So did you think the North Dakota State Bison men’s basketball team overachieved or underachieved in 2015-2016? They finished 5th in the Summit League (after being picked 2nd by most people), but they had a fair amount of injuries (maybe even most in the Summit), and they were able to make it to the Summit League championship again.
The Bison are only graduating Kory Brown (10.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.5 apg) and Chris Kading (3.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg), so they will be returning 4 starters to their lineup. On top of that they will be returning their top bench player, Dexter Werner, so on paper so far it sounds as if they can be at least good enough to return to the top half of the Summit League.
With three shooting guards committed, the Bison have one scholarship still open; and they are not a basketball program that really seeks out a lot of transfers from bigger schools or junior colleges. After losing Lawrence Alexander, the team really prided themselves on replacing his 19 points per game with the guys they already had on their team. Next Guy Up: I believe was their slogan. Paul Miller boosted himself from 6.7 points per game his freshman season to 15.3 points per game into his second season. Brown increased his scoring by 2 points, AJ Jacobson by 1 point, and the team did add sophomore Malik Clements (okay, I lied he came from a junior college) who averaged 6.3 points per game…so they were able to make up the scoring lost by Alexander.
The team can replace the 13.6 points per game that they are losing easier than they can make up the 19 points per game they lost from the year before. It’s not really about just replacing x amount of points…you cannot just replace Val Kilmer (an average Batman) with George Clooney (terrible Batman) and expect to make a good movie. Not that Batman Forever wasgreat, but it wasn’t Kilmer’s fault. Point is, I think, Brown and Kading did more than just score points. They brought smart play when they needed it. Losing smart players who bring defense and make big shots right when you need them can be a big loss for a team. But…next guy up, I suppose. When the Bison were at Omaha without Paul Miller, and AJ Jacobson was in foul trouble; Chris Kading and Kory Brown took the moment to just do more than scoring.
Chris Kading’s defense was really bothering Tre’Shawn Thurman for a stretch in that game. Kading ended that game with 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks; but also every shot he made were instrumental to mounting a comeback for the Bison. In the second half of the game, Jacobson was brought back in, as was Jake White for Omaha, and Jacobson couldn’t guard White or Thurman. He couldn’t defend anyone driving to the basket, which is what helped Omaha from letting the Bison get the comeback win. For a Bison fan, it was probably as sad as I was watching Batman & Robin.
It sounds as if the Bison are going to attempt to replace Kading’s production with their redshirt freshman Deng Geu. Geu (it’s pronounced GOO) is 6’8″ with a lot of hop. He said that the Bison wanted to add an outside shot to his game, so they are hoping to making him a shot blocking-jump shooting center who can get 2nd chance opportunities on the offensive end, so they want him to be Kading. That’s what is odd, or special, or whatever, about Dave Richman, is that he is going to try and do the exact same thing offensively every single game. Just run this stupid weave offense with the exact same pieces of the puzzle game after game. Okay, it’s a successful plan obviously, but I would think it would get figured out after a few runs through the Summit League.
I thought the Bison were the anomaly of the Summit League this year. Lots of injuries in the off season and regular season. They are a pretty undersized basketball team, and also pretty slow for an undersized basketball team. Malik Clements was listed at 6’3″ and 210 pounds, but he looked more like an unhealthy 230 pounds. Players left the team at semester. Carlin Dupree leaves the team in January over a dispute in playing time, and then comes back a month later just suddenly accepting that Khy Kabellis is better for the team as a starter. They had just a completely unwatchable game against IUPUI in the first round of the Summit League tournament, the way they played, anyone else in the Summit could have beaten them that day. Paul Miller, the team’s leading scorer, was suspended for breaking team rules and could not play in their 2nd round game of the Summit League tournament. Carlin Dupree, the same guy who was pissy about playing time two months ago, got the start to replace Miller against IPFW and scored 22 and 6 rebounds and hits timely shot after timely shot to lead the Bison over the top team in the Summit. Dupree really bothered Max Landis in that game as well, if Paul Miller would have played more minutes in that game over Dupree, the ‘Dons may have actually won that game. They then lost by 8 to South Dakota State, who maybe should not have been in the championship game the way they played against Denver and Oral Roberts, but damn it the Jackrabbits did it and played a really good game against Maryland in the NCAA tournament. After this, the Bison didn’t get a trip the CIT, and I assume turned down a trip to the Vegas Mistaketeen.
All of this is why the Bison will probably be picked in the top 3 in the preseason rankings for the Summit. These weird series of events, and the fact that they will be led next season by Dexter Werner and AJ Jacobson, who are the two most consistent players in the Summit League…though like stated, everything that the Bison do is based on doing the same thing over and over. I’m sure if you played Texas Hold em with Dave Richman, he would be the guy that only bets to get in a hand if he has a pocket pair.
What a weird week. IUPUI and Omaha both lost to Denver, and most likely feel out of the race to hold first place in the Summit League.
1. South Dakota State
Last week: 1st
The Jackrabbits are really rolling right now with Jake Bittle back in the lineup, now winning 5 games in a row. The Jacks do have the next 3 of 4 on the road, with their home game against their instate rival South Dakota. Their crunch time lineup of Mike Daum-Reed Tellinghuisen-Jake Bittle-Deondre Parks-George Marshall could really go up against anyone in the country.
I have a serious question. The Jacks are going to lose three double digit scorers, who should all at least make the Summit League 2nd team, and they will more than likely not be favored to win the conference next season…so should Scott Nagy finally move onto a job elsewhere if the opportunity rises?
Last week: 2nd
Hey my theory of Max Landis’ legs getting tired as the season goes on looked to be true against North Dakota State on Saturday. Landis came back down to earth going 2-of-10 from the floor. Actually, the ‘Dons shot 28% from the field and only had 46 points against North Dakota State. Without Mo Evans, and not really a bunch of depth off the bench, could the ‘Dons even legitimately play 3 straight games in Sioux Falls in the Summit League tournament?
