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.
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.
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.
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.
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.