Men’s Summit League Tournament Preview: South Dakota State vs. IUPUI
Sometimes, seeding positions in post season tournaments can be misleading. But, when top seeded South Dakota State takes the floor tonight in Sioux Falls against number eight IUPUI in the opening round of the Summit League Men's Tournament, there will be no doubt why these two teams are seeded where they are.
The Jackrabbits (13-3) are the Summit League Co-Champions (with Western Illinois) for the first time in school history, and they have the top player in the conference on their roster.
Senior guard Nate Wolters is playing in his final Summit League Tournament, after being named conference Player of the Year this week. Wolters was co-scoring champ (with Oakland's Travis Bader) this season with 383 points. He was fourth in the nation with 24 points per game, second in the Summit League in assists and steals, third in three-pointers made, and sixth in free throw shooting. He appears to be fully recovered from a nasty fall two weeks ago at Murray State, that left him with a badly bruised hip.
Wolters gets a lot of help from Jordan Dykstra, who averaged close to a double-double this season (12 points/9 rebounds per game). The outside shooting of Chad White and Tony Fiegen have led SDSU to the second best scoring offense in the Summit League (77 points per game).
The Jacks rank in the top 20 nationally in fewest turnovers (9th), three-point shooting accuracy (15th), and free throws made (19th).
IUPUI has had a miserable end to the 2012-13 season. The Jaguars are in the midst of a 15 game losing streak, keyed by the January dismissal of their top scorer, John Hart (a transfer from Purdue), for eligibility issues.
Without him, the Jaguars have struggled offensively, seventh in points per game (63), last in free throw shooting (63%), and seventh in turnovers per game. IUPUI is also the worst rebounding team in the Summit League, with a minus-nine per game deficit on the boards this season.
Mitchell Patton in the only IUPUI player to crack double figures in a game against SDSU this season, hitting for 17, January 19th. He was held to four when the two teams met three weeks later.
Dykstra has done the most damage against the Jags this season, scoring 25 and pulling down 21 rebounds in 15-point and a 37-point wins for South Dakota State.
The Jackrabbits have won the last six against IUPUI. Tipoff is tonight at 6:00. The Winner gets the Oakland - Fort Wayne winner in Monday's semifinals.