A look at who the Summit League is losing

College sports graduates teams every year, players transfer, and teams are affected by that from year to year…duh.  Some top teams get worse because of what they are losing, and other teams get better with what they have coming back.

Here is who Summit League men’s basketball is losing this year, and the list is in order of what teams will be affected most by their losses.


South Dakota

It feels uncommon to see the team that finished 8th in a conference to be losing so many players.  Seems like these teams are typically youthful and at least have a lot to look forward to in the future as they develop their team.  South Dakota will graduate 4 players on scholarship and one walk on player; as well as lose three players to transfer.

The Yotes will have a new look with three transfers coming aboard, and could potentially have the deepest core of post players as most of their post players this season were freshmen and sophomores.

From 2014-2015 to 2015-2016, the Coyotes were losing the most scoring off their team at 57% and they fell from 4th in the conference to 8th.  Going into next season, they will again be the team that loses the most scoring at nearly 80 freaking percent of their scoring.

Graduates

Tre Burnette, 6’5″ guard/forward

Played in 32 games and started 23 in 2015-2016.  Averaged 13.2 points; 6.6 rebounds (4th in the Summit League), shot 44% from the field; 51% from the free throw line; and, 32% on threes.  Finished his senior season with 8 double-doubles.

Burnette played the 2, 3, and 4 for the Coyotes at different times.  His production and hustle will be missed by the Coyotes, but he could be being replaced by more efficient players.

Casey Kasperbauer, 6’1″ guard

Started in all 32 games for the Yotes in his senior season.  Averaged 12.1 points; 2.5 rebounds; 2.1 assists; and 1 steal per game.  Shot 41% from the field; 95% (led the Summit) from the free throw line; and 41% on threes.

Craig Smith once called Kasperbauer the best shooter that he had ever coached, and that will be missed by the Coyotes.  The transfer guards coming in for South Dakota appear to be slightly more versatile than Kasperbauer and be more productive over the 34 minutes a game that Kasperbauer was playing.

Trey Norris, 6’0″ guard

Played in all 32 games for the Yotes, and was moved into the starting rotation after Shy McClelland left the team, which was weird because Norris seemed to be the better point guard on the court for the team.  Ended the year averaging 7.5 points and 4.3 assists per game, but was averaging 12 points 5.4 assists in February and March.

Eric Robertson, 6’8″ forward/center

Started in all 32 games for South Dakota as a senior.  Not much of a rebounder for a big man averaging 3.2 per game.  Robertson scored 8.3 points per game on 47% from the floor.

I thought that Tyler Hagedorn or Dan Jech should have been playing more time than Robertson, and I may be more bias for Hagedorn being that he is from Nebraska, but both true freshmen seemed that they could have been more productive over Robertson.

Duol Mayot, 6’5″ guard/foward

Played in 17 games in his senior season as a walk on.

Departures

Dejon Davis, 6’4″ sophomore – Transferred to Indianapolis (D2)

Considered to be one of the most improved players in the Summit League after seeing his scoring go from 1.9 points per game in his freshman season to 9.3 as a sophomore.  Davis’ playing time was increased as well going from a seldom used guard his freshman season at 9.3 minutes per game to starting in 31 of 32 games in his sophomore season and averaging nearly 30 minutes per game.  He was 6th in the Summit League in field goal percentage shooting 55.1% from the field.  He was likely to see a reduction in minutes with Matt Mooney and Carlton Hurst becoming eligible, but Davis still would have been a contributor to the team.

Shy McClelland, 6’0″ junior – Left team in early February

McClelland averaged 11.5 points on 49% from the field in his time with South Dakota, but he shot 51% from the free throw line attempting over 4 free throws a game.  He was pretty inconsistent in his time on the team, but could have been a contributor to the Coyotes in 2016-2017.

Zach Dickerson, 6’4″ sophomore – Left team in early February

A transfer from Eastern Illinois that was not seeing much playing time for South Dakota, and probably was not going to see much of an increase in minutes in 2016-2017.


South Dakota State

The Jackrabbits are losing nearly half of their scoring, and they will working with a new head coach in 2016-2017.  Teams in the Summit League may not have the same fear that they’ve had going up against the Jackrabbits that they have had over the last few years.

Graduates

George Marshall, 6’0″ guard

Marshall ended the year struggling when it mattered most.  The Jacks had to survive through his 15% shooting in the conference tournament to move on to face Maryland in the big dance.  Marshall ended the regular season as a 1st Team All Summit League player with his 14.9 points per game, which was 10th in the league.

Marshall has potential to play basketball overseas or in the new NBLA.

Deondre Parks, 6’1″ guard

Parks played in 33 of the team’s 34 games and also averaged 14.9 points per game, and he was a good rebounder at his size with 4.6 per game.  He was shockingly pushed down to the Honorable Mention Team for the Summit after being named to the preseason 1st team.

Like his back court teammate, Parks also has potential to play basketball overseas or in the new NBLA.

Jake Bittle, 6’4″ guard

Bittle did not receive any post season awards after being named to the preseason 1st Team for the Summit League.  He was forced out and also played through some injuries, which may have led to some slightly inconsistent play for himself and the Jackrabbits.  Bittle led the Jackrabbits with 25 points in their win at Minnesota.

Losing Bittle as the guy to actually run the Jackrabbits offense is what could hurt the team the most.

Cory Jacobsen, 6’1″ guard

Never really saw much playing time as a walk on for the Coyotes.  Scored 2 points his senior season.

