I’m just, eh, I just want to, ugh… Okay, I am bitter right now. I guess the Summit League tournament will still go on?
IPFW and North Dakota State
The last time IPFW and North Dakota State met, the Bison held the ‘Dons to a season low 46 points and 28% from the field. The Bison were also without their leading scorer, Paul Miller.
The Mastodons may have the advantage of an extra day of rest, but the Bison are not a great match up for IPFW. For the best IPFW offensive players, North Dakota State has a great defender to counter that player. Joe Reed will be defended by Chris Kading or Dexter Werner for a bulk of the time, both players come off the bench, so Reed may need to take advantage of his time with them on the bench. John Konchar will have to deal with AJ Jacobson and also Dexter Werner at any given moment. Konchar did not play that great offensively against the Bison in their two meetings. In Fargo, he shot 1-of-5 from the floor and in Fort Wayne he shot 2-of-6 from the floor but he had 19 freaking rebounds. Max Landis will also be guarded by Kory Brown, who is one of the better wing defenders in the Summit League. Landis shot 2-0f-10 in the loss in Fargo and 5-of-15 from the floor in the ‘Dons win in Fort Wayne.
The ‘Dons do have the extra day of rest, but the Bison have a slightly deeper team to throw at IPFW. Seriously, only 6 players on IPFW actually get any real minutes. The Bison also played one of the slowest games in the last decade last night against IUPUI. A game so ugly it can only be described as the any given parody Andy Dick character of basketball games. The Bison defense held the Jaguars to shoot under 30% from the field last night. They also held South Dakota State under 30% from the floor earlier in the year. So I guess that probably means they have a good defense or something. Numbers are hard. Once the blog gets Rylan Murry to be the Blog Math Guy, that’s when this can really get rolling.
Anyway, this game should be a great watch and should really go down to the wire. If it does get down to the wire, North Dakota State is not a good free throw shooting team. They shoot 68% from the free throw line, which is last in the Summit League.
South Dakota State and Denver
South Dakota State playing Denver is actually pretty scary. Scott Nagy has called out his team a few times this season for not showing any toughness, and the only player on the entire team that showed any toughness Saturday night against Oral Roberts was Mike Daum. The three senior leaders of the Jackrabbits combined for 5-of-20 from the floor against Oral Roberts and each had difficulty guarding freshmen guards of Oral Roberts.
The Jackrabbits have to go from a fast paced team to a team like Denver…and while South Dakota State swept Denver this season, they struggled in each game against the Pioneers this season. Deondre Parks and George Marshall both struggled in each game against Denver, and the Pioneers had the game close in down the stretch in each meeting. They both struggled Saturday against Oral Roberts, and they can really win this tournament with both players cold.
“The other guys” for South Dakota State need to step up for the Jackrabbits to avoid an upset against the Piooners. Denver doesn’t have the length to guard Mike Daum from…anywhere, nor any length to bother Ian Theisen in the post. South Dakota State has the defense to disrupt the Princeton offense, but if Denver is still on fire after their game against Omaha, the Pioneers are an extremely tough out for anyone. Denver has also shot 50% or better in their last 3 games…one of those games was against the tough defense of before mentioned North Dakota State.
Denver’s freshmen have gotten better and better as the season has gone on, and they have really exceeded expectations as a team. This is actually exactly what Joe Scott said would happen with this team. The Pioneers also played in a weekend classic to open up the season playing 3 games in 3 days, where they beat Santa Clara and Lipscomb on days 2 and 3; so they are capable to continue playing their game day-after-day.
With an RPI hovering around 200, and probably little chance at a post season tourney, there is almost no pressure on the Pioneers. If they win, they get to keep going, and yay. If they lose, they had a season much better than expected and have a lot to build on for next season. The Jackrabbits have a lot of pressure to win this game. It is basically a home game, they need to prove their toughness to their coach, and they are losing a lot off their team heading into next season. The expectation for this team was to win the Summit League regular season, and the conference tournament, anything less than that is a failure for them this season.
Just something quick on the Omaha women against South Dakota State
It’s obviously going to be tough for the Omaha women playing against South Dakota State in the semi final. The Mavericks played them tough and impressed some people with their play against the Jackrabbits the first time the two teams met.
Talk about a team that exceeded expectations. Some people just started looking ahead to 2016-2017 after the Mavericks lost an exhibition game at home, but now in March they have a winning record and are playing in the conference semi final after upsetting the 3 seed in the tournament.
They never backed down against IUPUI in what was a close game almost the entire time. There was a moment when Mikaela Shaw hit a three to put the Mavericks at 57 points and ahead by 9 points, which was finally the defining moment to put the Mavericks ahead for sure, and the smile on Shaw’s face really was an accumulation of all the moments of where this team envisioned themselves to finally be after the entire transition period. With a win in the damn post season.
This team could seriously be in the top 3 in the conference next season. I ignorantly say this as I am not sure what other teams have coming in; but they only graduate one player and have a former Missouri Valley Conference Honorable Mention player to add, along with some other fine pieces. The team they are playing today, only graduates two players and returns 4 players that score in double figures…so this game this afternoon could be a trailer for what could become the conference championship next season.