3. North Dakota State
Last week: 5th
The Bison are only a half game behind Omaha and IUPUI in the standings. They have won the last 3 of their 4, and the one loss was on the road to IUPUI from a last second shot to Jordan Pickett. With Carlin Dupree back, the Bison could really get going now, but they do have 4 of their last 6 games on the road.
Last week: 3rd
Last week was rough. Western Illinois wanted that win in Macomb more than Omaha. I mean, they had lost the last 11, so of course the Leathernecks badly needed a win. The loss to Denver was like taking a bunch of No Xplode and then trying to watch a Jason Bourne film, but having your girlfriend constantly trying to switch the channel over to Pretty Little Liars all while she is arguing with you over who’s turn it is to do the laundry. Then you’re forced to go shopping with her, and not getting to watch Jason Bourne watch Clive Owen die. Wait, why were you taking No Xplode, you didn’t even work out, bro?
Omaha not having Randy Reed really hurt the Mavericks against Denver, and it even looked like Tim Smallwood was playing with a little bit of pain. The fans around really wanted to blame the referees for that loss. I actually probably would have blamed Omaha’s 3 missed dunks, a number of missed layups, lack of boxing out, and a few bonehead turnovers (although only having a total of 9 was good). Is it possible that Omaha was looking ahead to the next week against South Dakota State and North Dakota State?
Western Illinois really tried to push the ball inside against the Mavericks, and the Pioneers did the same thing without Jake White on the court. Clearly the Pioneers had a plan for a stretch of the game where the idea was to get the ball inside to Christian Mackey and let him do post moves for baskets…which is what IPFW did in overtime against Omaha with Brent Calhoun. This is the first time I put in a: Hey, the Mavericks should have put in Zach Pirog. His length could have really bothered Mackey, who is 6’6″.
Is JT Gibson still on the team? It didn’t look like he was on the road with the team in Western Illinois, and he wasn’t on the bench for the Denver game. I know he’s injured, but he should still be on the bench, right?
Last week: 4th
Their losses to Denver and South Dakota State showed that while the Jags are a sound defensive team, but they can struggle in just deciding who is going to take a shot. It’s not a method like Denver’s offense either, where they are trying to find the best shot. It’s just that finding an open look for them is as difficult as trying to get your girlfriend to pick a restaurant…after shopping…after you were forced to watch Pretty Little Liars…all while you’re pumped on No Xplode.
Last week: 6th
Before the start of the season, head coach Joe Scott admitted that it would be difficult for his young team to figure out the offense, but he had a group of mature freshman that once they figured it out, they could make a run and win some games. His team just beat the two scrappiest teams in the League: Omaha and IUPUI. Still, is this the one team that the 1 to 3 seeds would most likely rather see in Sioux Falls? This team has 3 of their last 5 on the road. If this team has Joe Rosga, CJ Bobbitt, and Thomas Neff for the next four years, they could be a really scary team to face over time.
7. South Dakota
Last week: 7th
Like Omaha, the Coyotes have North Dakota State and South Dakota State this week. Typically a weekly schedule that never fares well for teams, but the Coyotes looked good at home against Oral Roberts.
8. Oral Roberts
Last week: 8th
Wasn’t this team looking like rated 3rd in the preseason poll? They have no identity, players seem to not have any roles, and Sutton constantly looks as frustrated as your dad when he’s on the phone with Cox Cable trying to figure out why the internet doesn’t work. The Golden Eagles really look like the team in the Summit that has actually gotten worse as the season has gone on, and this team loses Obi Emegano after this year.
9. Western Illinois
Last week: 9th
Other than their loss on the road to IPFW and the home loss to North Dakota State, the Leathernecks have really been in every conference game this season. That should actually say a lot about how hard it is to play in the Summit this season. The Leathernecks could even still make the league tournament, yet they have three straight road games coming up.
I was 7-1 last week, and now I am 21-8 overall if you keeping track. You are not keeping track. I feel like I miss the most on IPFW. Oh yeah, you’re not keeping track.
I may be completely off this week. I just learned that Elizabeth Banks is going to play Rita Repulsa in the new Power Rangers epic. It’s not that I am in shock over Banks playing a villain, I am just in shock that Hollywood thinks they can make money on a Power Rangers reboot. Hopefully there is a really dark tone to the movie and gets taken seriously. I am just kidding, it will be awful. Hopefully there will be some realism in this round of the Rangers. Like, how does Angel Grove go from being completely destroyed by a Megazord versus 500 Foot Alien battle, and there is still 8th period Algebra in the same day? And this happened a few times a week. Oh, and no one can replace Amy Jo Johnson as the Pink Ranger…no one. Someone could easily replace her role in “Susie Q.”
Oh yeah, basketball…
So with the rest of the regular season, the Summit League tournament, and possible post season births; it is completely possible that the Summit League would have 4 teams finish with 20 or more wins. South Dakota State and IPFW each need 2 wins, Omaha needs 5 wins, and North Dakota State needs 6 wins. I don’t think the Summit has ever had 4 teams with 20 or more wins.
Omaha (7-2) @ Western Illinois (0-9) on ESPN3
The game in Omaha was a little scary for most of the 2nd half for the Mavericks. JC Fuller started off hot in the game, but then cooled down in the 2nd half. Fuller did have some interest from Omaha out of junior college, but not sure if there was an offer given by the Omaha staff. This could be why he was taunting the Omaha bench after every made shot in the first half…why couldn’t the official that gave Tre’Shawn Thurman a technical foul for taunting IPFW have been doing the game?
Omaha is a better road team…and a home team…and an overall team than Western Illinois, but can the Leathernecks really go 0-16? Daily Rpi has them going 1-15 in the Summit League with a win in their final game over South Dakota. My hope is that Western Illinois does not come out with a Hey, We Almost Had This Last Time So This Can Be Our First Win mentality; and I hope Omaha comes out with a We CANNOT Lose This Damn Game mentality. Omaha has yet to win in Macomb since transitioning to division one, so if they can win in Macomb it would be the 4th Summit League location they finally pick up a win at this season. There is a little fight left in the Leathernecks, so the game could be closer than what you might think as a Mavs fan. ESPN, as of the morning, had Omaha favored by 4 points.