Departures

Connor Devine, 6’10” junior – Transferred to Alaska-Anchorage (D2)

Never truly broke into the rotation at South Dakota State playing behind a number of quality post players in three years.  Devine did average 2.6 points and 1.6 rebounds as a junior, and shot 64% from the field in 8 minutes per game.  Could have been potentially a starter or the 1st post player off the bench in 2016-2017 with the Jacks currently with a lack of big men.

Logan Doyle, 6’8″ sophomore – Transferred to Northern State (D2)

Basically the exact same situation as Devine.  Only played in 7 games as a sophomore, but could have been one of the first guys off the bench in 2016-2017.


Omaha

Graduating four contributors is really hard to make up in college basketball, but the Mavericks will get to reload some of their roster with transfers and players returning from injuries.  The Mavericks will also literally be blessed with a 6th year of eligibility to Kyler Erickson.

Graduates

Devin Patterson, 5’11” guard

Patterson was the fastest player in the league, and that speed is what kept the Mavericks in a few games and gave the team a few victories.  Making up 18 points per game (3rd in the Summit) will be difficult, making up for his speed and his ability to get to the free throw line with be more difficult to overcome.

Patterson has potential to play basketball overseas or in the NBLA.

Jake White, 6’8″ forward

Even though White seemed to constantly be in foul trouble, he finished his senior season 5th in scoring in the conference with 17.3 points per game; as well as 6th in the Summit in rebounding at 6.2 rebounds per game.  It is hard to find a big man like White that can score from anywhere on the court as well draw as many fouls as he did.  As much as White did commit fouls, he was also able to tie for 3rd in the Summit for free throws attempted per game behind Obi Emegano and Devin Patterson.  White also shot 81% from the free throw line as a senior, which was 2nd in the league among forwards.

White has potential to play basketball overseas or in the NBLA.

Randy Reed, 6’6″ forward

Reed may have only averaged 6 points and 3 rebounds per game in his senior season, but the energy and hustle that he brought off the bench for the Mavericks was priceless and will be incredibly difficult to replace.  His 21 points and 5 rebounds off the bench on senior night was one of the most fun performances by a Mav to watch in person since the Mavericks made the transition to division one.

Tim Smallwood, 6’2″ guard

Smallwood was a little inconsistent, but he was able to improve on his shooting from his junior season to his senior season.  As a junior he shot 26% on threes, and he ended up shooting 37% on threes in his senior season.  I personally thought Smallwood was an underrated one-on-one defender.

Departure

Devin Newsome, 5’9″ sophomore

This appears to be unofficial at the moment.  Per the Omaha World Herald, Newsome is looking for a school to transfer to, but there has not been an official statement from anyone.  Newsome was rarely used in his freshman and sophomore seasons, and was unlikely to see an increase in minutes with the guards expected to be on the 2016-2017 roster.


IPFW

Graduates

Max Landis, 6’2″ guard

The ‘Dons are losing the Summit League player of the year that averaged 10 points a game on just three point field goals.  This is not something that is just easy to make up, but it can be done with a few players taking over the load of scoring and shooting.  After Mo Evans was forced off the team in the second semester, Landis stepped up as a passer and averaged over 4 assists without Evans on the roster.  IPFW has Purdue transfer, Bryson Scott to help take over the scoring load but he shot 29% in his two years on threes at Purdue while Landis just shot 45.6% on threes as a senior, which was 30th in division one.

Landis has recently had workouts with the Indiana Pacers and has potential to play in the NBDL.

Joe Reed, 6’8″ forward

The ‘Dons may end up missing Joe Reed more than they think.  He averaged 10.5 points and nearly 5 rebounds a game, but he was always ready to take a clutch shot.  The ‘Dons loved their small ball style in 2015-2016, and Reed was perfect to play at the 5 for that style.  Their core of post players in 2016-2017 may not be the best players for that type of system the coaching staff seemed to fall in love with.

Michael Calder, 6’2″ guard

Calder was fantastic making up for the loss of Mo Evans in the second half of the season.  He was a bit of a one dimensional guard in his junior season when he averaged 4.7 points, and he was able to step that up to 10 points per game overall as a senior.  Calder averaged 14.4 points in Summit League games after Evans was forced out for the 2nd half of the season.

Departure

Andrew Poulter, 6’11” junior

When Poulter signed with the ‘Dons, I was under the impression that Jon Coffman was going to start and play Poulter at the 5.  Poulter was overweight, shot terribly in junior college, was quite slow, and the ‘Dons wanted to go to a new small ball style.  I thought we were going to have to get Coffman checked into some sort of rehab, but instead Poulter hardly got any playing time at IPFW and decided to leave.  Just didn’t seem like the right fit from the beginning.


Oral Roberts

Graduates

Obi Emegano, 6’3″ guard

So I read somewhere that NBA scouts thought that Emegano was a junior and they were not taking his stock into the draft very seriously.  This seems like a really bitter end for the conference scoring champion after a bulk of his teammates leaving Oral Roberts over the last few years, a shoulder injury in the summer, a mid-season concussion, and being surrounded by an incredibly inconsistent youthful squad with zero chemistry.  Though a year from now we could be talking about how the 2016-2017 Summit League scoring champion, Garret Covington, was only a part of 40 wins in his entire collegiate basketball career.

Emegano has potential to be in the NBDL as he appears to be too short to play the shooting guard position in the NBA, nor really enough speed to be in the NBA…but people said the exact same things about Steph Curry.  The loss of Emegano is obviously huge for the Golden Eagles, and they may be classically bad in 2017.

