Like I’ve said, and still maintain, there is not a huge amount of difference in the Summit League from top to bottom, so we could just say North Dakota State is number one and everyone else is tied for 2nd.
It is my birthday, so the Mavericks are going to be in 2nd this week. Deal with it.
1. North Dakota State
Last week’s ranking: 3rd
The Bison have a RPI ranking of 77 right now, they shot 13-of-16 on threes at Western Illinois over the weekend, and we are currently trying to figure out what the hell went so wrong in Denver.
I would check LetsGoDU, but it’s just going to talk about how the Pioneers should be in the Sun Belt.
Last week’s ranking: 4th
Today is my birthday, so I am allowed to let my bias side show. They were embarrassed in Tulsa, but a lot of that was just letting themselves embarrass themselves with: Marcus Tyus getting in early foul trouble, Tre’Shawn Thurman picking up the most untimely technical foul possible, and turning the ball over at least 10 times just by just dropping the ball right out of bounce unguarded.
These are things that can be fixed. The biggest issue with this team appears to be rebounding, and especially giving up offensive rebounds. It seems like too glorious of an event when you see Mitch Hahn, Daniel Meyer, or Zach Pirog beat a guy out for position to take away a rebound.
Omaha has lost the 2nd chance points battle in every conference game, except for their win to Denver…and I think Denver missed three shots the whole game.
Now, I’m just going to throw out a few things to make me feel better about this.
The Mavericks and the Bison are the only two teams in the Summit to have multiple conference road wins. They also have the two best three point field goal percentages in conference play. The Mavericks have also led conference play in steals per game. They also have had the most turnovers, but have the highest pace and have more possessions from all the steals.
For other Summit League fans claiming Omaha is atrocious at defense; the Mavericks are 6th in defensive field goal percentage in front of Fort Wayne, IUPUI, and Oral Roberts. They are also second in three point field goal percentage, and they are also in second in forced turnovers per game.
3. Fort Wayne
Last week’s ranking: 2nd
The ‘Dons have dropped three in a row, and it’s a little understandable since they’ve all been on the road. None of their wins have been dominating in anyway, and they even got Dauminated last week. Typing that hurt me to the core. The ‘Dons haven’t actually been beaten badly in any of their losses, but they are 3-4 and many people thought they were going to win 13 to 14 conference games this season.
Their next two of three games are on the road, and the one home game is against IUPUI who swept the ‘Dons last season.
4. South Dakota
Last week’s ranking: 1st
They’re a little thin in the post with Tyler Flack out, and that was one of my fears with picking them last week against Oral Roberts.
A week at home against Western Illinois and Denver should be nice.
Last week’s ranking: 5th
I don’t like getting mean, well, it’s cool if it’s Denver; but isn’t Joe Rosga the least interesting of all the Summit League Super Sophomores? Probably the worst defender out of all of them as well.
Welp, this has been fun.
Last week’s ranking: 6th
There was a point last year, where I found it difficult to figure out what kind of team the Jaguars were, and I feel that I have gotten there again this season. They are not as tough and scrappy as they were last season on defense, and if they don’t get out in transition on offense, there appears to be a lot of just standing around. There seems to be a lot jump shooting and hoping to God that they can grab the offensive rebound for easy put backs. They lead the conference in offensive rebounds, so I guess it kind of works. With 2-of-13 shooting from Darell Combs against Denver, and only grabbing 8 offensive rebounds as a team, that strategy did not work…
7. Oral Roberts
Last week’s ranking: 8th
The Golden Eagles are continuing to improve week after week. In life after Obi Emegano, players are becoming more comfortable and confident with their shot selection. In conference play, the Golden Eagles have the second best field goal percentage behind Denver, and they have had the best free throw percentage. The Golden Eagles have also had the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the conference.
Albert Owens has scored 20 or more points in six consecutive games. Sophomore Kris Martin has also scored 20 or more points in five of the team’s seven conference games. This young team has weapons, and if they continue to be consistent and find more confidence, they could potentially ruin the Summit League tournament for a top team. Freshman Emmanuel Nzekwesi has also scored in double figures in each of the team’s conference wins.
8. South Dakota State
Last week’s ranking: 9th
The Jackrabbits’ five conference losses came by an average of 7 points per loss. They’re not far away from turning this around. They were able to hold Fort Wayne’s great three point shooting to 7-of-21 on Saturday. Not sure if that is a sign of improvement on their perimeter defense, or just a consequence of Fort Wayne being run down from playing a competitive game against North Dakota State on Thursday.
The Jackrabbits actually have the second best defensive three point field goal percentage in conference play. I just the poor perimeter defense talk on their fans being in complete panic mode in their fan forum online, and how easy it appears for opposing guards to penetrate and get in the lane against South Dakota State.
The Jackrabbits did also play a competitive game on Wednesday against IUPUI, and the last 3 minutes of that was probably the most frustrating chunk of basketball for any Jackrabbit or Jaguar fan. Each team kept making shots in the last minute with plenty of time on the shot clock for the other to do something.
The Jackrabbits do appear be getting their rotation sorted out, and setting up an inside-outside game between Mike Daum and Michael Orris.
9. Western Illinois
Last week’s ranking: 7th
After winning their first 3 out of 4 conference games, the Leathernecks have dropped three in a row and have shot less than 40 percent in all three losses.
It’s good to see the Leathernecks are back.