The Pioneers are starting to put together what is looking like their best season in quite some time. There is of course a lot of season left to play this season but this is a critical weekend for the Pioneers. Are they a top 3 team in the Summit League? A sweep this week goes a long way toward answering that question. Denver is close to a double-digit favorite tonight against South Dakota and will likely be a decent favorite Saturday against Omaha. This is a team that is playing with expectations for the first time in a long time. We will find out if they can handle those expectations. This is a home weekend that needs to be a home sweep for the Pioneers and if they find their way to it, I for one in confident in saying things are different this season in Denver.
South Dakota State
For what I think is the first time this season, we are starting to see some separation at the top of the Summit League. Since the return of Matt Mims, the Jackrabbits are starting to look like the team we expected. Thursday the Jackrabbits start the week as double-digit favorites against Kansas City. They finish on the road against Oral Roberts, which has one of the better home courts in the Summit. That said Oral Roberts is currently at the bottom of the Summit League Standings and if the Jacks are the cream of the Summit League crop, they need to win on the road against the bottom-dwelling Golden Eagles. Now would it be a shock if they lost in Tulsa, no. It would mean however that the battle at the top is going to be a tight one.
I want to say see Denver above. For the most part that is what I will say. If the Tommies are a top 3 team in the Summit, it’s important to show that at home against North Dakota State and North Dakota. That may be harder than it seems. Both of the North Dakota teams are coming in hot. We won’t see a repeat of the beatdown the Tommies put on North Dakota to start league play but they should be able to get both on the road.
North Dakota Schools
Both come in hot and looking like maybe they are turning the corner. The tough part about that is each only has one game this week and it is at St. Thomas who is at the top of the league. Yet a loss in your only game this week flushes all those positive vibes. Both will be underdogs coming into the game and probably should be. So the only groups being asked in this article not to take care of business are North Dakota State and North Dakota. I’ll say it again though, one game this week and wins in them are pivotal to the momentum for the squads going forward.