Brandon Conley, 6’6″ forward

The undersized big man suffered through little injuries his entire senior year at Oral Roberts, which led to inconsistent play.  Conley did shoot 56.2% from the field, which was 4th in the Summit League.  His averages of 7.4 points and 5.4 rebounds are something that can be easily made up with Oral Roberts’ youth.  They seem to routinely have a guy that goes from averaging 2 points a game to getting 8 to 10 points each game the following year.

Departures

DaQuan Jeffries, 6’5 freshman

Jeffries looked like a guard that loved playing against faster paced teams like Omaha and IPFW, and he even looked pretty good for what Oral Roberts liked to do…yet he transferred away from the team.  His versatility as being a 6’5″ guard who was actually probably better as a forward made it difficult to figure out where to play him in each and every game.  His 6.7 points per game was going to be 4th among returning players to the team.

Tre Vance, 6’9″ junior

Vance averaged less than one point and one rebound in his time at Oral Roberts.  Not really sure what to say here…  I’ve lost 17 pounds in the last 2 months…I’ve been working out a lot and eating really well.  It’s cool and all, but I have to buy a bunch of new clothes because I look like a little kid wearing a bunch of hand me downs from his big brother.


Western Illinois

I want to say it really couldn’t get any worse for the Leathernecks, but it doesn’t seem like it will get much better.

Graduates

JC Fuller, 6’3″ guard

Fuller started the year off pretty hot, and then his shooting dropped off toward the end of the conference season.  Fuller averaged 12.7 points a game, but I doubt Billy Wright will miss his shot selection.  The Leathernecks won two games in a row over Omaha and Denver when they decided to play freshman De’Angelo Bruster more than Fuller…then they went back to giving more minutes to Fuller and lost 4 of their last 5.

I will still remember Fuller as the guy that was absolutely on fire in the first half at Baxter Arena and talking shit to the Maverick bench, then put his forearm into Kyler Erickson’s chest right in front of a referee to push off to miss a 30 foot jump shot.  Then Fuller went missing the second half and the Mavericks came back from a big deficit to win the game.

Tate Stensgaard 6’9″ forward

I feel like Stensgaard was injured throughout his entire career.  He always appeared as if he was playing with a pulled hamstring.  Stensgaard could hit 15 foot jump shots consistently, and could put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket and draw fouls, he shot 60% from the field and averaged 8.6 points as a senior.  Western Illinois just boggles my mind.

Jalen Chapman, 6’8″ forward

Chapman started at center for the Leathernecks and averaged 17 minutes a game in each of his 2 seasons at Western Illinois.  I’m not really sure where else in the Summit League that he would have averaged 17 minutes a game.

Jamie Batish, 6’4″ guard

Batish was a really good shooter that had his career affected by nagging injuries.  The Leathernecks may have picked up a few more wins with the shooter being able to play more as a senior.


North Dakota State

Graduates

Kory Brown, 6’4″ guard

Brown is going to be hard to make up for the Bison, but they pride themselves on their Next One Up philosophy.  It’s not easy to lose a guy that was a part of 2 NCAA tournament teams and went to the conference championship every year he was a member of the team.  He was second on the team in rebounds and was arguably their best perimeter defender.  Brown was also that guy that you forgot was in the game when they’re down by 10 and then all of a sudden he makes a handful of defensive stops and scores on 4 straight possessions to get the Bison right back in the game.  They may not have that guy that can just create a 10 point swing in 2 minutes completely by himself next season.

Chris Kading, 6’9″ center

Normally, you wouldn’t think the loss of a guy that averaged 3 points and 3 rebounds is a big deal, but it is actually a little bit of a big deal for the Bison to lose Kading.  His senior year was slowed down with surgeries before the start of the season, which is what led to a reduction in playing time, but he was still effective for the Bison on the court with his smart play and defense.

In the game at Baxter Arena, AJ Jacobson couldn’t guard Jake White or Tre’Shawn Thurman and Jacobson got into foul trouble so David Richman called on Kading.  Kading grabbed some big boards, drew some fouls on Jake White, hit a big three in the first half, and helped spark a little run to keep the game close.  Thurman and Randy Reed were both bothered by Kading and couldn’t really score on him.  The second half, Jacobson got more playing time before ultimately fouling out, and the Bison probably could have won that game if Kading was fully healthy and could have gotten 35 minutes.

Departures

Trey Miller, 6’7″ freshman

Miller played 5 minutes for the Bison and just decided to say “eff this” and left the team.

Brian Ishola, 6’5″ sophomore

I’m not sure who Ishola was.  I think he was just a player that EA Sports made up when there weren’t enough players in the game anymore.


IUPUI

The Jaguars are graduating two seniors, but they are going to have the most returning to their roster in 2016.  They also added two senior transfers that will be eligible immediately and could have the most depth in the Summit League in 2016-2017.

Marcellus Barksdale, 6’5″ guard

One of the best perimeter defenders in the Summit League, and Barksdale had to play every position at some point in his career with the Jaguars as they just about didn’t have anyone else on the team in his first 3 years in the program.  If James Gardner had not come along for IUPUI and brought in a bunch of transfers with him, Barksdale may have been a part of 8 wins in his entire year with the IUPUI.

The stats for Barksdale won’t be hard to make up for the Jaguars, but his defensive presence that allowed the Jaguars to start most of their fast breaks may hurt them to a degree.  They really didn’t win games with their amazing offensive efficiency, they won 9 conference games with their scrappy defense that Barksdale was a major catalyst for.

