We’re getting closer to the end of the season, and we still have no idea what the Summit League bracket will look like. Might as well just do something like this, I guess.
1. South Dakota
Somehow, the team of mostly newcomers is the best defensive team and the most efficient offensive team in the Summit League. Their roster also only has one senior on the team.
The Coyotes are also more dimensional than they appear. Unlike most the other teams in the conference, they can survive stretches without their stars on the court. Bench players are starting to come around and find their roles, and the entire team is filled with confidence at the right time of the season.
This team reminds me of old NBA and NCAA video games, actually NBA games may still have this, I wouldn’t know because I don’t play a lot of video games… but, where you can just hit a button and put in your best defensive 5, your three point shooting 5, you big lineup, your small lineup, and whatever.
I think it was generally agreed upon that the most difficult stretch of the conference season for the Coyotes was going to be their three game home stretch at Omaha, North Dakota State, and Fort Wayne and they would really prove themselves if they could get through that tough stretch. They went 2-1 on that stretch. We were taking the Coyotes seriously before, now it’s time to take them even more seriously.
2. North Dakota State
Right there with the Coyotes, just not quite as consistent as South Dakota, but still more consistent than the rest of the Summit League.
3. Fort Wayne
Top 3 team in the Summit League in offensive efficiency, bottom 3 in defense.
If the ‘Dons are in the first round against Denver or Omaha, they probably have the greatest chance to make it to the 2nd round. Getting to the Summit League championship game though, seems like a challenge…but it’s going to be a challenge for everyone.
You take the young players of an efficient system from the old Pioneers and combine it with the fast run-and-gun type of offense like Fort Wayne, and it turns out to be pretty solid.
Like South Dakota, their roster only has one senior. Denver’s lone senior has played 5 minutes this entire season.
I think I figured out the two teams that will be at the top of the 2017-2018 preseason rankings.
I have never left or turned off a UNO basketball game before the end of regulation. I came close and debated it when the Mavs played IUPUI in the Baxter Arena.
The Jaguars embarrassed the Mavericks, and IUPUI wasn’t doing anything special except for not being completely dysfunctional as they have been for a majority of the season.
The mindset of this team is questionable right now. They have confidence with the base that you need to win the conference tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament, so it’s not like it’s a big deal if they don’t win all the conference games. It’s going to be difficult to win three games in three days if your team is averaging 15 turnovers, and 12 of those turnovers are completely unforced.
It’s February and transfers Ron Patterson and Kellon Thomas seem to be finally gelling in a back court with Darell Combs
Without a doubt, the Jaguars appear to be the biggest I Wonder Which Team of Theirs Will Actually Show Up Tonight team.
7. South Dakota State
Through injuries, lack of talent, and a transfer, the Jackrabbits have a serious depth problem. A struggling Reed Tellinghuisen was finally able to break out of a slump on Saturday with 28 points on 8-of-13 threes but while playing 38 minutes against a tough South Dakota defense, Tellinghuisen became noticeably tired and couldn’t hit clutch shots.
If Tellinghuisen can be consistently good, and Ian Theisen and AJ Hess can come back healthy and ready to go, the Jackrabbits can be a tough out in Sioux Falls…but could that be asking for a lot?
8. Western Illinois
Out of all the teams that should make the Summit League tournament, you would be the absolute most shocked if it was Western Illinois who got on a hot streak and won the tournament, right? I think we all understand that it’s not impossible, but in the last 6 games the Leathernecks have not even reached 70 points in a game. They’re going to need some offense to surprise anyone in the Summit League tournament, especially North Dakota State or South Dakota.
9. Oral Roberts
The Golden Eagles are not out of it yet, but they are currently sitting in 9th and their remaining games are: @ Omaha, @ South Dakota, and versus North Dakota State.
IUPUI’s remaining schedule: @ South Dakota State, @ Denver, vs. Fort Wayne, vs. South Dakota
South Dakota State’s remaining schedule: vs. IUPUI, @ Fort Wayne, vs. Denver
Western Illinois’ remaining schedule: @ North Dakota State, vs. South Dakota, vs. Fort Wayne.
After putting that out there, I actually don’t feel great for IUPUI. Don’t feel great for anyone, actually. Not even super confident about Omaha.