My trivial Summit League rankings: Jan 21 (also some interesting stats)

So I didn’t do this last week as I felt there really wasn’t much of a change in the rankings, but last week was a big week for the Summit League. I know you missed it last week.

1st – North Dakota State, 13-6 (4-1)

My last ranking: 2nd

Huge week for the Bison last week. They picked up 2 home wins, they beat South Dakota at home with a last second shot by Tyson Ward after drawing up an amazing play to get him a free lane to the basket for an easy layup.  Then they were able to bring back senior Jared Samuelson back into the lineup to help beat their in-state rival North Dakota.

Interesting stat: Vinnie Shahid has not missed a free throw in over a month.

2nd – Oral Roberts, 11-8 (4-2)

My last ranking: 6th

After dropping their two first conference games on the road, the Golden Eagles have won 4 in a row.  Including two beat downs on the road over Western Illinois and Fort Wayne.

Interesting stat: In non-conference games, Oral Roberts had the worst assist-to-turnover ratio in the Summit League. In conference games, Oral Roberts has the best assist-to-turnover ratio.

3rd – South Dakota, 12-8 (3-3)

My last ranking: 5th

The Coyotes came close to picking up a win in Fargo. With the game tied, Cody Kelley drove into the lane late in the game, but was called for a charge in just an awkward call. The play was awkward, he ran into a Bison player and fell to the ground while trying to make a pass to an open teammate.  The official seemed to even take a second to process what happened before making the call.

The Coyotes picked up a win against their in-state rival on Sunday, and shot 64% from the field. Holy schnitzels.

South Dakota has been struggling lately as they’ve been waiting for Triston Simpson to get back to playing at full strength.  Simpson was 8-of-9 from the floor against South Dakota State, so yeah, I’m thinking he’s back.

Interesting stat: Tyler Hagedorn is currently 3rd in division one in three point field goal percentage, shooting 55% on threes.

4th – South Dakota State, 14-8 (5-2)

My last ranking: 3rd

Their star player Douglas Wilson did not play against South Dakota. That won’t turn out well if he is out for an extended period of time. Senior point guard Brandon Key did come back in limited minutes against the Coyotes.

Interesting stat: The Jackrabbits have the most players averaging at least 10 points per game in Summit League play with 5 players at with least 11 points per game.

5th – Omaha, 10-10 (3-2)

My last ranking: 1st

Oh boy. A 3-of-17 performance from JT Gibson in a 15 point loss to Denver. The Mavericks are a young team, and typically young teams don’t do well on the road, so it’s a good thing the Mavericks will have 4 games in a row at home.  Unfortunately, 5 of their last 7 games will be on the road, and I’ve said it before, it is extremely important for the Mavericks to be in first place in the conference when they head to South Dakota State on February 8th.

Interesting stat: With 3 blocks at Denver, Matt Pile passed Tre’Shawn Thurman with the most career blocks since the Mavericks transitioned to Division 1.  Matt Pile, as of Tuesday, is currently tied for 20th in Division 1 in rebounds averaging 10.3 per game.

6th – North Dakota, 8-12 (2-4)

My last ranking: 4th

The Fighting Hawks have dropped 4 in a row, three of those games were on the road at Oral Roberts, Denver, and Western Illinois.  Now, they’ll have a chance to get back on the right track with home games against Western Illinois and Denver this week.

Interesting stat: North Dakota averages the most turnovers in the conference.  They are also ranked behind North Dakota State in every single statistical category except for rebounds…but the Bison do average a better rebounding margin.

7th – Fort Wayne, 9-11 (2-3)

My last ranking: 7th

The Mastodons’ two conference wins are against Western Illinois and South Dakota, who was inserting Triston Simpson back into the lineup after an injury.  The Dons are also the only team in the conference who haven’t really faced an injury issue this season.

Interesting stat: Usually one of the highest scoring offenses in the Summit League, the Mastodons are currently 9th in points per game, nearly 4 points less per game than Western Illinois.  The Mastodons are also last in field goal percentage, three point field goal percentage, and free throw percentage.  So it actually should not shock you that they average the most offensive rebounds in the conference play.

8th – Western Illinois, 5-11 (2-4)

My last ranking: 8th

I guess the Leathernecks have also yet to face a real injury to any of their players.

Interesting stat: Someone recently was telling me Brandon Gilbeck got so many blocks last season because he had so many opportunities as the Leathernecks were so bad at defense he had to erase all of their mistakes.  Currently in conference play, the Leathernecks give up the most points per game, have the worst defensive field goal percentage, and the worst rebounding margin.  It’s probably not good they also shoot the 8th worst field goal percentage on the offensive end.

