Men’s Basketball Previews: SDSU at Omaha, USD at IUPUI
We've reached the final weekend of the Summit League men's basketball schedule, and there is still some unfinished business for South Dakota State and South Dakota.
The Jackrabbits, who already own the #1 seed in next week's Summit League Tournament, close out the regular season tonight in Omaha, knowing a win over the Mavericks secures at least a share of the regular season championship.
The Jackrabbits have lost their last two games, both non-conference matchups, to Cal State-Bakersfield and Murray State. SDSU guard Nate Wolters was hampered in the second half of that loss at Murray State, last Saturday, after taking a hard fall on his back in the first half. We'll see if there are any lasting effects when he starts in Omaha tonight.
Despite the injury, Wolters secured a record third straight Summit League Player of the Week honor for his play last week, 57 points, 16 assists, and 16 rebounds in two games.
South Dakota State (12-3) has been a much different team away from Brookings this season. The Jacks have dropped their last three on the road, and are just 6-9 outside of Frost Arena.
SDSU has the second best offense in the league (75 points per game), the third best defense (allowing 63 points per game), and the top rebounding squad (34 per game).
Omaha is third in offense (75 points per game), but dead last in defense (allowing 83 points per game). The Mavs also struggle taking care of the ball, averaging 14 turnovers a game (8th in the league).
UNO has two players in the top seven in Summit League scoring, Justin Simmons with 19 points per game, and John Karhoff with 13.
In the first meeting between these two, Karhoff was on (7-for-9, 16 points), while Simmons was off (3-for-10, 10 points). Wolters also struggled shooting for the Jacks, going 5-for-16 for 13 points, but he did contribute five assists and three steals. Jordan Dykstra (17 points) and Tony Fiegen (16 points) picked up the scoring slack, shooting a combined 15-for-20, as SDSU opened the game shooting 56 percent in the first half, en route to a 78-63 win.
Tipoff in Omaha is 7:00pm.
In Indianapolis, South Dakota will be trying to do something they have done all year: win back-to-back games, as the Coyotes play at last place IUPUI.
USD (4-10) is coming off a non-conference victory over Montana State, Saturday, but has lost six straight Summit League games, eight of the last nine, to head into the final weekend tied for sixth in the standings.
Rebounding and defense have been trouble spots for the Coyotes this season. USD has consistently come up short on the boards, especially on the defensive end, this season, while forcing the fewest number of turnovers in the league.
Senior guard Juevol Myles has really been struggling as of late for the Coyotes. The team's leading scorer (16 points per game) is just 15-for-55 (27%) for an average of 12 points per game in the last five USD conference games.
IUPUI (1-13) is the only team having a tougher time in conference play lately. The Jaguars haven't won a Summit League game since December, dropping their last 11 in league play, 13 straight overall.
The Jags score just 64 points a game while giving up 79. They are dead last in field goal shooting (44%), free throw shooting (64%), rebounding (26 per game), and field goal percentage allowed (52%).
In the first meeting in December, the Coyotes won 88-68 thanks to red hot first half shooting from Myles (7-for-7, 19 points), who finished with 26 points. As a team, USD shot 68 percent in the first half against the Jags, and led by as many as 23. South Dakota dominated the boards that night 42-27.
Tipoff in Indianapolis is 6:30pm.