Jacks look primed for the top seed
College basketball in March is finally upon us. The only thing better is college basketball in late March.
The men’s Summit League basketball tournament begins in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in less than two weeks. The winner of which will get an automatic bid to the big dance. With just a week left of play, there is still a lot to be decided as far as seeding goes before the tournament begins. For starters, the top seed in the tournament is still up for grabs.
The South Dakota State Jackrabbits only lost twice in January and February, so they sit atop the standings as of now. However, the Omaha Mavericks have won six in a row and sit just a half-game back of the bunnies.
What makes the final week so juicy is Omaha actually has a chance to catch SDSU in the standings, regardless if SDSU wins their final game of the year against Western Illinois. A win would give the Rabbits a 14-2 conference record, while a loss would drop them to 13-3.
The key is Omaha plays two games in the next week instead of one. Wins against Oral Roberts and the cellar-dwelling Denver Pioneers coupled with a Jackrabbits’ loss and the Mavericks’ will win the regular season title outright. However, things don’t get much clearer throughout the rest of the Summit League standings.
If North Dakota State and Purdue Fort Wayne both win Thursday, it would mean the matchup between the two Saturday will be for the No. 3 seed going into the tournament. The ‘Dons hold the tiebreaker at the moment over the Bison.
The advantage of the No. 3 seed is getting put on the other side of the bracket of the Jacks, which will be important as the Denny Sanford Premier Center would be a home court for the Jacks.
Oral Roberts, North Dakota, South Dakota and Western Illinois are all within two games of each other. The lack of separation between the teams just shows how competitive the tournament will be. It took a half-court buzz-beater for the Rabbits to beat NDSU a couple weeks ago.
A few weeks prior, SDSU lost by 16 to Purdue Fort Wayne. This just serves as a reminder that seeds can often be thrown out the window come tournament time. It all comes down to which team is playing their best basketball at the right time.
Needless to say, winning the Summit League tournament won’t come easily. But that will just make it all sweeter for the team that survives and advances to the big dance.