Mason Archie, 6’5″ guard

The Jaguars considered Archie to be their best perimeter defender, yet that seemed like a ploy to have teams forget about Barksdale somehow.  His length may have bothered some of the smaller shooting guards in the league a bit, but it’s not like that is something teams couldn’t overcome.

The Jaguars are going to be the most experienced team in 2016-2017, if that wasn’t the case, I may have said the losses of Barksdale and Archie were more detrimental to the team.  They return 80% of their scoring from their 9-7 team, and are adding two graduate transfers and a transfer from Syracuse to the roster.  They’ll be fine.

 

 

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I cant put together my thoughts when talking about Western Illinois

The Leathernecks beat Wisconsin to open up the season, and I am pretty sure it is the most forgettable big time win by a Summit League team of all time.  It is almost immediately discredited with: well, Wisconsin wasn’t together at that point…or something along those lines.  There were people that believed in Western Illinois after that, and hopefully those people that did use that belief to discuss how good the Summit League was as a whole for the season.  They probably more so had an attitude of: Well Western Illinois sucks, so who cares.

Western Illinois finished the season as 9th in the Summit League, which meant they had to sit out the Summit League tournament.  At least they got to really bulk up Creighton’s non-conference schedule.  It was not pretty after the Wisconsin win for the Leathernecks.  The team picked up some lopsided wins against the likes of some division 2 schools in addition to Illinois-Chicago and Eastern Illinois before going on an 11 game losing streak.  Then they hurt my brain when they broke their losing streak at home against the Mavericks.  The Leathernecks did expose a large weakness of that Mavs that Omaha was not a great defensive team in the post.  Once a team can get the ball past the quick hands of Tra-Deon Hollins and Devin Patterson, Omaha may not have the bodies to deal with guys down low.  Denver saw this and they just kept throwing the ball into Christian Mackey and CJ Bobbitt to just ruin the Mavericks.  Ehhh.

Much of the season for the Leathernecks was about as hard to watch as when your brother brings home some train wreck of a girl to meet your parents; and you hold a large amount of embarrassment that you know your brother.

The Leathernecks are going to be losing JC Fuller’s 12.7 points per game, which is probably a good thing as he thought he could have the green light to shoot like Steph Curry, but Curry actually makes the crazy shots he takes.  Western Illinois only played Fuller for 8 minutes when they beat the Mavericks and instead gave most of the back court minutes to freshman De’Angelo Bruster, who might be the new fastest player in the Summit League.  His speed created so many opportunities for other players in that game against the Mavericks, he may have actually won that game for the Leathernecks even though he scored 0 points.  Bruster only scored 2 points per game, but the Leathernecks were 2-0 in games he played more than 20 minutes, so hell, they might as well at least make an attempt to give him more minutes in 2017…but Billy Wright seems like the least creative coach in the League; so who knows.

Garret Covington will be the Summit League’s top returning scorer, and that is fun, I guess.  Covington has been known as being one of the league’s most threatening scorers over during the first three years of collegiate careers, but watch a Western Illinois game.  No one else knows how to get open, the coaching staff doesn’t have a great list of plays to really get players open, and Covington never really scores when the game is on the line and he can push the Leathernecks over their opponent.  Granted, they don’t have too many moments when the game is close for Covington can do that, but the point still remains…probably, I think, I may have gone in and out of points there.

The idea here is, who else on the team can actually score consistently?  Jabari Sandifer would go 8-of-12 from the floor one game and then go 2-of-13 the next game, and most of shots were Aw Crap, When Did the Shot Clock Change to 30 Seconds shots.  We like to ask these hypothetical questions of: Would Tre’Shawn Thurman put up the same numbers at a Creighton or a Nebraska?  The simple answer is no because he would be on a different team with a different depth and a different offense than what he is currently on, but it does not mean he is a worse player.

Anyway, if you took Garret Covington and threw him on any other team in the Summit League would he still be known as one of the most prolific scorers in the league?  Covington took 13 shots a game in 2016 and attempted almost 7 free throws a game to guide him to 18 points per game.  You put him on South Dakota State, pretend you’re trading him for Reed Tellinghuisen… Covington isn’t such a dominant of a scorer that he would have taken shot attempts from their three seniors and Mike Daum…Covington would score less than 10 points a game with the Jackrabbits.  Put him on Omaha’s roster, he’d score more than 10 points a game because of the offense, but he would have been the 3rd or 4th option on offense in most situations, and the Mavericks would have been freaking sweet…I think my general point here is that Covington should not have been a Summit League 2nd Team player.  Didn’t Lawrence Alexander finish as North Dakota State’s winningest player with over 100 wins?  It’s kind of a weird thing to say since basketball is a team sport, but Covington has only been a part of 27 wins in his three years at Western Illinois.

You know what, I hate talking about Western Illinois this long.  They at best will finish with 5 conference wins next season.  I am still salty at their men’s soccer team; they flopped so much against Omaha that I thought maybe Manu Ginobli, Vlade Divac, and Derek Fisher took up coaching college soccer.


My wife is out of town for a conference and I heavily debated of traveling (alone) to Tulsa to see the Mavericks take on Oral Roberts; or to Macomb to see UNO Softball play Western Illinois, but I unfortunately decided to be responsible and to save money.  Damn it, I brought up Western Illinois again.  UNO softball at Western Illinois is actually on the radio this weekend…sayyyyy whaaaaat?  88.3 FM is apparently a station?

