Nothing gets you going like a good 1 versus 8 match up in conference tournaments.
So, I know I’ve said it a few times before, but South Dakota’s defense forces teams to take more threes than any other team in the Summit League…and also finished in 8th in defensive three point field goal percentage, so good for them. Teams averaged taking 22 threes against the Coyotes. Maybe it’s not that they force teams to take so many threes…maybe they are just giving wide open looks on threes, but still…
On the reverse: no team in the Summit League made or attempted more threes than IPFW. The Mastodons made just a little more than 10 threes per game, and overall on the season, South Dakota State was 2nd in the Summit League in three point field goals with 93 less total threes than IPFW. IPFW’s 10.3 threes per game is 6th in division 1. The ‘Dons also led the conference in three point field goal percentage. Aside from this, they also lead the conference in rebounding.
In the first meeting between the Coyotes and Mastodons, IPFW shot 9-of-26 from behind the arch. The team overall also shot 52% from the floor, and four ‘Dons scored in double figures. The ‘Dons won this game by 20 points, but it was a much different game than what will be played in the Summit League tournament. Mo Evans is no longer eligible to play and he had 20 points and 9 assists in that game. Tyler Flack for South Dakota was still not playing at 100% after coming back from sitting out the previous season with an injury; and also Shy McClelland was the only player for the Coyotes to score in double figures, and he has since quit the team.
In their second meeting, in Vermillion, Tyler Flack was becoming more comfortable coming off a couple double digit scoring games, Mo Evans was off of IPFW, and this was going to be South Dakota’s first game without Shy McClelland. McClelland was a scoring threat for South Dakota, averaging 11.5 points per game, but he shot 51% from the free throw line and did not attempt many threes for South Dakota. The Coyotes had senior Trey Norris to take the starter role, who had experience starting for South Dakota, but the team would still be left without some depth at the guard position. Since McClelland left the team, Norris has averaged 12.5 points per game and the Coyotes were 4-4 without McClelland…granted one of those wins was over York, but they beat North Dakota State, Oral Roberts, and IUPUI. Norris is also an 80% free throw shooter, so you kind of have to ask why Craig Smith wasn’t starting him over McClelland before.
So, in their second meeting, IPFW shot 20-of-36 on three point field goals, and Max Landis made 11 of those threes to help him get 44 points for himself. IPFW won the game by 13 on the road. Juco transfer, DeAngelo Stewart scored 17 points off the bench for the ‘Dons, and he probably does not get enough credit, along with senior Michael Calder, in how the ‘Dons have been able to remain successful after the loss of Mo Evans. Hard to throw credit around at IPFW when Max Landis is more than likely going to be the Summit League player of the year. Also, freshman John Konchar is a candidate for newcomer of the year averaging nearly 13 points and 9 rebounds per game. Konchar also had a double-double in each game against South Dakota. He had 15 points and 10 rebounds in his first game against South Dakota, and then 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 10 assists in the second game at South Dakota.
South Dakota can play big against IPFW with Tyler Flack healthy and 6’8″ Eric Robertson at center. They also have a couple 6’9″ freshmen to come off the bench to back them up. IPFW can match that really, but with all the threes that South Dakota allows IPFW to make…does it really matter if South Dakota plays big?
The Coyotes have 2 advantages in the first round of the Summit League tournament.
1. This is basically a home game for them…but they let Max Landis go for 44 points when they played in Vermillion against IPFW.
2. Max Landis has played 40 minutes in each of the last 5 games, granted it really does not seem to matter, but it is wearing Landis down a little. He’s shooting 38% from three in the last 6 games as opposed to his 46% from three on the season. And really, even if you just contain Landis; Konchar shoots 45% on threes; DeAngelo Stewart shoots 42%; Michael Calder shoots 39%; and Joe Reed shoots 34% on threes. IPFW’s team three point field goal percentage is 6th in division 1.
Still, you would think IPFW would really like to get a big lead so they can rest Landis as they have IUPUI or North Dakota State in the second round if they win…and IPFW was a combined 1-3 against the Jaguars and Bison.
The game is a bad match up for South Dakota, but really how many 8 versus 1 seeds are great match ups for the 8 seed?