Summit League predictions: Jan 17-20

January 17

Fort Wayne @ Western Illinois

I’m probably, definitely wrong.

The Mastodons are 0-2 in the Summit League on weeknights so far, which is the dumbest stat you will ever see.  However, the length of Brandon Gilbeck can really keep John Konchar off the glass, and the Leathernecks might actually have a chance to play their own pace and tempo, which is much slower than how the Mastodons like to play.

Oral Roberts @ South Dakota on ESPN3

The defense of the Coyotes should really bother the guards of Oral Roberts, who all shoot less than 40%.

January 18

Denver @ Omaha

This is a real battle for 6th place.  That’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever said.

Even though Denver has Daniel Amigo, neither team really has much of a threatening interior game.  Omaha has been playing better defense lately and taking care of the basketball on offense.

It’s also High School Night at the Baxter Arena, so clearly that is an advantage for the Mavericks.

January 20

North Dakota State @ Fort Wayne

Why am I being so mean to Fort Wayne this week?  The Bison have not won in Fort Wayne since 2013, but they have also been one of few teams that have slowed down John Konchar over his career.

The bad Mastodon defense may not be able to contain the weaving offense of the Bison to let Paul Miller take control of the game.  We often forget that Paul Miller is one of the best players in the league.  By “we” I am mainly talking about myself.

South Dakota State @ Western Illinois

I mean, it would be hilarious if the Jackrabbits’ first conference loss was to Western Illinois.

South Dakota @ Omaha

This should be one of the bigger crowds of the season for the Mavericks, as Vermillion people typically travel well to Omaha, and what else is there to do in Vermillion on a Saturday night?

I’m trying to picture the South Dakota defense up against a youthful Omaha back court of JT Gibson, KJ Robinson, and Ayo Akinwole, and it feels like Zach Jackson and Daniel Norl might have to do too much in this game.

Denver @ Oral Roberts on ESPN3

Denver is a bad defensive team, and Oral Roberts is a good defensive team.  The bigs of Oral Roberts should really be able to control the tempo of the game and not let Denver play to their advantage of running the floor.

 

 

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My trivial Summit League rankings – Jan 16

This weather has me too mad for words.

1. South Dakota State, 4-0

The Jackrabbits have the best player in the Summit and they’re undefeated in the conference.

They did have 0 bench points against Oral Roberts last week. The lack of a bench hasn’t hurt them yet.

2. South Dakota, 3-1

Without a doubt, they miss Carlton Hurst’s defense, but they were able to hold Fort Wayne to shooting 3-of-20 in Fort Wayne last week.

3. North Dakota State, 2-2

An up and down start to the conference schedule for the Bison, and they have already lost 2 in Fargo, which seems unheard of.  They’re not the only Summit League team having an up and down season, but they’re probably the best of the teams having an up and down season.

Their home loss to Denver seemed like a fluke.  The Bison were finding open shots, but just couldn’t knock them down.  Denver wasn’t doing anything spectacular.

4. Fort Wayne, 2-2

They can beat anyone in the Summit League when they’re knocking down threes, but when they’re not knocking down threes, the Mastodons are kind of bad.

5. Oral Roberts, 3-2

As somewhat expected, the young Golden Eagles couldn’t stay undefeated going into a weekend on the road against South Dakota State and North Dakota State.

The team did get Austin Ruder back from injury, and the rust was really showing, but with Ruder back on the team, the Golden Eagles have more depth and three point shooting.  If Ruder can be healthy, he could make up that three point difference in to South Dakota State.

6. Denver, 1-3

I’m still lost as to how Denver was able to pick up a win in Fargo.  The Bison just couldn’t hit wide open shots.

7. Omaha, 1-3

The Mavericks were able to finally pick up a road win in Macomb and held on for a competitive game in Fort Wayne last week.  Hopefully, the team can take advantage of a week at home against a kind of bad Pioneer team and a South Dakota team playing without Carlton Hurst.

They were able to hold John Konchar to 6 points on Saturday night, which is actually one of their bigger accomplishments this season.

8. Western Illinois, 0-3

Everything make sense again.

Summit League predictions: Jan 11-13

I don’t want to be that guy that just picks all the home teams, but I just really like all the home teams in their match ups this week.

January 11

South Dakota @ Fort Wayne

A little surprised this game is not on ESPN3, but what are you gonna do?

Carlton Hurst is going to be out with a broken hand, so who can guard Bryson Scott is a very big question mark for the Coyotes.

Omaha @ Western Illinois

So there probably won’t be a ton of defense in this game, but the Mavericks are starting to get a few things to click, finally.  The Mavericks know this is a winnable game, and if they put in the effort and energy they can overcome the Leathernecks’ home court advantage.

Denver @ North Dakota State on ESPN3

Denver is currently struggling, and they have yet to get a win in Fargo since joining the Summit League.  The Bison might not have anyone to match up with Daniel Amigo, but they can defend Denver at every other position on the floor.

Oral Roberts @ South Dakota State on ESPN3

This is actually a tough pick, and it should be since these are the only two undefeated teams in the league.  The Golden Eagles have three different looks to throw at Mike Daum with Javan White, Emmanuel Nzekwesi, and Albert Owens…also, how hard is it going to be for Reed Tellinghuisen to guard any of those guys?

I don’t like how much I am talking myself into Oral Roberts right now, but I will take the Jackrabbits at home.  They are an 11 point favorite, and I feel like Oral Roberts will end it at a closer game than that.