9th – Denver, 5-15 (1-5)

My last ranking: 9th

Denver beat Omaha and I’m so furious I’m going to throw my laptop at someone!

There is chatter among Pioneer fans debating if Denver should let Rodney Billups ride out his contract through next season, or fire him at the end of this season.  I don’t think beating Omaha should help the argument for him not being fired, but it certainly doesn’t hurt it.

Interesting stat: Denver actually averages the 2nd least amount of turnovers in the Summit League, which is pretty remarkable for such a young team.  They do average the most fouls and send their opposition to the line more than anyone, though.

 

Summit League predictions: Jan 15-19

Man, I went 3-5 last week at this.  I was feeling like living life on the edge and taking some risks, but still.

One might consider this Rivalry Week in the conference with the North Dakotas playing the South Dakotas and the North Dakotas play each other and the South Dakotas play each other.  While the rest of the us struggle accepting the conference doesn’t actually care about us.

January 15

North Dakota @ South Dakota State on ESPN+

The Fighting Hawks are bad on the road, and the Jackrabbits are 10-0 at home this season. Though, it should be worth considering the only team that has played against the Jackrabbits in Brookings with a better RPI than North Dakota was Oral Roberts.  The Jackrabbits shot 62% against Oral Roberts to win that game.

With health issues, neither team is particularly deep at the moment.  North Dakota does match up well with South Dakota State.  Filip Rebraca and Kienan Walter match up well against Matt Dentlinger and Douglas Wilson, and Marlon Stewart will hit some big shots to keep the game close.

Paul Sather’s offense will want to take a bunch of 3s, but South Dakota State is the best Summit League team at defending the 3.  I think the Jackrabbits win the game, but North Dakota can beat the spread.

South Dakota @ North Dakota State on ESPN+

These teams match up really well.  Their big glaring difference is that the Bison pride themselves on making the most of each and every possession, and South Dakota forces more turnovers than anyone else in the Summit League.  The big difference maker for North Dakota State losing to Oral Roberts was turnovers.  They had 4 more turnovers and lost by 6 points.

I’m going with South Dakota in this one.  It’s a big risk considering South Dakota has yet to win a road game in the conference so far, and their losses were to Western Illinois and Fort Wayne.

The Bison played Oral Roberts without Jared Samuelson and Sam Griesel.


January 16

Oral Roberts @ Western Illinois

The Golden Eagles have not won in Macomb since 2016.  They have won a game in the state of Illinois this season when they defeated Chicago State.  Also, let’s just add Chicago State to the conference already.  I get it, they’re atrocious, but I need an excuse to go to Chicago.

This game seems to lay completely on the shoulders of Kevin Obanor.  If he just wants to hang out on the perimeter and not play aggressive, it allows for Ben Pyle to not really play defense, and Western Illinois is a much better basketball team when Pyle plays well.


January 18

Oral Roberts @ Fort Wayne

Oral Roberts has not won in Fort Wayne since coming back to the Summit League (the Western Illinois and Fort Wayne trip isn’t kind to them).  They’ve also lost 5 in a row to Fort Wayne…granted that was all with John Konchar.

It’s upsetting as Oral Roberts is considered the most talented team in the league by people who actually pay attention to the conference.  They do shoot themselves in the foot with turnovers and bad shot selection, something Jon Coffman’s team would love to take advantage of.

Omaha @ Denver

The team with the best RPI in the conference versus the team with the worst RPI in the conference.

The Pioneers are going to be throwing a true freshman out there to guard Matt Pile, JT Gibson hit 5 threes in Denver last season and led all scorers in the game with 22 points.

I’m going to be real sad if Omaha loses this game.

North Dakota @ North Dakota State on ESPN3

Again, due to health reasons, neither team is particularly deep at the moment.

Is it weird I don’t care and I just can’t possibly imagine the Bison two straight at home?  Aside from that, the Fighting Hawks are just a generally more inconsistent basketball team.


January 19

South Dakota State @ South Dakota on ESPN+

South Dakota is the more talented team and experienced team, by far.  They have had issues the last few weeks with Triston Simpson struggling to get back into a groove after an injury.  With the feelings of being The B School in the state, the Coyotes are out to have something to prove, and with 5 seniors in the rotation, this is their biggest opportunity to take some notoriety and respect in their own state.  This Jackrabbits squad is a team set up for the future, but the Coyotes are set up for right now.

I suppose anything can happen with an in-state rivalry, I wouldn’t know from experience.  If your school’s fraternities can get in a bar fight with another school’s fraternities on a weekly basis, you should be required to play each other in basketball.