With just 14 games on the Summit League schedule this season, taking care of business at home is as important as ever for conference teams.

For the South Dakota men's basketball team that means trying to maximize a gift from the schedulers - three straight games at home to start league play.

With one win already under their belts, the Coyotes (13-4/1-0 Summit League) host Western Illinois tonight (January 3).

The Leathernecks (8-4) are trying to replace all-conference players Garret Covington and Mike Miklusak, who averaged 37 points a game between them last season. Miklusak was also the second-best rebounder in the league in 2017.

Offensively, Western Illinois is getting more balance this season, with senior Dalan Ancrum doubling his scoring average from last season, scoring 16 points per game. Freshman guard Kobe Webster has emerged on the scene to average 15 points a game, and dish out a league-leading five assists per game.

Inside, junior center Brandon Gilbeck leads the league in blocked shots and is second in rebounding.

The Leathernecks have been the most accurate shooting team in the conference so far this season, hitting 50 percent from the floor, topping 54 percent in seven of their 12 games.

Tipoff is 7:00 PM, tonight in Vermillion.

Saturday (January 6), the Coyotes three-game home stand to start conference play ends when they host North Dakota State.

The Bison (8-6) are trying to replace three of their top five scorers from last season, but return their top offensive weapon - guard Paul Miller. The junior is averaging 16 points a game.

Sophomore Tyson Ward is picking up some of the scoring slack with 11 points per game. Senior guard AJ Jacobson is scoring nine points a game.

The Bison were the stingiest Summit League team on defense in non-conference play, limiting opponents to 66 points a game and just 29 percent from behind the three-point line.

Tipoff is 1:00 PM, Saturday in Vermillion.

South Dakota opened Summit League play with an 82-71 win over Denver, Saturday (December 30). 

The Coyotes broke open a close game with a 12-0 in the first half and extended their lead with an 11-3 run in the second half.

Matt Mooney's 20 points led four players in double figures. Tristan Simpson added 17.

Mooney was also responsible for six of USD's ten steals on defense.

Five different Coyote players had five or more rebounds.

I talked with Coyotes head coach Craig Smith about the Denver win and the match-ups with Western Illinois and North Dakota State: