By Brandon Antony
As we hit March, the Madness is right around the corner in the NCAA men’s Division I basketball tournament. This also means conference tournament brackets are beginning to form. KCOU Sports’ Brandon Antony dives into a conference that many don’t know about- the Summit conference.
As the conference tournament approaches on Mar. 8 the South Dakota State Jackrabbits were 24-7 overall and first in the conference with a conference record of 14-2, and have the best chance at winning the tournament and getting a bid into this years “big dance” or the NCAA Tournament.
In second was Omaha with an overall record of 19-10 and 13-3 mark in Summit play. Purdue-Fort Wayne followed with a record of 17-4 and 9-7 in conference, North Dakota State came next with a record of 15-15 and 9-7 in conference, South Dakota with a record of 13-16 and 7-9 in conference, next came a 2018 opponent of Missouri, Oral Roberts with a record of 11-20 and 7-9 in conference, followed by North Dakota with a record of 12-17 and 6-10 in conference, Western Illinois with a record of 9-20 and 4-12 in conference, and last but not least, Denver, with a record 8-22 and 3-13 in conference.
South Dakota State is the favorite to win the tournament yet again. They’ve won it four times in the last 7 years, despite being bounced in the first round of the NCAA tournament by Baylor, Michigan, Maryland, and Gonzaga, respectively, all four of those years.
If there was any matchup I would take a look at closely as we approach tipoff on Saturday, it’ll be the matchup between the No. 4 Bison of North Dakota State and the No. 5 Golden Eagles of Oral Roberts.
Both teams have looked good throughout the season, despite not being in the top 3 in the standings. North Dakota State’s coach David Richman has done a good job of turning the Bison’s basketball program around there in Fargo, and developing young players such as junior guard Vinnie Shahid out of Minneapolis and Junior guard Tyson Ward out of Tampa Bay, Florida.
Oral Roberts coach Paul Mills always has his team ready to go in March, and is leading a program that has had a good history in the Summit with sven conference championships under their belt and a program that has made noise in the NCAA tournament prior, including an Elite Eight appearance in 1974 versus the Kansas Jayhawks in which they lost in overtime.
Whatever team comes out and wins in this matchup I think has a very good chance of at least giving South Dakota State a run for their money in the second round- that is, of course, assuming the Jackrabbits get by No. 8 seed Western Illinois in the first round.
It should be a very interesting tournament to keep an eye on, but overall, but I think it’s South Dakota State’s turn yet again to join the field of 68 come Selection Sunday.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org