Garret Covington was single handedly trying to pick up a win for his team last week at IUPUI. He scored 8 straight points in a matter of 1 minute to keep the game close in the first half, and the Jaguars really did not have much of an answer for him second half. Omaha was able to hold Covington to 4-of-13 shooting at the Baxter Arena, Tate Stensgaard became a problem for Omaha who was 13-of-15 from the floor.
Oral Roberts (3-6) @ North Dakota State (4-4) on ESPN3
Oral Roberts beat North Dakota State in Tulsa by one point, but now the Golden Eagles have lost three games in a row. North Dakota State almost won the game in the end…which when I think about it, it’s kind of ridiculous to say someone “almost won a game in the end” in a 1 point game…
North Dakota State is rebuilding a home game winning streak, and Oral Roberts is currently on a downhill trend. The Golden Eagles average more turnovers in conference games than any other team, and every North Dakota State player appears to play better at home.
IPFW (7-2) @ South Dakota (2-7)
If Max Landis is feeling good, he could get 30 points in this game. IPFW won the last time these two teams met in Fort Wayne…Mo Evans who is no longer playing this season, had 20 points and 9 assists in that game.
Craig Smith stated after the Coyotes’ loss to Denver that the team really isn’t listening to him right now, and not playing well together at all. That’s exactly what you want going into a game with one of the best teams in the conference.
South Dakota is the worst rebounding team in the Summit, well other than Denver, and IPFW is the best rebounding team in the league.
IUPUI (7-2) @ Denver (3-6)
At first, I was all about Denver in this game with their home court advantage. Denver probably will probably still not get away from their Princeton offense, and IUPUI plays the passing lanes and steals the ball away probably 90% as well as Omaha. Jaguars beat Denver by 15 in Indiana and they can probably still win this game by at least 10.
Denver (3-6) @ Omaha (7-2)
Omaha has a somewhat easy week with Denver and Western Illinois. This better not be a trap. Next week the Mavs have South Dakota State and North Dakota State in Omaha, both of those games should get over 3,000 in attendance. When was the last time Omaha basketball had two games in the same week with over 3,000 in attendance. The game against North Dakota State is the same day Omaha hockey plays Western Michigan. Double header!
Oral Roberts (3-6) @ South Dakota (2-7)
This is actually a really difficult one. South Dakota beat Oral Roberts in Tulsa, but Oral Roberts was playing without Obi Emegano. South Dakota does not appear to really have an answer for a healthy Emegano, but no one seems to actually have an answer for Emegano, it’s the rest of the team that needs to step up. Oral Roberts does have the needed three point shooting to defeat South Dakota.
IPFW (7-2) @ North Dakota State (4-4)
This could be a really fun, entertaining game. IPFW won by 5 in Fort Wayne a couple weeks ago, a game that John Konchar had 19 rebounds. The Bison can give Max Landis a few different looks, especially if they actually play Carlin Dupree again, just like Omaha did in the second half and he struggled against Landis. By struggled, I mean he actually missed two shots in a row at some point. This has to be the game that Landis’ minutes start catching up with him…right?
IUPUI (7-2) @ South Dakota State (7-2) on ESPN3
I’m just trying to put together the amount of revenge the Jackrabbits are going to come out with after losing to the Jaguars a few weeks ago, without Jake Bittle in the lineup.
I went 4-3 last week…technically 5-2…I did say South Dakota State would win on the status of Jake Bittle playing…he did not play…neither did Mo Evans for IPFW…I would have picked South Dakota State had I known Mo Evans was not going to play…hell we’ll call it like I did originally…I lost that game…now you can proceed onto breaking my thumbs.
Western Illinois @ South Dakota
Western Illinois has not won a conference road game since January 2014 when they beat IUPUI. IUPUI was 6-26 overall that season. Does Western Illinois really look like they have a squad that can end this conference road losing streak in Vermillon? Actually, maybe…they lost on the road to Omaha by 2 and to South Dakota State by 4. Simple math would tell you that Western Illinois will lose this game by 6 or 8, but math is hard…
Maybe this is a battle for the 8th seed in the Summit League tournament? Western Illinois was in a Battle For 8th game last week and was down 18 at half time to Denver in Macomb. But hey, Western Illinois is 1-0 when they don’t have any votes in the Mid Major Top 25 poll.
North Dakota State @ IPFW
Something that slipped by everyone is that junior point guard Carlin Dupree left the Bison last week after a dispute in playing time. Dupree was averaging 4 minutes less per game in his junior season than he was last year in his sophomore season and was moved to come off the bench recently. David Richman said that Dupree was totally fine with this, but clearly Dupree pulled a fast one on Richman. The Bison are 2-0 without Dupree with wins over both South Dakota schools. He was a quality defender, but was not known for his shooting ability, shooting less than 40% from the field over the last year and a half and around 20% on threes. The Bison will now be counting on true freshman Khy Kabellis to run the team. Losing Dupree really cuts down on NDSU’s depth and Kabellis will have to play over 30 minutes per game due to this. Kabellis has shot 28% from the field in games out of the great state of North Dakota…it’s fine, I forgot my lunch and just wanted to lose my appetite by saying “great state of North Dakota.”
South Dakota State @ Oral Roberts on ESPN3
Weird stat: The only games that Oral Roberts has ever lost at home with Obi Emegano in the line up were to both South Dakota schools.
Other than Obi Emegano, the Golden Eagles appear to be outmatched at every single position. Emegano is going to need a monster performance for Oral Roberts to have a shot at beating the Jackrabbits…but maybe we see a case where Jake Bittle finally gets back into the line up and he has a bad flow getting back into things and it leads to a number of other problems. We’ll see.
The Jackrabbits are 0-2 on the road so far in the Summit League, and Scott Nagy has called out his team for not having any toughness on the road. They know they are going to a tough place to play, and they have something to prove to themselves in this game.
Omaha @ Denver
A contrast in styles: Omaha wants to run the ball and take quick shots and Denver wants to move as slow as the DMV to work for the absolute best shot possible. Which I am convinced that the DMV is doing the same thing: just sitting back there googling the best ways possible to ruin your day. Omaha was 0-5 since transitioning to division one playing in the Mountain Time Zone against a D-1 team…this season they are 2-2 (or 3-2 if you count Phoenix in the Mountain Time zone), so the Mavs may not have the issues of adapting to the altitude as they have already played in it a few times this season.
Denver may have a problem making as many passes as they are used to against an Omaha team that loves to play the passing lanes, and Tra-Deon Hollins having jedi mind tricks to get teams to pass in his general direction for him to take the ball.
Two road teams pick up wins on a Thursday? I think last year, the road team only won about 33% of the conference games played Monday to Thursday. I could be making that up, but I know it was not a great percentage and North Dakota State, South Dakota State, and Oral Roberts had most of the weeknight road wins.
North Dakota State @ Western Illinoison ESPN3
Okay. Alright. Um. What? All common sense says to take North Dakota State in this game. They have been one of the two best teams in the Summit for the past 3 seasons and Western Illinois has been one of the two worst teams in the Summit the last 3 seasons. Don’t look at any stats or anything here, just look at the narrative. I feel that last sentence made me sound like your Tea Party uncle that keeps telling you to read between the lines when analyzing the Obama administration.
North Dakota State plays on the road this week against IPFW and Western Illinois, currently the best team and the worst team in the Summit. North Dakota State versus IPFW is going to be a greatly contested game, and the Bison may not have enough pieces on their roster to play a competitive fast paced IPFW team on the road AND a Western Illinois team in Macomb. North Dakota State also only beat Western Illinois by 2 last year in Macomb.
I’m sure that North Dakota State will win by 35 now that I have thrown this out there.
South Dakota State @ South Dakota on ESPN3
Normally I would like to take the home team in a instate rivalry like this, but I think I would just be saying that to trick Creighton into scheduling UNO. South Dakota is a tough team to figure out. They lose at home, they play tough on the road, and they are a group of people that decided to at least temporarily reside in Vermillion, South Dakota. Every time I say a game is a great match up for Tre Burnette, he ends up having a bad game. He will have to go against either 6’9″ Ian Theisen, 6’9″ Mike Daum, or 6’6″ Reed Tellinghuisen (who has been struggling lately). Perhaps if Burnette is not doing well the Coyotes can go with their 2 big true freshman against Daum and Theisen… who have gone missing in league play.
Did you know that South Dakota picks up the most fouls in the Summit League? So they are going to send the Jackrabbits to the line, who shoot 72% on free throws. South Dakota is also 2nd to last in the Summit in rebounds, in front of Denver, but Denver is an outlier in all statistical categories; so it’s just best to not count Denver most of the time. Consider Denver to be the middle child of the league.
IUPUI @ IPFW
The Acronym Bowl! The road team won each game in this series last season. I should like IUPUI’s chances with no other game this week, and IPFW has North Dakota State at home on Thursday. After watching Max Landis hit every possible shot with a hand in his face in Omaha, IUPUI’s scrappy defense does not appear to become a factor in this game. Seriously, my basketball passport profile ranked Landis’ performance against UNO on Saturday as the best college basketball performance that I have witnessed in person. Konchar’s performance that game ranked number 2, and Hollins’ ranked number 3… it’s also not like I’ve only ever gone to 3 college basketball games in my life. Okay, I admit, Landis and Konchar have rattled my brain. Brent Calhoun scoring 6 points in overtime with left handed hook shots over a surprised Jake White has also been making my stomach hurt. Calhoun hadn’t had a game of scoring in double figures all season and he already has 3 double digit scoring performances in Summit League play. How did Jon Coffman trick us like this? He’s using cheat codes or a game genie, I swear.
Omaha @ Oral Roberts on ESPN3
At first, I thought Oral Roberts is too good at home. Then I remember hearing Tra-Deon Hollins say that one of his favorite things to do is to go on the road and give the home team a scare and take away a game, and Omaha’s performances on the road should support this. Oral Roberts also averages more turnovers than any other team in conference play so far…which is great because Omaha forces more turnovers than any other team.
These two teams also get to the line more than any other team in the league. This could be a problem for Omaha as Oral Roberts appears to be a (slightly) deeper team in terms of having more capable dudes to go if fouls become an issue. Also Jalen Bradley’s cross over to his left into a baseline mid-range jumper should give you a mini stroke.
I won’t be able to watch this game live, unless the random bar I saddle up at has a way to stream ESPN3. Sunday is my birthday, and my wife forces me to celebrate my birthday…so I’m going to have to watch the replay on my actual birthday. By the way, UNO beat Denver last season on my birthday.
This is the toughest stretch of Omaha’s conference schedule of @ Denver, @ Oral Roberts, @ South Dakota State. They need to win at least one of these games…or all of them…that sounds better.
Why not do some “power rankings” for the Summit League? It’s a top 10 conference right now, and it probably still will not get enough respect from the tournament committee to get two teams into the big dance. If you’re really impressed by Joe Lunardi’s fake bracket in July, then you might actually love something like this…but please, don’t even talk to me. Power rankings are kind of like a movie that has a pretty good story going up until the end and you find out it was all really just a dream and you realize the story sucked all along and Blake Lively has a really short range even if she was great in “The Town”…but here we go.
1. South Dakota State
A 9 point win and a 4 point win over who many think to be the two worst teams in the Summit was not the best way to start off conference play for numero uno, but they still came out 2-0.
The Jackrabbits look different without Jake Bittle. He may not be their flashiest player, but he is by far their smartest player that runs their offense and makes a low amount of decisions. His injury was only listed as 2-3 weeks, but they may not be favored in a road game against IUPUI without Bittle.
The big question mark for the Jacks was: who were they going to play at the center position? Redshirt frosh, and Nebraska native, Mike Daum has been the answer for SDSU and has been averaging 12 points and 5 rebounds per game in 17 minutes a contest. Sophomore Ian Theisen has been putting up nearly 7 points and 4 rebounds per game, and both players can knock down threes.
2. North Dakota State
The Bison put up a 10-4 record in non-conference play even while battling with injuries to two of their top players: Chris Kading and Kory Brown.
NDSU recently moved Carlin Dupree to the bench and he scored 16 in 28 minutes.
Head Coach David Richman acknowledges that they are a young team, but they still have a target on their backs and everyone in the conference is going to give them their best. Don’t worry about Globo Gym, they’ll be fine.
Curious who was going to make up the scoring for the loss of Lawrence Alexander? Did you think it would be sophomore Paul Miller? Miller is scoring 16.6 points per game and he is making 2.7 threes per game at 43%.
Clearly it looks like I have issues putting them here, but you shouldn’t be surprised. The Mavericks have won 4 games in a row and that is the longest streak they have had over division one teams.
In the year of the foul, they get to the line more than anyone else in the Summit League. The Mavericks have shot 52 more free throws than South Dakota State, who has the second most free throw attempts on the season. If you’re not a deep team, especially at the wing, you could really run into foul trouble on the Mavs. They are also second in free throw percentage in the Summit League behind Denver.
Tra-Deon Hollins is still leading the country in steals. Back courts have had issues getting the by Hollins and Devin Patterson.
They are 12-4, but I challenge you to find a meaningful win. Oral Roberts is their best win.
Head Coach Jon Coffman wanted to play more small ball this season and shoot more threes to match the rest of the Summit League, and they currently have the second highest three point shooting percentage in the league behind Western Illinois. They are even second in scoring behind Omaha.
Mo Evans could be the most difficult player in the Summit League to defend, after Obi Emegano, Evans is tied for second in the conference in scoring (17.3) and he is third in assists (5.1).
The Dons were really excited about redshirt freshman John Konchar, who Coffman said would have been worth 5 wins last season. Konchar is averaging 11.2 points and a league leading 7.7 rebounds per game. He’s also 5th in field goal percentage in the Summit League. He has been playing mostly the 4 position, so he will soon have to go up against AJ Jacobson, Tre’Shawn Thurman, and Tre Burnette.
Max Landis has made more threes than any other player in the League with 3.3 threes per game.
5. South Dakota
The Coyotes lost at home to IUPUI, but then beat Oral Roberts on the road. They had similar situations like this last year. Losing at home to Omaha, beating Omaha on the road. Losing to Oral Roberts at home, beating Oral Roberts on the road. Losing to Denver at home, beating Denver on the road. They are a hard team to predict for. This season they have beat Minnesota, lost to CSU Bakersfield, seriously, a hard team to figure out.
Last year, their defense forced teams to take the more threes than any other team in the Summit League and they have done the same thing so far this season. So teams have to be able to knock down threes against the Coyotes. **Looks at UNO’s three point field goal percentage…hits head on table**
6. Oral Roberts
Oral Roberts had a very difficult non-conference schedule, but they now have lost 6 games in a row…5 of those 6 games were on the road.
The Golden Eagles have the best player in the league with Obi Emegano, but after that they are an incredibly young and inexperienced team. They are going to have a few “Seriously!” losses.
ORU lost to South Dakota at home without Obi Emegano, who was out with concussion symptoms.
Another team with an incredibly difficult non-conference schedule, the Jaguars are currently 5-12, but they did manage to beat South Dakota on the road. They are a gritty team and head the Coyotes to 2 of 15 on threes in that game.
The Jaguars are playing with a large portion of their team as newcomers, so they could have some “Seriously” wins.
8. Western Illinois
They gave up a 16 point lead to Omaha and only lost by 4 to (a Jake Bittle-less) South Dakota State.
The Leathernecks are a deep team in the sense that they have a ton of players on the roster, but there is a significant talent drop off after their top 4 players. They were an injury filled team last season, and there have been a few little injuries so far this season…but they have had the same starting lineup in every game.
They are an inconsistent team, in the sense that everyone on their team is incredibly inconsistent.
The Leathernecks do have the best three point field goal percentage in the league, but they played an incredibly weak non-conference schedule. Yes, yes, we all know they beat Wisconsin…cool.
Starting the conference season against North Dakota State and South Dakota State was not fun for them…and now they have Oral Roberts coming to Denver. Denver has been a good home team the last 3 seasons, but can Oral Roberts really drop 7 in a row? Yes, it is possible.
The Pioneers also played a weak non-conference schedule facing no power conference teams, but they may have done this to get their basically new roster some much needed experience.
Seriously, Blake Lively was only really given 15 minutes of actual screen time in the “The Town.”
I did not go to last night’s game. It is not that I did not want to go, but it seemed impossible for me to convince another human being to go to this game with me, especially with the Chiefs-Broncos going on at the same time. I thought of finding the one person I have a connection with that knows the least about college basketball, but also fills out a bracket each year just because their work forces them to; and I would just convince them that they beat that St. Mary’s team that is always in the bracket and winning a game or two. I ended up not doing that. I watched the game from home.
Gary Sharpe accidentally referred to Zach Jackson as Zachson…this is going to have to become a thing.
Hollins gets in every passing lane. He might get 10 steals this game.
Can hear Sharpe and Grant Nieland talking over the audio of the commercial. They’re thinking Omaha will win by 40 or 60. I love this perk from Mav access.
Tim Smallwood is showing some great hustle so far. Hope he keeps it up.
Jake White picks up his second foul, and Hansen is keeping him on the court; because why not?
The Mavs seem to be giving up some good looks on the perimeter to St. Mary’s, this could get scary when the Mavs are playing the likes of South Dakota State.
Did Tim Smallwood drink some Brawndo?
Devin Newsome had this running floater in the lane, that he missed, but I sat here in amazement at what was happening. I hope he’ll use this aggressiveness in the future.
Hey some skinny blonde lady in a bikini just followed me on twitter. I should give her my social security number.