January 13

Denver @ South Dakota State

Daniel Amigo averaged 7.3 points and shot 24% against the Jackrabbits last season in 3 games.  So that might be bad.

Oral Roberts @ North Dakota State on ESPN3

What a tough week for Oral Roberts.  This is a game that is another mismatch for them, and in their favor.  They’re not a bad defensive team, and they can really force it down low against a smaller Bison team.  If there is any game that I have the least amount of confidence in, it is this one.

Omaha @ Fort Wayne

The Mavericks really seemed to have a weight lifted off of their shoulders when they defeated Fort Wayne in the Summit League tournament last season, but they are an entirely new team now.

Fort Wayne has been quite inconsistent, but Omaha has been bad at guarding John Konchar.  Terrible, actually.  Zach Jackson will likely be the primary defender to Konchar, but Daniel Norl actually did a decent job in his minutes defending Konchar in Omaha last season.  Konchar went 13-of-15 in Omaha last season, and I’m pretty sure both shots were missed when Norl was guarding him.

The good thing about this game is that we can finally unravel the conspiracy that Xzavier Taylor and Lamar Wofford-Humphrey are two different people.

 

My trivial Summit League rankings – Jan 9

1. South Dakota State, 2-0

The Jackrabbits have the best player in the conference, and they’re 2-0 on the road.  Depth is a slight problem as they let Omaha put a small scare into them by reducing a 29 point lead to just 13.

I legit feel bad because I thought Brandon Key was going to be a floor general to the team, and he did have some moments in the non-conference season, but he came into the game at Omaha for a minute and the Mavericks hit a couple quick shots, and he was immediately sent to the bench and not heard from again.

2. South Dakota, 2-1

A home loss to North Dakota State is probably what is keeping them from the top rating.  The Coyotes did play that game without Carlton Hurst, and it clearly showed on defense with the Bison’s Cameron Hunter going off for 35 points in Vermillion.

3. North Dakota State, 1-1

Yeah, yeah, it doesn’t seem like it would make sense to rank them below a team they just beat, but the Bison almost gave that game away in the end and was letting Matt Mooney get open shots late in the game.  The Bison also committed 17 turnovers in that game.  And again, had Carlton Hurst played that game, the Bison would likely be 0-2 right now.

4. Oral Roberts, 3-0

It may seem unfair to have the 3-0 Golden Eagles in 4th, but is it really?  They’ve played all three games at home and faced a depleted Omaha, an unproven Western Illinois, and a mismatched Fort Wayne team.  Their next three games are on the road against South Dakota State, North Dakota State, and South Dakota, so we will find out what the Golden Eagles are actually about.

I believe last year, I did say Emmanuel Nzekwesi was the future of the league.  So, I guess I’ll just sit here and toot this horn.

5. Fort Wayne, 1-1

You want to talk about another team with limited depth…in Fort Wayne’s two non-conference games only 7 players have reached double digits in minutes in each game.

Also, in those 2 games, the Mastodons only shot 22% on threes.

6. Western Illinois, 0-2

I got to admit, they have a pretty interesting Big 3 with Brandon Gilbeck, Dalan Ancrum, and Kobe Webster.  The Leathernecks also have some interesting role players around those guys.

7. Denver, 0-2

Fort Wayne is just inconsistent, Western Illinois is young, Oral Roberts has a bunch of a new faces, Omaha has injuries.  What’s Denver’s thing?

8. Omaha, 0-2

The Mavericks don’t really have a thing that they are great at right now.  They were pretty bad at getting to the foul line in the non-conference season, but they did a good job of it against South Dakota State and it helped them make the final score look more respectable.

Perhaps, they can get better at getting to the line and forcing some of the other conference teams with limited depth to foul trouble.  Maybe, Renard Suggs can get back into basketball shape and the Mavericks can have a threatening bench with Suggs, Matt Pile, and KJ Robinson/Ayo Akinwole.  Hopefully, Mitch Hahn’s shoulder can be better by March and he can actually play.

 

 

 

Summit League predictions: Jan 3-6

January 3

Western Illinois @ South Dakota

The Leathernecks already have more wins this year than they did all of last season, but they still have to prove themselves after playing an incredibly weak non-conference schedule.  They’d have to really have an outer body experience to pull off an upset against a tough Coyote defense.

South Dakota State @ North Dakota State on ESPN3

It is hard to win a weeknight road conference game, especially in Fargo, but the Bison are going to have to play at the Jackrabbits pace, which is something they won’t be comfortable when they don’t really have a post presence that can match up with Mike Daum.


January 4

Fort Wayne @ Oral Roberts

These teams are polar opposites.  Fort Wayne plays small and shoots 3, Oral Roberts is big and well, they’re just big.

And it’s great that Fort Wayne beat Indiana and all, but they only beat Olivet College by 6.  So, they’re just kind of weird, right?


January 6

North Dakota State @ South Dakota on ESPN3

It’s been great when these two teams have matched up against each other the last few seasons.  The Bison were able to win in Vermillion last season by 1, and this should be another close game.  The Coyotes can get the win, mostly because it’s a toss up and they’re playing at home.

Fort Wayne @ Denver

I think that Fort Wayne is the better team, but Denver has the altitude advantage on top of having a full week of rest in comparison to Fort Wayne who is heading to Denver after facing Oral Roberts Thursday night.

South Dakota State @ Omaha

Mike Daum could score 50.

Western Illinois @ Oral Roberts

Both teams are better than last season, but this game could be just a giant disorganized mess.  Western Illinois will continue to fight to the end, and pull off the upset in Tulsa.