The Summit League is already in the midst of its conference schedule with many teams already with three or four conference games. Right now, suprising South Dakota State leads the league after replacing four starters this year as well as their head coach (Bill Wright replaced T.J. Otzelberger, who left after last season to UNLV).
The Jackrabbits dropped their opener, but have reeled off four wins in a row, including back-to-back road games last week at Denver and Purdue Fort Wayne.
Omaha was the last to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten as the Mavericks fell to South Dakota this past Saturday.
JUCO All-American Douglas Wilson (pictured above) has been a driving force behind the Jacks’ early success in league play. He’s averaging 19.6 ppg in five league contests and his 31-point outing at Denver was a career-high and tops the single-game high for points scored in league play.
Oral Roberts rebounded from an 0-2 start to pull even in league play with wins over NDSU and UND. Grad transfer Deondre Burns was the catalyst for the Golden Eagles, earning Summit Player of the Week honors after averaging 20.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, and 5.0 apg in those two wins.
South Dakota State was the regular season champion last year but lost to Western Illinois in the Summit League tournament’s opening round that gave way to #4 seeded North Dakota State to win the tournament and get to the NCAA Tournament.
The Bison were this year’s media selection to win the Summit with all five starters back from the team that won its opening round in the NCAA (over North Carolina Central) before losing to top seeded Duke in the Round of 64.
The preseason had the following as the all-conference picks:
2019-20 Preseason Summit League Player of the Year: Stanley Umude – South Dakota
Preseason All-Summit League First Team Emmanuel Nzekwesi, Oral Roberts, Sr., F (14.8 ppg/8.5 rpg/1.2 apg) Kevin Obanor, Oral Roberts, So., F (14.4 ppg/7.2 rpg/0.5 apg) Vinnie Shahid, North Dakota State, Sr., G (13.1 ppg/3.0 rpg/2.6 apg) Triston Simpson, South Dakota, Sr., G (14.0 ppg/3.7 rpg/3.6 apg) Stanley Umude, South Dakota, Jr., F (14.4 ppg/5.5 rpg/1.4 apg)* Kobe Webster, Western Illinois, Jr., G (17.0 ppg/4.4 rpg/3.1 apg)
Preseason All-Summit League Second Team Tyler Hagedorn, South Dakota, Sr., F (13.0 ppg/5.9 rpg/1.1 apg)# JT Gibson, Omaha, Sr., G (12.9 ppg/2.8 rpg/2.1 apg) Matt Holba, Purdue Fort Wayne, Sr., F (11.7 ppg/4.2 rpg/1.2 apg) Matt Pile, Omaha, Jr., F (11.2 ppg/7.9 rpg/1.2 apg) Tyson Ward, North Dakota State, Sr., F (12.4 ppg/6.2 rpg/2.3 apg)
So far, the Bison have been up and down with a big win over current CSJ Sagarin #1 ranked Mid-Major East Tennessee State but also lost at home to the WAC’s Utah Valley State at home. NDSU also has losses to Power Six schools in Kansas State, Marquette, as well as to High Major Indiana State. The best road win appears to be at Cal State-Northridge.
South Dakota and Omaha were selected as the next two in the preseason. It had been nearly two years since a Summit League team had defeated a program from a “Power 6” conference, but Omaha and North Dakota both changed that during non-conference play. The Mavericks picked up the first one with an 85-77 victory at Washington State (Nov. 21). UND followed suit a month later, defeating Nebraska 75-74 (Dec. 21).
One off-season item is that this the last year for Purdue Fort Wayne within the Summit League as they will move to the Horizon League next year. Missouri-Kansas City, however, will be joining the league as PFW leaves.
The following are the standings thus far through January 14th:
South Dakota is 2-5 in road games this season. USD lost its first two league games before coming back last week to win its last two. South Dakota lost its first two conference games on the road at Western Illinois and Purdue Fort Wayne before coming home to beat Denver and Omaha.
Senior forward Tyler Hagedorn leads the Coyotes with 18.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Hagedorn is also shooting 55 percent from three-point range. Junior Stanley Umude averages 17.2 points and 6.6 rebounds. Umude was the preseason playoff of the year in the Summit League.
As a team, the Coyotes rank sixth in the nation in three-point shooting (40.2 percent) and 31st in field goal percentage (47.4 percent).
North Dakota State Bison (11-6, 2-1 SL)
The Bison defeated Denver and Western Illinois to start League play but fell to Oral Roberts to suffer their first loss in conference play last week.
NDSU returns its two leading scorers in Preseason All-Summit First-Teamer Vinnie Shahid and Preseason All-Summit Second-Teamer Tyson Ward who average 16.2 and 14.8 points this season, respectively.
As a team, North Dakota State averages 72.3 points a game and hold its opponents to 63.9 points per contest. The Bison shoot 44 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range.
The two preseason picks this year in what will be an early season decider who will stay in the upper half of the standings. NDSU lost a very competative game at Oral Roberts and has had nearly a week to prepare for this game. USD did win its last two last week to stay in the Summit League title conversation following two road losses. Both teams have been inconsistant at times but one thing that has been fairly consistant is the way each plays at home and on the road. NDSU did lose one game early in the non-conference slate as mentioned earlier to Utah Valley State but has won every other game in the friendly confines of the Scheels Center. USD has only won two true road games thus far and lost its first two confernce games on the road. NDSU will have a bad taste in its mouth and will take it out on the Coyotes in this game. North Dakota State 72 South Dakota 64
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football in the western half of the United States– the Big Sky Conference and Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football in the western half of the United States-- the Big Sky Conference and Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.