I was worried about the softball team for UNO this season because of the depth of the pitching, but they are staying alive so far thanks to the bats.  Not saying the pitching has been awful between Laura Roecker and Abbie Clanton, but there are not a ton of options if the two of them are having a bad game or were to get hurt.  Nine players hitting above .250 right now…Nine!  That’s how many times Ferris Bueller unofficially missed class his senior year.  Three players are in the top 10 in the Summit League in batting average.  Oh and this team just beat Iowa State in Ames!  The Mavs are also 159 in RPI right now which is 2nd in the Summit behind North Dakota State.

With just one conference loss, the Mavs are currently 2nd in the conference standings behind 6-0 North Dakota State.  The Mavericks will end the regular season at North Dakota State and also still play 3rd place team South Dakota at home next weekend, so there is still a lot on the line for the Mavs as the two top seeds get byes in the conference tournament in Fargo.


Oh and per twitter, Caroline Hogue has left the women’s basketball team.  Someone may need to let Jon Green cry on their shoulder for a while.

 

 

Summit League Predictions: Feb 3-6

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.

February 3rd

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.

February 4th

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.

February 6th

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.

My trivial Summit League rankings – Jan 25

1. Omaha, 6-1

Last week: 2nd

Before the beginning of the season, the Mavericks had never won in Denver, Fargo, or Tulsa; and now they have won at all three.  They also have not won at Western Illinois since transitioning to D1…so help me God…  The Mavericks have also only had conference season sweeps over UMKC and IUPUI in the past.  According to the ESPN3 commentators during the South Dakota State-IUPUI game a few weeks ago: you want to go undefeated at home and split your road games.  That math puts you at 12-4 to (most likely) win the conference.  The Mavs lost at home, so I guess they’ll just go undefeated on the road.

Jake White is currently the only player that is in the top 5 in the Summit League in points, rebounds, and field goal percentage.  His three point field goal percentage is high enough to be in 3rd in the conference, but he does not attempt enough threes to qualify for that category.  He is also 8th in the conference in free throw percentage, which puts at the highest free throw percentage for any player 6’6″ or taller in the league.

Tra-Deon Hollins is getting better and better offensively, which should just scare the hell out of other teams.  He’s knocking down threes finally…and they are clutch threes, which Omaha desperately needed as the worst three point shooting team in the Summit.  JT Gibson should be soon to add to the team’s three point shooting, right?

2. South Dakota State, 5-2

Last week: 3rd

The Jackrabbits got Jake Bittle back in time to beat Oral Roberts and South Dakota.  Mike Daum continues to get better and better.  Things could get real on Thursday…

The Jackrabbits still hold an RPI in the top 50.

3. IPFW, 5-2

Last week: 1st

Since the loss of Mo Evans, Max Landis has averaged 39.3 minutes per game.  He only sat out a few minutes against Omaha because he got into foul trouble.  Can he continue the hot shooting and carrying the team playing that many minutes?  He’s shot 30% in the last two games at home, so maybe he is losing his powers.

4. North Dakota State, 4-3

Last week: 4th

In the last 5 games, AJ Jacobson is shooting 33% from the field and 28% on threes.  It’s possible that Jacobson wont be on the Summit League 1st Team like it was predicted, I can think of a couple guys who can take his place… Curious if this team inserts Chris Kading back into the starting lineup when the team gets closer to the conference tournament.

5. IUPUI, 5-2

Last week: 6th

The Jags were able to knock off IPFW in Fort Wayne, so Mav fans should take a minute to thank IUPUI for this.  The Jaguars have become a better team overall this season with the added offense from their transfers and newcomers.  By the way, they only had 5 turnovers as a team against IPFW.  Amazingly, for not being known as an offensive show, the Jaguars are 2nd in the conference in Summit League in field goal percentage behind Omaha.

6. Oral Roberts, 3-5

Last week: 5th

The Golden Eagles started the conference schedule with a on the road for a game, then home, then back on the road for one game, then back home for a game, then going on the road for two games, to come back home for South Dakota State and Omaha at home.  They probably cannot wait for their three game home stretch against IUPUI, Denver, and Western Illinois.

I didn’t get to watch the Omaha-Oral Roberts game.  I planned on watching it on ESPN3 on Sunday, and I got the first 10 minutes of the game, but then ESPN3 just decided that enough for me.  I saw that AJ Owens did not play, I do not know why, but I watched the Golden Eagles’ game against South Dakota State and I wrote down “AJ Owens has a really quick release on his jump shot, but why?  Why does a 6’9″ 260 pound guy need a quick release on his jump shot?  Seriously?”

7. South Dakota, 2-5

Last week: 8th

The Coyotes were right there to defeat their instate rival, but couldn’t pull it off.  They have two games on the road this week at Denver and Omaha.  This is still a difficult team to figure out, and will be a tough out in the conference tournament for the 1st or 2nd seed.  Tyler Flack appeared to be healthy again against South Dakota State.  He had 10 points and 6 rebounds with a monstrous dunk at one point.  If they can get him at 100%, the Coyotes are going to be annoying.

8. Denver, 2-5

Last week: 7th

The Pioneers only had one game last week which was a 14 point loss to Omaha.  They get two games at home this week against the South Dakota schools, a split this week would be pretty reasonable.

9. Western Illinois

Last week: 9th

The Leathernecks are 0-7 and their next 5 out of their 6 games are on the road, and the one home game is against Omaha.  The end of their loss to North Dakota State was phenomenal to watch.  JC Fuller missed two easy shots, Jabari Sandifer missed a couple easy shots and refused to pass to a wide open Garret Covington, and it looked as if the team were not even paying attention to the coaching staff.

