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?
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.
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?
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.
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.