Summit League Preview: Jackrabbit Men Host Omaha, at Denver
With one game to play in the first half of the 2016 Summit League men's basketball schedule, South Dakota State has an opportunity to move into a tie for the top spot.
The Jackrabbits (16-5/5-2) close out the first half at home with first place Omaha. The Mavericks (14-7/6-1) currently own a one-game advantage on SDSU, Fort Wayne, and IUPUI.
UNO and Fort Wayne lead the league offensively, scoring 83 points per game. The up-tempo Mavericks have two of the top four scorers in the conference on their roster (Devin Paterson, Jake White) and are the most accurate shooting team (49%) in the Summit.
Their fast-paced style does leave them vulnerable in two areas - rebounding and defense. Omaha is near the bottom on the boards and is seventh in points allowed.
A slower tempo favors South Dakota State, who scores 10 points per game less and comes in as the poorest shooting team in the conference.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM in Brookings Thursday.
The second half of the Summit League slate starts Saturday in Denver.
The Pioneers (10-10/2-5) are the most deliberate offensive team in the conference, scoring the fewest points in the Summit and attempting the fewest shots per game. Freshman guard Joe Rosga leads them in scoring, averaging 14 points per game.
South Dakota State won the first meeting 68-59 earlier this month, despite getting out shot 56 percent to 40 percent by the Pioneers. The margin of victory came from four additional SDSU three-pointers and five more made free throws.
Four Jackrabbits scored in double figures. SDSU won the battle of the boards 29-22, pulling down 12 offensive rebounds.
Tipoff is 3:00 PM in Denver Saturday.
In Tulsa, Jake Bittle returned to the starting lineup after missing seven games with an injury, and he helped spark a defensive effort that held ORU to 36 percent shooting in the first half. George Marshall led the scoring with 18 points.
In Vermillion, the Jackrabbits were down double digits in the first half before Marshall sparked a run just before halftime that continued into the second half. Redshirt freshman Mike Daum led the SDSU scorers with 23 points. His 38 points and 18 rebounds in two games earned him Summit League Player of the Week honors.
I talked with Jackrabbits head coach Scott Nagy about last week's road wins and this week's games with Omaha and Denver: