and 4-3 without him in the lineup…so yes, he is important.

The Jacks are not quite as good as normal on the road, but the Mavericks are also probably slightly better on the road themselves than they are at home.  The Jacks lost at IUPUI and at North Dakota State, both games were without Bittle, but the Bison just absolutely embarrassed the Jackrabbits in Fargo.

The Mavericks have to play smart as a whole to pickup a win against South Dakota State.  They cannot have the missed dunks and layups, and the bad fouls, and the dumb turnovers against the Jacks; like they did against Denver.  The Jacks best lineup of Mike Daum, Reed Tellinghuisen, Bittle, and Parks really makes smart passes on the floor together, and every single one can knock down threes.  Tellinghuisen has struggled a bit this season, and he did well against the Mavericks last season, but he should be matched up mostly with Tre’Shawn Thurman on Wednesday night.  Thurman needs to attack Tellinghuisen, who appears to be the least confident looking player on the Jacks.

Then there is North Dakota State.  The Mavericks’ win in Fargo a few weeks ago is probably the best win that they have had since transitioning to division one, and the Bison struggle on the road with a 1-3 road record in Summit League games.  But the Mavericks just dropped two games to Western Illinois and Denver, and North Dakota State is not a team that should be taken lightly.

AJ Jacobson, last week, finally looked like the All Conference player he was predicted to be at the start of the season.  Jacobson averaged 21 points and 5.5 rebounds, going 15-of-23 from the floor and 9-of-15 on threes, in two games last week against Oral Roberts and IPFW, both at home.  Before that, he had really been struggling and it was questionable if he would even be named to the Honorable Mention Team in the Summit…well it’s still in question, but you get the idea.

North Dakota State’s defense was known for being very stingy last season, but they could only force the Mavericks to 8 turnovers on the 28th, and they had no answer for Devin Patterson.  The Mavericks also hold an advantage down low against the Bison.  Jake White had 17 points and 7 rebounds against the Bison and Thurman had 16 points and 9 rebounds against the front line of North Dakota State…which is banged up and undersized.

Still, whatever officials the Summit League puts in Omaha appear to be out to get White and Thurman.  Every home game I feel like the Mav fans are going to have to put in money for a bailout fund to collectively put together money to bail an entire arena out of the slammer for an altercation with referees. s

Randy Reed did not play last week with concussion symptoms, and Tim Smallwood appeared to be playing through some pain.  The Bison played without their leading scorer this season, Paul Miller, who sat out with a knee injury, and it is undetermined when he will be back at this point.

This week could really affect how the Mavericks finish.  They could end up in the top half of the seedings, and potentially even in the lower half of the seedings after this week.  So, no pressure at all.


Looking at the schedule this week and the standings…

  1. South Dakota State plays @ 7-4 Omaha and in Brookings against 3-8 South Dakota
  2. IPFW plays in Fort Wayne against  5-6 Denver
  3. Omaha plays in Omaha against 8-2 South Dakota State and 6-4 North Dakota State
  4. IUPUI plays @ 3-8 Oral Roberts
  5. North Dakota State plays @ 3-8 South Dakota and @ 7-4 Omaha
  6. Denver plays at home against 1-9 Western Illinois and @ 8-3 IPFW

 

My trivial Summit League Rankings – Feb 8

What a weird week.  IUPUI and Omaha both lost to Denver, and most likely feel out of the race to hold first place in the Summit League.

1. South Dakota State

Last week: 1st

The Jackrabbits are really rolling right now with Jake Bittle back in the lineup, now winning 5 games in a row.  The Jacks do have the next 3 of 4 on the road, with their home game against their instate rival South Dakota.  Their crunch time lineup of Mike Daum-Reed Tellinghuisen-Jake Bittle-Deondre Parks-George Marshall could really go up against anyone in the country.

I have a serious question.  The Jacks are going to lose three double digit scorers, who should all at least make the Summit League 2nd team, and they will more than likely not be favored to win the conference next season…so should Scott Nagy finally move onto a job elsewhere if the opportunity rises?

