Favorite(s)-South Dakota State 22-9 13-3
The defending champs of the Summit League have once again won the regular season title and #1 seed. For the Jackrabbits the formula is the same as it was last season, let Nate lead us, that’s junior star Nate Wolters. While the formula may be the same the key will be how much the supporting cast helps take pressure off Wolters offensively.
Contender(s)- Western Illinois 21-7 13-3, North Dakota State 22-8 12-4
The Leathernecks are one of the worst offensive teams in the country, averaging only 60 points a game. Good thing for them offense isn’t their calling card, that comes at the other end of the floor where they are one of the stingiest teams in the country allowing just 52.4 points a game. Offensively three guys, Terell Parks, Ceola Clark and Adam Link average 34.8 of the team’s 60 points.
The Bison are one of the few teams that have a win over SDSU, a 3-point win at home. They also shoot the ball very well, 46.9% good enough to be in the top 35 nationally in that category. A big reason for that is junior forward Marshall Bjorklund who happens to be 2nd in the country in field goal percentage at 66.7%.
Team Likely to pull an upset- Oakland 16-15 10-6
If you are looking for a team to be a bid thief in this league it could be Greg Kampe’s Oakland Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have four guys scoring in double figures led by guard Travis Bader’s 22.0 and another at 9.1. If shots are falling for this team that likes to get up and down they could certainly surprise in the Summit.
3 Key Players-Nate Wolters-SDSU, Ceola Clark-Western Illinois, Travis Bader-Oakland
Wolters burst onto the scene last season as he led the Jackrabbits to their first NCAA Tournament. He picked up where he left off, a top 10 scorer nationally, scorching Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne for 53 and well-rounded player dishing out over five assists and grabbing over five rebounds per game. The quiet, unassuming guard has his team poised for a shot at another NCAA tourney appearance.
Ceola Clark is the senior leader for Western Illinois, he isn’t the team’s top scorer but on a team that prides itself so much on defense, 2nd in the country that his 12.3 is good enough for 2nd on the team. The emotional leader of the Leathernecks, Clark could be the key to whether or not Western Illinois makes a run to the NCAA tournament.
Travis Bader is Oakland’s sharpshooting junior guard. After the graduation of Reggie Hamilton Bader has stepped up as the go-to-guy for the Golden Grizzlies averaging 22.0 points a game, Shooting nearly 40% from 3-point land makes Bader extra dangerous, just ask IUPUI who watched him knock home 11 3-pointers in a 47-point effort.
2013 SUMMIT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT
March 9-12 Sioux Falls, S.D.
#1 South Dakota State vs. #8 IUPUI
#2 Western Illinois vs. #7 South Dakota
#3 North Dakota State vs. #6 Missouri-Kansas City
#4 Oakland vs. #5 IPFW
#1/8 vs. #4/5
#2/7 vs. #3/6