1. South Dakota State
The Jackrabbits have beaten two big conference teams, so it would be difficult to put them any lower than first right now. They did play a horrendous game on Saturday against Missouri State. Mike Daum was 3-of-14 from the floor, and it was one of the worst team performances I’ve ever seen out of the Jackrabbits. At one point, I was wondering if the entire team was hungover.
2. South Dakota
The Coyotes really are a complete team. They can play big, they can play small, they can defend, they can shoot. Tyler Hagedorn has played extremely well to start the season averaging 13.5 points and 5 rebounds. He’s outplayed Nebraska transfer Nick Fuller, which should show Nebraska fans how good they are at recruiting. I’m being mean to Fuller, and I don’t like it. I’ve always liked Fuller, he’s a smart player and does have some moves. 40 minutes of Hagedorn and Fuller won’t be fun for Summit League teams. Hagedorn did have an embarrassing missed dunk against Duke, but oh well.
If I were a Coyote fan, I would just be worried how the team plays on offense when their point guard Triston Simpson goes to the bench.
3. North Dakota State
The Bison are 3-4, but their strength of schedule in RPI is ranked 42, at this point. AJ Jacobson has been playing through injuries, but sophomore Tyson Ward and freshman Cameron Hunter have stepped up to make up the ground – which is just kind of North Dakota State’s thing.
The Bison really don’t have a point guard on the team, so they have been playing with Paul Miller at the point guard spot. This could turn out really swell, or it could be a bad thing. Miller may not be as comfortable in that spot as the Bison need him to be. He is shooting 37% from the field, which is down from last season when he shot 45% from the floor.
4. Fort Wayne
The ‘Dons are beating the teams they’re supposed to beat, and keeping close against teams that are considered toss up games. They arguably have the best back court in the league as Bryson Scott is efficiently scoring 23 points per game and John Konchar is still proving that he’s the best all around player in the Summit League.
Their front court, though. I mean, they’re their. Actually, maybe that’s why John Konchar averages 10 rebounds per game.
The Pioneers schedule hasn’t been overly difficult in comparison to other Summit League teams, but they did earn an impressive win over Wyoming.
Not much has changed in the Pioneers from last season. They’ll play just a little bit smaller than last year, but not by much. Their non-conference season has mostly been a Look At What Daniel Amigo Can Do theme. Daniel Amigo has had 4 double-doubles in 8 games so far.
6. Western Illinois
Sure, the Leathernecks are 5-2, but they’ve played two non-D1 opponents, and they’ve only left the state of Illinois once so far. They did shoot 60% against former Summit League team IUPUI, so that’s kind of cool.
While this team has had a few players really step up their games, it is hard to really gauge how good (or bad) this team is at this point. The Leathernecks have a serious lack of depth with 5 players averaging more than 28 minutes per game. Billy Wright played senior Dalan Ancrum every single minute of their double overtime loss to Miami (Oh), and he even played Ancrum in every single minute of a 70-45 loss to Iowa State.
Freshman Kobe Webster is fun to watch and can handle the basketball tremendously.
There, I said something nice about the Leathernecks. I think this is the first time in 3 years.
The non-conference season for the Mavericks could be summed up with one of these: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The Mavericks have played in incredibly difficult schedule mostly on the road while trying to mold together so many new faces, as well as deal with injuries to Mitch Hahn and Renard Suggs, who has yet to play a game this season.
With no players receiving any preseason awards, Zach Jackson is putting together a case to make an All Conference team in the post season, and Lamar Wofford-Humphrey could be a candidate for Newcomer of the Year. Is there a Most Improved Player Award? I’m not sure and I’m not ambitious enough to look it up, but if there is one, KJ Robinson could be handed that award.
8. Oral Roberts
The Golden Eagles earned their first win of the season over a division one opponent on Saturday when they defeated 2-6 Arkansas-Little Rock on the road in double overtime. The Golden Eagles have faced injuries and inconsistent play from newcomers while trying to figure out their newly assembled roster.
They have started playing with a bigger lineup with a starting front line of 6’9″ Albert Owens, 6’10” Javan White, and 6’8″ Emmanuel Nzekwesi. In the win over Arkansas-Little Rock, White had 18 points and 20 rebounds.