I love the unintentional college football analysis between Sharpe and Nieland during the half time. Sharpe called Alabama “sick.” I’m not hip enough to use “sick” as a good thing yet. You’re using something negative to describe something in a positive form. I would never say “Alabama is so George Clooney as Batman.”
I’m bummed and happy at the same time about the redshirt to Marcus Tyus. I am scared about this team’s three point shooting. I think it is a legitimate concern. I commented earlier how one injury could hurt any team in the standings from 2nd to 9th…so this could really hurt the Mavericks. I do know that this will be a big help to Tyus’ career and his overall health.
The mouse on my new computer is so annoying. Thank God it has a touch screen.
Daniel Meyer has a number of post moves. It seems like he’s got part A, part B, but just cannot finish on part C of each post move, yet. Can we just throw the ball to him for last 5 minutes of the game to let him work on that?
Sharpe keeps referring to players as a “southpaw” and I have no idea what it means. I am just sitting here smiling and nodding.
I think Sharpe just hit on Bonnie Ryan during the kiss cam…
Kyler Erickson with an amazing steal of an inbound pass. Players work harder when he’s on the court. When my Millard South friends ask me how he is doing, I tell them he is the high energy guard off the bench. He makes everyone else on the court work harder. That’s an important character to have on a team.
Number changes sometimes confuse me. Every time I get a glimpse of Tim Smallwood in his new number, I am just like: what the hell is Rostampour doing?
My wife is in the other room and is taking a break from the research she does on all of her grants, and she is watching Gossip Girl and laughing. I’m just so damn mad right now. By the way, do you realize how much research goes into a grant?
We just gave up 3 offensive rebounds on one play. Need to work on boxing out on defense. Newsome is the Maverick that finally came up with the rebound.
Meyer with a great baseline spin move to get a basket.
Meyer with a three point attempt. I feel like Hansen might ground him for that one. I feel like it’s going to be like Major League when Wesley Snipes makes an unnecessary flashy catch and manager has the best line in the entire trilogy to top off the scene. Actually I am not sure if Major League counts as a trilogy. Major League 2 is a significant drop off, and you would have a hard time picking between Major League 3 and George Clooney as Batman for something to sit around and waste 2 hours with. Plus, ML3 has Scott Bakula, and it is impossible to watch Scott Bakula in a sports movie and not lose concentration wondering when the hell Paul Blake made the transition from a college quarterback in his 30s to transitioning to AAA baseball manager. I would have gone into a coma if Sinbad was cast in ML3.
People are leaving a minute early, so they can beat the traffic from the 100 people at the game.
Mavs went 8-16 on the cursed basket. I really think that Remy Davenport and Ellie Brecht broke the curse.
I wonder if an outsider is going to look at the stats of this game and say something along the lines of: Tre’Shawn Thurman only had 3 points, he’s having a sophomore slump.
Derrin Hansen said he needed to get these three freshmen games, so it was great to get them a game where they could figure game situations out. All three scored in double figures.
This team is deeper than last season. I know it wasn’t a top opponent, but you want your players to be efficient in games like this, and everyone off the bench played incredibly efficient. The Mavericks were missing a high energy bench guy last season. Now they have: JT Gibson, Randy Reed, Kyler Erickson, and possibly Tim Smallwood and Devin Newsome as high energy guys off the bench.
Some random things around The Summit League
I thought Wisconsin was incredibly overrated at 17, but losing to Western Illinois…after leading at halftime? It is incredible to see Western Illinois get this win though. They were picked 8th or 9th by most in The Summit League. I thought they would be tougher outs in games because of their experience, but maybe still struggle. They can be great if Garret Covington has a sidekick.
Denver with 3 games in 3 days. I am still in shock that Marcus Byrd could get 8 assists in one game. Nate Engesser with 26 points in 27 minutes against Lipscomb.
Paul Miller is rapidly rising as a star, as the Bison were expecting. They were thinking that Kory Brown, Carlin Dupree, and Miller would all have to make up for the scoring loss of Lawrence Alexander. Turns out that they just need Paul Miller to do it. Malik Clements is looking pretty good too, the Mavs offered him out of high school.
I watched IPFW’s game on ESPN3 when I got home Friday night. I am still not sold on this team as a team in the top half of the standings in The Summit. Their highly touted newcomers did very little against Valpo. Other than John Konchar, he looks good.
Oral Roberts with a nice win over Missouri State. Former Mav, Jalen Bradley, had a game high of 16 points with 4 threes. AJ Owens had 14 points and 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks to make me look silly. It’s scary to think that the Golden eagles could get a win while Obi Emegano and Brandon Conley did not play very well.
IUPUI with a win at Indiana State…how is that Summit League-Missouri Valley challenge talk looking now?
South Dakota also with 3 games in 3 days. Tre Burnette had 22 points and 16 rebounds against Wright State.
Basketball, meh, mainly the NBA has entered into an era of looking at teams by asking the question: Who has the best Big 3? Having a Big 3 certainly is key, but really I think it’s just as important to follow up with who has better role players to back up Big 3? Could the 2008 Boston Celtics have won an NBA championship without their young starters Kendrick Perkins, Rajon Rondo, and older bench players of PJ Brown, Sam Cassell, and James Posey? But while we are on the subject, that I brought up, let’s take a look at who could have the best Big 3 in the Summit League in the 2015-2016 season.
Jake Bittle, George Marshall, Deondre Parks
There is little doubt that the Jackrabbits will have the best guard trio in the league. Each averaged double figures in scoring, and all three can defend the perimeter. Each averaged double figure scoring, and Bittle has the highest field goal percentage of any returning player to the Summit league at 53.4 %. The Jackrabbits also have 3 of the top 5 returning players in 3 point field goals made, Marshall made 64 threes in 2014-2015 and he did not even play the entire season. The big question mark is; with Cody Larson graduating, who is going to rebound and defend in the post for them?