2. IPFW

Last week: 2nd

Hey my theory of Max Landis’ legs getting tired as the season goes on looked to be true against North Dakota State on Saturday.  Landis came back down to earth going 2-of-10 from the floor.  Actually, the ‘Dons shot 28% from the field and only had 46 points against North Dakota State.  Without Mo Evans, and not really a bunch of depth off the bench, could the ‘Dons even legitimately play 3 straight games in Sioux Falls in the Summit League tournament?

3. North Dakota State

Last week: 5th

The Bison are only a half game behind Omaha and IUPUI in the standings.  They have won the last 3 of their 4, and the one loss was on the road to IUPUI from a last second shot to Jordan Pickett.  With Carlin Dupree back, the Bison could really get going now, but they do have 4 of their last 6 games on the road.

4. Omaha

Last week: 3rd

Last week was rough.  Western Illinois wanted that win in Macomb more than Omaha.  I mean, they had lost the last 11, so of course the Leathernecks badly needed a win.  The loss to Denver was like taking a bunch of No Xplode and then trying to watch a Jason Bourne film, but having your girlfriend constantly trying to switch the channel over to Pretty Little Liars all while she is arguing with you over who’s turn it is to do the laundry.  Then you’re forced to go shopping with her, and not getting to watch Jason Bourne watch Clive Owen die.  Wait, why were you taking No Xplode, you didn’t even work out, bro?

Omaha not having Randy Reed really hurt the Mavericks against Denver, and it even looked like Tim Smallwood was playing with a little bit of pain.  The fans around really wanted to blame the referees for that loss.  I actually probably would have blamed Omaha’s 3 missed dunks, a number of missed layups, lack of boxing out, and a few bonehead turnovers (although only having a total of 9 was good).  Is it possible that Omaha was looking ahead to the next week against South Dakota State and North Dakota State?

Western Illinois really tried to push the ball inside against the Mavericks, and the Pioneers did the same thing without Jake White on the court.  Clearly the Pioneers had a plan for a stretch of the game where the idea was to get the ball inside to Christian Mackey and let him do post moves for baskets…which is what IPFW did in overtime against Omaha with Brent Calhoun.  This is the first time I put in a: Hey, the Mavericks should have put in Zach Pirog.  His length could have really bothered Mackey, who is 6’6″.

Is JT Gibson still on the team?  It didn’t look like he was on the road with the team in Western Illinois, and he wasn’t on the bench for the Denver game.  I know he’s injured, but he should still be on the bench, right?

5. IUPUI

Last week: 4th

Their losses to Denver and South Dakota State showed that while the Jags are a sound defensive team, but they can struggle in just deciding who is going to take a shot.  It’s not a method like Denver’s offense either, where they are trying to find the best shot.  It’s just that finding an open look for them is as difficult as trying to get your girlfriend to pick a restaurant…after shopping…after you were forced to watch Pretty Little Liars…all while you’re pumped on No Xplode.

6. Denver

Last week: 6th

Before the start of the season, head coach Joe Scott admitted that it would be difficult for his young team to figure out the offense, but he had a group of mature freshman that once they figured it out, they could make a run and win some games.  His team just beat the two scrappiest teams in the League: Omaha and IUPUI.  Still, is this the one team that the 1 to 3 seeds would most likely rather see in Sioux Falls?  This team has 3 of their last 5 on the road.  If this team has Joe Rosga, CJ Bobbitt, and Thomas Neff for the next four years, they could be a really scary team to face over time.

7. South Dakota

Last week: 7th

Like Omaha, the Coyotes have North Dakota State and South Dakota State this week.  Typically a weekly schedule that never fares well for teams, but the Coyotes looked good at home against Oral Roberts.

8. Oral Roberts

Last week: 8th

Wasn’t this team looking like rated 3rd in the preseason poll?  They have no identity, players seem to not have any roles, and Sutton constantly looks as frustrated as your dad when he’s on the phone with Cox Cable trying to figure out why the internet doesn’t work.  The Golden Eagles really look like the team in the Summit that has actually gotten worse as the season has gone on, and this team loses Obi Emegano after this year.

9. Western Illinois

Last week: 9th

Other than their loss on the road to IPFW and the home loss to North Dakota State, the Leathernecks have really been in every conference game this season.  That should actually say a lot about how hard it is to play in the Summit this season.  The Leathernecks could even still make the league tournament, yet they have three straight road games coming up.