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.
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)
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.
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.
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.