Reed Tellinghuisen, 6-6 SO: If you look at the Jackrabbits fan forum, someone posted pictures of Tellinghuisen lifting weights, which is not weird at all. He does appear as if he has added some weight onto his frame, which is great as he will be used more at the 4 position in his second year as a Jackrabbit. The Summit League has Tellinghuisen, AJ Jacobson, and Tre’Shawn Thurman all in the same class at the forward position. How excited are you for 2017-2018?
Connor Devine/Ian Theisen: These two split time and basically taking turns of who was backing up All Conference player Cody Larson. These two combined for for almost 5 points and 4 rebounds per game. With a young front court, these two will be counted on more in the 2015-2016 season to step up.
Skyler Flatten, 6-6 SO: Flatten was actually getting a decent amount of minutes, but then something happened. George Marshall happened.
Keaton Moffitt, 6-5 SR: Keaton Moffitt also happened. The transfer, from Division 2 Sioux Falls, made quite the impact on his team with his leadership and hustle, routinely making big plays when it was needed most.
Devin Patterson, Tre’Shawn Thurman, Marcus Tyus, (Jake White)
The Mavericks could have a Big 4 if Jake White is healthy, with as many injuries as he had in his junior season, it is going to be like getting an entirely new player in the line up. It seemed as if the entire team faced injuries issues last season, so if the Mavs can stay healthy, they can be a very dangerous team in the Summit League with their senior back court of Patterson and Tyus to go along with their rising sophomore star Tre’Shawn Thurman.
Random stat: The Mavericks have the most experienced roster with the average eligible player being 2/3 of the way through their sophomore season, but they have the smallest roster with an average height of 6’4″. If Zach Jackson, Ben Kositizke, and Zach Pirog all redshirt, the roster gets even smaller, but more experienced. It is still up for debate if this is one of the meaningless things I have ever posted here.
Tra-Deon Hollins, 6-2 JR: Averaged 17 ppg, 6.2 rpg, and 5.3 apg his freshman season of junior college, he appears to be a little bit of everything, and can really help the Mavericks improve their perimeter defense.
Daniel Meyer, 6-9 SO: Only averaged four and a half minutes a game in 2014-2015, but he is likely to see an increased role with the graduation of Mike Rostampour and the departure of fellow redshirt freshman Rylan Murry. Meyer appeared to play with a lot of activity on the team’s trip to Italy.
Randy Reed, 6-6 SR: I’d like to see Reed’s shot chart, I cannot think of many jump shots Reed made, or took. He really can slash and get to the basket though. When Marcus Tyus missed the last 6 games of the season, Reed really did a decent job of bringing energy off the bench. There were many instances in the Mavericks’ home game against Oral Roberts that he made a play to keep Omaha in the game. I would think with not a ton of post players around the Summit League that Reed will be used as a backup 4.
Kory Brown, Carlin Dupree, AJ Jacobson
After losing the Summit League player of the year, Lawrence Alexander, the Bison will look to replace that offense in their back court. AJ Jacobson said in a Q&A that the Bison are all about a team effort, and know that there is a next one up to take Alexander’s place. It will probably actually be two up with Kory Brown and Carlin Dupree to take the load on offense over. Seriously, this team is starting to become the HYDRA of the Summit League.
While this team is still relatively young, they seem to have completely bought into Dave Richman’s schemes. A Big 3 probably does not really matter to the Bison, they appear to be ready for anything. Looking at their roster, they probably have the most complete roster in the Summit League. It is also probably worth nothing; that while the Bison are a young team, their roster has the most division one starts on the active roster for 2015-2016 with 197 starts. Kory Brown is after all a 4 year starter…assuming he is going to start this season.
Chris Kading, 6-8 SR: Kading averaged 5.3 points per game and 3.9 rebounds per game in 2014-2015. He is not much of a threat on offense, but he does rarely make mistakes. Actually the Bison rarely make mistakes as a team. Kading led the Summit League in blocks per game.
Paul Miller, 6’4 SO: Miller averaged 6.7 points per game and 3.8 rebounds per game, while making 37 threes in his freshman campaign, which is all impressive considering he was sharing the back court with the likes of Lawrence Alexander, Kory Brown, and Carlin Dupree. He also had 10 games in which he scored in double figures.
Dexter Werner, 6-6 JR: Had a massive jump from his sophomore to his junior season going from 2.8 points per game to 8.4 points per game. He also only averaged under 20 minutes per game in 2014-2015. With Werner coming off the bench, he and Jacobson allow the Bison to be extremely tough at the 4 position for 40 minutes. It also allows Jacobson to move over to the 3 and play more outside, which is not a bad thing for them. Werner was second on the team in blocks per game, and is tied with Omaha’s Tre’Shawn Thurman as the 2nd leading shot blocker returning to the league.
Marcellus Barksdale, Darrell Combs, Nick Osborne
A bunch of new faces for IUPUI, which is not a terrible thing. Marcellus Barksdale is the team’s returning leading scorer, but he can easily fall to the team’s 2nd or 3rd best scorer on the team. Eastern Michigan transfer Darrell Combs is ready to go and has shown he can get buckets. I cannot wait for the “combing the court” puns from terrible ESPN3 commentators. Loyola-Illinois transfer Nick Osborne is expected to make a big impact on this team as well, and will more than likely serve as the team’s primary post presence, as he and other Loyola-Illinois transfer Matt O’Leary are the only upperclassmen post players on the team. Osborne was known for getting into lots of foul trouble when he was a post player for Loyola. The Jaguars are going to look entirely different this season.
Seriously, how many 6’5″ guards do the Jaguars need?
Aaron Brennan, 6-6 SO: Averaged 6.4 points per game in 2014-15 and started in 24 games, but could be moved to the bench with the additions of Osborne and O’Leary. Not a bad thing for your team to have a guy on your bench with 24 career starts as a freshman.
DJ McCall, 6-5 SO: Averaged a shade under 5 points per game and had 15 starts on the year. Could also see an increase of minutes with the graduations of Elijah Ray and Khufu Najee.
The further I get into this, I realize that the entire team is a group of role players.
