1st – South Dakota, 9-3
Last month’s ranking: 1st
Even with a knee injury to senior guard Triston Simpson, the Coyotes are the still the deepest team in the Summit League, even though they don’t really have a signature win.
Forwards Tyler Hagedorn and Stanley Umude combine for the best front court in the League, averaging 34.8 points and 14.2 rebounds together.
2nd – North Dakota State, 7-4
Last month’s ranking: 3rd
This ranking, while trivial, may actually just be based on respect to North Dakota State.
I don’t really like to compare team stats in the non-conference season because everyone plays different levels of competitions, and there are a ton of outliers. North Dakota State, however, has a weird make up.
The Bison are currently 8th in the conference in points and field goal percentage, 7th in 3 point field goal percentage, last in blocks per game, 8th in forced turnovers, 6th in defensive field goal percentage. They also have the worst RPI strength of schedule in the Summit.
The Bison are the reason people use the expression “they just find ways to win.” That’s basically why they are 2nd. And because I’ve ranked them low in the past, and then they do crazy things like win the conference.
3rd – Omaha, 6-7
Last month’s ranking: 4th
Last I checked, the Mavericks are still the only Summit League team with a win over a power conference school.
With just an 8 man rotation, the overall depth of this team could turn into a potential issue. Finishing in the top 2 in the standings will be most important for the Mavericks, as their depth may not be able to survive 3 games in 3 days in the Summit League tournament.
It cannot be stated enough how important Matt Pile is to this team. His 19 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks against University of Texas – Too Many Words In a Name has to be one of the Baxter Arena performances by a Maverick. Three of his assists came from him being double or triple teamed and he just looked at the weak side and saw a cutting Zach Thornhill or Marlon Ruffin to the basket for the easy lay up. That’s not something he could do the last few years.
Watching Matt Pile on a basketball court is like watching a group of puppy shih tzus playing with a ball, and someone throws a 3 year old English bull dog into the mix and he just bulldozes his way to the ball and take it away from all the shih tzus and doing whatever the hell he wants for the rest of the day.
4th – South Dakota State, 7-6
Last month’s ranking: 5th
The Coyotes have had the luxury of not running into any big injury issues while trying to figure out their new roster. I also wanted to say “while trying to figure out that new team smell” but I thought that would be weird.
The Jackrabbits have beaten the teams they were supposed to beat, and lost to the teams to the teams they were supposed to lose to. Except for Nebraska, they should have beat Nebraska.
5th – Oral Roberts, 5-5
Last month’s ranking: 2nd
Oral Roberts is just weird and I don’t even feel like discussing them.
Emmanuel Nzekwesi has missed half of the season with an injury.
They’ve kind of played a tough schedule with Creighton, Iowa, Oklahoma State, Wichita State, and Tulsa but they’ve also played 4 non-division one opponents.
The guards seem selfish and look like they’re intentionally trying to miss jump shots.
Maybe when they get to the conference season and play a more consistent schedule things will turn around for them.
6th – Purdue Fort Wayne, 7-7
Last month’s ranking: 7th
If you watch the Mastodons play basketball, you’ll constantly find yourself asking what’s wrong. Eventually, you’ll realize their problem is that John Konchar graduated and is now playing professional basketball.
Every offensive possession is played as if there is no plan. That may be because Jon Coffman has elected to not play a true point guard in the starting lineup.
7th – North Dakota, 4-7
Last month’s ranking: 6th
The Fighting Upset Mascots wont play a home game this season against a division one opponent until January 5th when they play Fort Wayne, so it’s understandable they’ve had a frustrating non-conference.
I thought they turned a corner when they picked up wins against Florida Gulf Coast, Georgia Southern, and a 2 point loss against Campbell in a 3 day tournament. They lost two games since and are now on a 3 game losing streak.
Freshman De’Sean Allen-Eikens has been a nice surprise for North Dakota, averaging 13.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and he’s already had 2 double-doubles on the season.
8th – Denver, 4-8
Last month’s ranking: 8th
The Pioneers have 2 more wins than most people thought they would at this point in the season, so that’s good.
I don’t really have much to talk about with the Pioneers other than something I want to vent about…
At the Summit League media day, Rodney Billups took a moment to mention junior college transfer Tristan Green could be a big time player for them. After that, every person making a preseason prediction mentioned how Green could be a difference maker for the team.
Green averaged 2.5 points at a junior college last year, and people just took Billups’ word for it and thought he’d be some kind of stud. He’s currently averaging 1.6 points in 14 minutes per game. I didn’t understand any hype given to Green, and I think Billups tried to jedi mind trick people. That or Billups is in over his head as a head coach.
9th – Western Illinois, 2-6
Last month’s ranking: 9th
While 2-6, it might be worth mentioning that Western Illinois has been in all of their losses, with the exception of their loss to Indiana.
All of their losses have been in single digits and they only lost to Evansville by 4, who beat Kentucky.
The Leathernecks also shoot 85% from the free throw line.