Summit League Predictions: Jan 13-16

I went 4-2 last week missing on IUPUI @ Western Illinois and Omaha @ North Dakota State.  Who else would have picked IUPUI over South Dakota State or Denver over Oral Roberts?  I’m pretty damn happy missing on North Dakota State.  I feel like Western Illinois just keeps lying to us though.  They beat Wisconsin and people thought they would be a dangerous team, they still have votes in the Mid-Major 25, they returned a bunch of experience, but their shooting percentage keeps plummeting.  They’re the girlfriend that keeps cheating on your buddy, and she continues telling him this is the last time, so you have to keep getting drunk and playing Rock Band with him until 4 in the morning every Saturday night to help him keeping his mind off of stuff…and really you need to tell him to just move on.  Not talking from experience or anything.

January 13

South Dakota @ North Dakota State on ESPN3

The home team won each game in this series last year, which is partly why I am taking the Bison here…but mostly because the Bison are an overall better team.  The Bison won in Fargo by 24 the last time these two teams played.  One scary thing, (and I know I have mentioned this before) no team in the Summit League forces teams to take more threes than the Coyotes, and the Bison shoot the 2nd most threes in the league while being 7th in the league in 3 point field goal percentage.  The Bison were 8-of-12 from 3 at home against Denver and 8-of-21 at home against Omaha.  There are really not a lot of knock down three point shooters for the Bison, only Paul Miller and AJ Jacobson shoot higher than 30% from three.  The Bison have also gone with a few different lineup changes over the last few games, which has been a little confusing, but David Richman says his players are completely fine with this.

The fun match up of the game to watch could be the forward position between Tre Burnette (14.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 47fg%) versus AJ Jacobson (13.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 46fg%).  But the real match up to see is whoever Craig Smith decides to try and stop Paul Miller.

January 14

Oral Roberts @ IUPUI on ESPN3

I picked IUPUI to win this game before the start of the season.  I thought Oral Roberts would be favored because it was Oral Roberts and it is IUPUI, then the Jaguars would surprise the Golden Eagles, but instead Oral Roberts is 1-3 and IUPUI is 3-1.

Oral Roberts really has too many newcomers to face a defensive team like the Jaguars.  So far, in 4 Summit League games, the Jaguars are 2nd in the Summit in defensive field goal percentage and 1st in defensive three point field goal percentage.  In 3 games against the Jaguars last season, Obi Emegano shot 10-of-33 from the field and 2-of-9 from three.  The Golden Eagles have shown that they struggle without the preseason player of the year by losing to South Dakota and Denver, each team’s only conference win so far, so how could they do when he is being contained by Marcellus Barksdale?

Denver @ Western Illinois

Denver won in Macomb last season, but this was when Western Illinois basically did not have a roster anymore due to injuries late in the year.  This basketball game could be classically ugly.  There will be one team does not get into the Summit League tournament, and this is looking like the two worst teams in the Summit League, so the last tournament spot could be on the line.

In 4 conference games so far, Denver has the worst defensive field goal percentage in the league, and Western Illinois has shown they can shoot well against poor defenses.  I don’t want to think about this game anymore.

IPFWSouth Dakota State

Both teams are going to have difficult schedules on the week, and this should be a really fun game.  Fort Wayne lost by 29 the last time they played in Brookings, a game that the ‘Dons had 24 turnovers in.  Now, the ‘Dons are coming into this game on a 6 game winning streak.

This is a match up for two of the best back courts in the Summit, and there should be close to 20 three point field goals made.  A serious question for the Jackrabbits is: is Jake Bittle playing?  Without Bittle, I am taking IPFW.  The ‘Dons are a slightly better defensive team than the Jackrabbits, which could make a big difference in a game between two of the best teams.  In their first three conference games, the Jackrabbits have shot 38% from the field against IUPUI, Western Illinois, and Denver.  All of these games have been without Jake Bittle.  They cannot shoot 38% from the floor and beat the ‘Dons.

I don’t know how far back you can go and replay games on ESPN3, but if you can, go watch South Dakota State @ IUPUI.  South Dakota State, who is supposed to be the best coached team in the Summit, would go 5 minute stretches with 4 players not even attempting to move without the ball on every single play.  There is no one on the team that will force their teammates to move without Jake Bittle.

January 16

Denver @ IUPUI on ESPN3

See above about the South Dakota State not moving the ball on IUPUI.  Can IUPUI keep Denver from moving the ball around and getting shots off in their Princeton offense?  IUPUI swept Denver last season by a combined 4 points.  This game will be close, it will be low scoring, and it will be as frustrating as a 14 year old boy dealing with dial up internet when his parents are not home.  Hey, it takes a while to do homework when you’re 14.  Especially with a poor internet connection.

IPFW @ Omaha

The two highest scoring teams in the Summit will be facing off.  I would like to think the Omaha crowd will be larger than normal.  Their team is on their longest winning streak since transitioning to division one, Devin Patterson has won the conference player of the week award twice in a row, Tra-Deon Hollins leads the nation in steals, Omaha is coming off one of their best weeks in division one beating North Dakota State and South Dakota on the road, there will be no competing Creighton or NFL game, and the brand of Omaha basketball is getting some recognition right now.

This is the only game of the week for Omaha, while IPFW has to go on the road against South Dakota State and Omaha.  South Dakota State is ranked 15th in the Mid-Major Poll, IPFW is 20th, and Omaha is 10 votes away from being 25th.