Tre Burnette, Tyler Flack, Casey Kasperbauer
I admit that throwing Flack’s name into the mix is a risk. Due to an injury, he has yet to play under Craig Smith, but Craig is probably going to like using a 6’7″ guy who shot 45% on threes in his sophomore season. Combine that with Casey Kasperbauer ranking 95th in the nation last season in threes made, and South Dakota will rely on the three ball a lot this season, again. The trio can really make up for the losses of Tyler Larson and Brandon Bos from last season.
Tre Burnette is the Summit League’s leading returning rebounder from 2014-2015, and Kasperbauer has the most three point field goals made of any returning player to the League, he also has the 3rd highest three point field goal percentage of any returning player.
Trey Norris, 6-0 Sr: Came off the bench in his junior year after being a starter in his sophomore season, but will compete for the starting point guard position with incoming JuCo player, Shy McClelland. Norris had a drop off in production from his sophomore season under coach Smith, but he can still be a capable part of the offense for the Coyotes.
Eric Robertson, 6-8 Sr: He made the game winning shot over the Mavericks in Omaha, right? I just remember the beard, and being incredibly angry. I do not completely blame him for the Mavericks’ loss, it is just the final image I have in my mind of that game. Perhaps an increased role in his senior season with the departure of James Hunter, but Craig Smith did a decent job recruiting two 6’9″ freshman (Tyler Hagedorn and Dan Jech) that he may be intrigued to get to the top of the rotation immediately.
Mo Evans, Max Landis, Joe Reed
I continuously forget about the existence of Max Landis, but he is on the team, I swear it, and he was 4th on the team in scoring last season. The ‘Dons lost a lot of their post game, and they do not appear to have much replacing what they lost, so the team could rely a lot on Mo Evans to be a star. Landis will be there to shoot the three, and Joe Reed will need to be counted on even more to be a stretch 4 than he has before. Seriously, this is the first time we have seen the ‘Dons without a serious threat of a stretch 4. Yep, first time in 5 years? Reed did shoot 36% from behind the line last year, but did not take many as he only made ten on the year. The team will be counting on two junior college transfers to fill the void of what they lost from last season, and will need them to adjust and contribute quickly.
Side note: The ‘Dons will have transfers from Louisiana Tech, Purdue, and Bradley all eligible to play in 2016-2017.
Andrew Poulter, 6-11 JR: Played in seven games his redshirt freshman year at Arkansas-Little Rock before transferring to Western Texas for his sophomore season, where he averaged 7 points and 5 rebounds per game.
DeAngelo Stewart, 6-6 JR: Played his freshman season at Alabama State before transferring to Northwest Tech in Kansas for his sophomore season. Averaged 16 ppg, 6 rpg, and shot 47% from the field in his sophomore season. A few people have already tabbed Stewart as the Newcomer of the Year in the Summit League.
Garret Covington, JC Fuller, and Jabari Sandifer
It is hard to determine who the Leathernecks’ third best player is behind Covington and Fuller. Sandifer was the third leading scorer on the team with 7.4 points per game, and he also led the Summit League in assists with 4.3 per game. He even had a great opening weekend in the Summit with 22 points and 4 assists against IPFW and 20 points and 6 assists against Omaha, but then he was basically never heard from again only scoring in double figures one more time through the season.
Western Illinois actually has a lot of experience on their team, but how much faith can you put in a team that has gone 1-27 on the road in the last two seasons. The last time they won a road game was January 30th, 2014 against IPFW.
Mike Miklusak, 6-6 JR: Played in 15 games because of a season ending injury He had 21 points and 7 rebounds against Omaha. I am putting my head down right now.
Jamie Batish, 6-4, SR: A bit of an inconsistent guard, but gives the Leathernecks an option on offense after averaging 6.4 points per game in his first season with the team. He had 15 points in a win against Omaha. Seriously, I am going to punch myself in the face right now.
Tate Stensgaard, 6-8 SR: Played in 20 games before facing a season ending injury. Has shot over 56% on his career as a Leatherneck.
Marcus Byrd, Nate Engesser, Bryant Rucker
Honestly it is pretty difficult to analyze a team’s Big 3 when they run the Princeton offense. Excuse me, I have to take a break, I just had a random memory of Barry Collier being a terrible basketball coach.
Okay, I am back… With their offense you need guys that take high percentage shots. These three seniors-to-be had a combined shooting percentage of nearly 50% from the field and 42% on threes. Marcus Byrd has the highest three point field goal percentage for any player returning to the Summit League. The Summit League has been more difficult for Joe Scott and the Pioneers than it was for them against the Sun Belt and WAC, which hopefully is not all that surprising. The Pioneers have gotten worse each of the last three seasons going from 22 wins to 16 wins to 12 wins, can they go for 10 this year? With their high shooting percentage, the Pioneers can always be in a game, but with the Summit League having so many good shooters, teams have been able to take over games down the stretch. It is pretty difficult to beat at home as they are 32-13 at home over the last 3 years, and last year they lost 7 games at home by a combined total of 39 points…one of those games was a 16 point loss to IPFW as an outlier.
Daniel Amigo, 6-10 SO: 5.7 ppg, 46 FG%
Jake Pemberton, 6-3 SO: Likely to see an increased role with the graduation of Brett Olson and Cam Griffin.
Obi Emegano, Brandon Conley, Scott Sutton
With Korey Billbury and Bobby Word departing from the team, I really cannot come up with who is going to make up a Big 3 for the Golden Eagles. On paper, it looks kind of rough for Oral Roberts and coach Sutton, but Sutton is probably one of the top coaches in the Summit League and entering his 17th season as the head coach of the Golden Eagles, so they cannot really be counted out, especially if they arguably the best player in the conference. You want to talk about new faces? Oral Roberts is going to be like trying to figure out who is joining the cast of another Expendables film.
Seriously have no idea what will be happening with this team. Perhaps this is what happens to a team when they change conferences so often…naw what I mean Denver? Brandon Conley is probably the only for sure thing on the team, everyone else seems to be the mystery man with his trigger on the finger. The Golden Eagles can probably get above .500 in the conference with Emegano and Sutton though.