Welcome to the first edition of the 2021-22 Reaching the Summit Power Rankings. If you are unfamiliar with the power rankings let’s explain how they work. The group of fans, website writers and podcast hosts rank the Summit League teams 1-10. The votes are tallied and the teams ranked accordingly. The preseason power rankings are based on how voters feel teams will finish the season. Once the season starts the weekly rankings aren’t necessarily a ranking on how teams will finish but a ranking to where they are at during that particular point in the season. So enough explanation, where does your team fall in the rankings?
- South Dakota State: 109 points, (5) first-place votes. The Jackrabbits received the most 1st place votes in a tightly contested top 3. The Jackrabbits return all their meaningful contributors from last year’s regular-season championship team.
2. North Dakota State: 108 (3). Just like South Dakota State, the Bison return all meaningful contributors from last years team that finished 3rd last year. Even though the Bison received the least 1st place votes of the top 3 they were most consistently in the top 2.
3. Oral Roberts: 104 (4). Fresh off their cinderella run in the NCAA Tournament. Voters pick the Golden Eagles 3rd in the initial power rankings. The Golden Eagles return one of the best players in college basketball in Max Abmas but voters are hesitant after the loss of Kevin Obanor.
4. Kansas City: 78. The Roos finished 6th in their first season back in the Summit League and lost all-league player Brandon McKissic. However, there are several intriguing transfers and the Roos return several starters leading to voter confidence in them this season.
5. Western Illinois: 71. It’s been a bit since the Leathernecks were thought of as a middle of that pack Summit League team. This shows the faith Summit League fans have in what Coach Rob Jeter is building in Macomb. Most of the Leathernecks top 7 return along with a couple of transfers.
6. South Dakota: 61. Quite the drop for last year’s 2nd place Coyotes. The Coyotes had their breakthrough season last year for Coach Todd Lee and its possible they are being underestimated. It seems clear voters are concerned with the loss of Stanley Umude (transfer) and AJ Plitzuweit (injury).
7. North Dakota: 44. Last year North Dakota finished 5th and drops in the early rankings. The Fighting Hawks lost several contributors and they were replaced by relative unknowns. However, Coach Paul Sather consistently has his teams fighting and competing in the Summit.
8. Omaha: 42. This is where the Mavericks finished last season. The Mavericks took some losses in Matt Pile and Ayo Akinwole, but they also added a couple of power 5 transfers in Isaiah Poor Bear Chandler (Wichita State) and Akol Arop (Nebraska).
9. St. Thomas: 25. The Tommies join the Summit League this season. Becoming the first team ever to make the Jump from division 3 to division 1. The Tommies were one of the best division 3 basketball programs and voters are confident that means they will at least not be a lock for the cellar in their first season.
10. Denver: 20. The Pioneers start the Jeff Wulbrun era as Wulbrun takes the reigns of the program from Rodney Billups. The Pioneers won only one game in the Summit League last year and like most teams with a coaching change have major roster changes. The coaching staff is encouraged by the prospects of their new additions and feel that they have a foundation to better things in Denver.