Patterson against Mo Evans should be a really fun match up to watch in this game.  In 4 games against each other; Patterson has averaged 9.3 ppg, 2.3 apg, 1.3 spg, and shot 52% from the field; Evans has averaged 12.3 ppg, 2.0 apg, 1.0 spg, and shot 42% from the field.  In IPFW’s current 6 game winning steak (not counting Purdue North Central), Evans has averaged 17.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 5.8 apg, and shot 49% from the field.  In Omaha’s current 6 game winning streak, Patterson has averaged 21.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2 spg, and shot 53% from the field.

Maybe Patterson and Evans cancel each other out, I don’t know.  Another interesting match up should be the battle in the post with IPFW’s Joe Reed (10.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 55 fg%) and John Konchar (11.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 58fg%) against Jake White (16 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 57fg%) and Tre’Shawn Thurman (14.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 52fg%).  IPFW could start Brent Calhoun at the center spot, but Jon Coffman regularly takes him out pretty quickly and plays small ball with the 6’4″ Konchar at the 4 position.  Calhoun has gone from basically just being a tree in the middle of the lane to being effective in the last couple of games for the ‘Dons.  Last week against South Dakota and Denver, Calhoun averaged 13 & 5 and shot 11-of-12 from the floor.

These teams actually sound pretty close to each other on paper.  Now I feel bad for dogging on the ‘Dons all year.  Okay, how about this.  At the 2 guard position, Tra-Deon Hollins and Max Landis are almost opposite.  Hollins is not a great three point shooter, Landis leads the Summit in three point field goals made (Evans is 2nd in three point field goals made).  Landis is not known for being a great defender, Hollins leads the nation in steals.  Who is going to get the better of the two here?

This game has a recipe for a lot of drama.  Maybe another game Omaha is down by double digits and has to fight back, but the ‘Dons have several offensive weapons so it might be as easy as coming back on the Leathernecks or Coyotes.

South Dakota State @ North Dakota State on ESPN 3

I admit it.  I am for the most part only taking the Bison because they are the home team in this rivalry.  Last week, I took NDSU against the Mavericks mainly because they were the home team and because almost no Maverick ever had a quality game against the Bison…and I was very happy to be wrong.

Oral Roberts @ Western Illinois

Obi Emegano should hopefully be fully recovered from his concussion at this point.  I also don’t think Obi Emegano would let his team fall to his former school.  Against Western Illinois last season, Emegano averaged 23.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, and shot 52% from the field.  Western Illinois’ best player, Garret Covington had 13.5 ppg, 6 rpg, and shot 26% from the field.  Emegano has the ability to fully put his team on his back and win a basketball game similar to North Dakota State’s Lawrence Alexander last season.

Western Illinois also recently stopped using Jamie Batish off the bench, who was leading the conference in three point field goal percentage at one point.  Mike Miklusak was giving the Leathernecks’ good minutes off the bench, but was injured against Omaha, and hasn’t been seen since.  Miklusak missed the last 13 games of 2014-2015 and Western Illinois went 1-12 with him out.  WIU’s top three players: Garret Covington, JC Fuller, and Jabari Sandifer are far too consistent to go up against a guy like Emegano.


Summit League RPI Rankings as of January 12th

51. South Dakota State

78. IPFW

107. Oral Roberts

139. Omaha

152. South Dakota

163. IUPUI

170. North Dakota State

234. Denver

252. Western Illinois


Summit League Kenpom Rankings as of January 12th

83. South Dakota State

133. Omaha

155. North Dakota State

160. IPFW

188. IUPUI

189. Western Illinois

193. Oral Roberts

209. South Dakota

243. Denver

My trivial Summit League rankings – Jan 11

Again, this might be a step above of being on the range of worthlessness of Joe Lunardi’s bracket on August 5th…

1. Omaha, 4-0

Mehehehehehehe.  Never give up on this team.  They have 5 wins so far this season where they had to make a push for a comeback, and they almost had a comeback win against Santa Barbara.  The Mavs also showed stretches of comeback attempts on Eastern Michigan and Wyoming.  They can be down 20 at half time, and they would still feel confident enough to come out in the second half for the win.  What’s the make up a team that is built for a comeback in a game?  One that can force a load of turnovers, score in bunches, and force their opponent into foul trouble.

One amazing thing is that Omaha is currently 4-0 in the Summit League, and do you even remember that this has been done without Marcus Tyus on the team?  The Mavs have a top 3 back court in the Summit with Tra-Deon Hollins and Devin Patterson to go up against the back court of South Dakota State with George Marshall and Deondre Parks, and IPFW with a back court of Mo Evans and Max Landis.  Now throw this out there for next season, the Mavs could again have a top back court with Tra-Deon Hollins and Marcus Tyus…

Those Omaha Mavericks are so hot right now.
Those Omaha Mavericks are so hot right now.

2. South Dakota State, 2-1

Hey come on, man!  They lost to IUPUI!  They played that game on the road without the lifeline of their offense, Jake Bittle.  Bittle is expected back soon.  The team is also playing without back up wing Skyler Flatten right now.

3. IPFW, 3-0

Fully admit to being down on the ‘Dons before the year.  Mo Evans is a top 3 point guard in the Summit League, Max Landis is one of the best three point shooters, and John Konchar is the top rebounder as of right now.

The ‘Dons have played a relatively new Oral Roberts, South Dakota at home who lost more than half of their scoring from last season, and a new and young Denver team.  Their next three games are at South Dakota State, at Omaha, and North Dakota State in Fort Wayne…so the ‘Dons are going to have a chance to actually prove themselves in the next couple of weeks.

4. IUPUI, 3-1

Their one loss in the Summit League is an away game at Omaha.  Beating Western Illinois in Macomb is not an easy task.  As one of the better defensive teams in the Summit, they were able to hold Garret Covington and JC Fuller to 11-of-30 from the field.

The Jaguars have two games at home this week against Oral Roberts and Denver.  Could they seriously be 5-1 in the Summit League?  Wasn’t this basketball team almost garbage when Marcellus Barksdale started his career at IUPUI?

5. North Dakota State, 1-2

The home winning streak is over!  The Bison had to go from that to going on the road at Oral Roberts, who was getting Obi Emegano back.  The Bison are young, but David Richland does not seem like a guy who is going to let them give up anytime soon.  The Bison will get a chance to get things back on track this week with two home games against South Dakota and South Dakota State.

6. Oral Roberts, 1-3

The Golden Eagles dropped their first three games, but two of those games were without the preseason player of the year Obi Emegano.  This team is almost completely new, and really have not had many chances to all play together.  Seniors Obi Emegano and Brandon Conley did not play in their international trip this summer.  Scott Sutton has only finished outside of the top 3 once in conference play since 2003-2004, and that was 2 years ago when the Golden Eagles were in the Southland Conference.

The Golden Eagles have to play at Western Illinois and IUPUI this week…two places not very easy to play.

7. South Dakota, 1-3

Many polls had the Coyotes selected 4th or 5th in preseason polls.  The make up of the team does not make much sense though to be qualified to be in the top half of the league.  They lost 54% of their scoring, have several newcomers, and a few players sitting out due to transfer.  South Dakota also had several injuries over the summer.

8. Denver, 1-3

Another team made up of primarily newcomers.  Denver is still a good team at home though, they were able to beat Oral Roberts, even though the Golden Eagles were without Obi Emegano, a win is a win…I guess.

The Pioneers are not known for being a great road team, and they have Western Illinois and IUPUI this week on the road.

9. Western Illinois, 0-3

They beat Wisconsin.  We get it, some people think they are a good basketball team.   You watch a game of theirs on ESPN3 and the commentators will talk about the Leathernecks as if they are a deep threatening team.  They are 0-3, and their shooting appears to get worse and worse.

 

It was stressful, but the Mavericks are 2-0

A 2 point win after being down with 16 points with 9 minutes to go and a 5 point win in an always close game is a pretty stressful way to pick up your first two conference wins, but the Mavs are 2-0 and that is all that matters (to me).  It was as stressful as being a Kansas City Royals fan and watching them be down 0-1 going into the 7th inning.  Both IUPUI and Western Illinois are going to be tough to beat on the road later in the season, and Omaha plays IUPUI after a fun filled weekend of North Dakota State and South Dakota State.  Also, the Mavs are currently on their longest winning streak over division one teams…so eat that up.

Last year, the worst thing about the Mavs was their perimeter defense.  Wing players consistently had great games against their perimeter defense.  Now, after 2 games, the Mavs held Garret Covington of Western Illinois to 4-13 from the floor and Darell Combs of IUPUI to 8 points on 3-11 shooting.  IUPUI was just 1 of 15 from three point range, but they really are not that great of a three point shooting team to begin with…they are 8th in the Summit League and Omaha is 9th.  JC Fuller of Western Illinois had 10 points for Western Illinois in the first 8 minutes of the game, and the Mavs were able to contain him to just 7 points for the rest of the game.

The three point shooting for the Mavs is still a concern, but Tim Smallwood was able to hit some big time shots against Western Illinois to help fuel the comeback.  Tre’Shawn Thurman and Tra-Deon Hollins were both in foul trouble for a good portion of the Western Illinois win.  Hollins was really able to help spark the comeback in the final 9 minutes of the game with his stealing and passing abilities, he might not be the best player for the Mavericks, but he could be the most important player for the Mavericks this season.  If you’re a complete dork, you should remember the old Marvel trading cards that had ratings on the back for each characters abilities of strength and shooting lasers out their eyes abilities.  Hollins would have the highest rating for passing and stealing.  You can make a highlight film of guards thinking they can pass around or above Hollins, and he just jumps up in the air and takes the ball.

My wife and I could see that Jalen Morgan of Western Illinois was a complete head case for the Leathernecks, I look forward to the hockey style fight he gets in at some point with his own teammate.  I watched JC Fuller get away twice in the game with putting his elbow on the chest of a Maverick and pushing them off of him.  I am also 90% sure that I saw Jabari Sandifer kiss his own bicep after making a three point shot, which is something only cool dudes do.  I did feel bad for Mike Miklusak hurting himself toward the end of the first half, he was in the shoot around at half time, but he has had a career filled with injuries.  He did miss the Leathernecks’ game against South Dakota State, I could look up to see if there is any specific injury, but I hate typing “Western Illinois” into the Google Machine.

The win over IUPUI has to shake your brain that Devin Patterson and Tre’Shawn Thurman were not selected any preseason Summit League teams.  The Jaguars are a gritty team, they had more steals than the Mavericks.  Yeah, that is weird, isn’t it?  Evan Hall is going to be a great player in the Summit, and you have to like the future of the Jaguars.  Maybe even a top 3 team in the conference next season.

A random note to mention:  Tra-Deon Hollins has 64 steals on the season, which is already the most steals by any Maverick in a season since transition.  Granted, it has not been that long of a history since transition, but we’re only half way through the season so far…

The Mavs are off to as good of a start that you could ask for in the Summit League at 2-0, but a two game road trip at North Dakota State and South Dakota is going to be difficult.  The Mavericks have been a better three point shooting team on the road for some reason, so hopefully that can help because they are going to need it against those two teams that force you to shoot from the outside.