This is just one man’s opinion on what happens over the next 4 days. So your team’s Reaching the Summit writer had no say in these predictions. Much of these predictions come off of gut feelings and such, so don’t put much stock in it.
1 South Dakota State Vs 8 Omaha
South Dakota State won 95-86 at Omaha
South Dakota State won 82-61 at home
In any other first-round matchup I see the path to the underdog winning. I just don’t see it here. Even a couple of years ago when 8 seed Western Illinois shocked the Jackrabbits, the path was there. Western Illinois had some great offensive skill players and a great rim protector. What’s the path for Omaha? Removal of the shot clock? I think this will be lower soring than many think, it would seem to make sense that Omaha slow it down, but ultimately South Dakota State moves on.
Final Score: South Dakota State 81 Omaha 65
2 North Dakota State vs 7 Denver
North Dakota State won 87-69 at Denver
North Dakota State won 73-65 at home
The Bison are fully healthy and at full strength playing fantastic basketball. 10-2 in their last 12 the Bison as usual are playing their best basketball as the Summit League tournament rolls around. Denver has a nice young core and has made some clear strides this season. However, they will need a performance no one is expecting to pull off this upset. Something like sharpshooting freshmen Coban Porter pouring in 30+ points. I see this game looking a lot more like the second matchup but ultimately the Bison move on.
Final Score: North Dakota State 71 Denver 67
3 Oral Roberts vs 6 Western Illinois
Oral Roberts won 87-86 at Western Illinois
Western Illinois won 90-85 at Oral Roberts
If you are looking for offensive fireworks this will be a game for you. Western Illinois is one of the most baffling teams in the league. They looked like one of the top teams in the league in the non-conference and also looked like the 6th best team most of the conference season. Oral Roberts had similar inconsistent moments but also was overall more consistent. Any game with Max Abmas on one side and Trenton Massner on the other is worth the price of admission. Here’s where the first real bold prediction of the article comes. Whoever wins this game is playing on Tuesday. Sorry North Dakota State fans. If it’s ORU for no objective reason other than I think there will be another magical run I think they win the tournament. The prediction for this one though? The Leathernecks move on. Leathernecks jump out first half and hang on
Final Score: Western Illinois 88 Oral Roberts 81
4 Kansas City vs 5 South Dakota
Kansas City won 68-57 at South Dakota
Kansas City won 72-63 at home
Two great defensive teams that have suddenly become much better offensively. The Roos with Josiah Allick returning and the Coyotes with the growth of Mason Archambault and Kruz Perrot-Hunt along with the return of Xavier Fuller. This is kind of one of those muddy it up games it seems. With it being that type of game I see the team that is most comfortable in that type of game coming out on top. The added offensive firepower I think just puts the Roos over the top, even in what is likely to be a pro-South Dakota environment.
Final Score: Kansas City 68 South Dakota 61
1 South Dakota State vs 4 Kansas City
South Dakota State won 89-57 at home
South Dakota State won 86-75 at Kansas City
Kansas City is playing so much better basketball than they were at the beginning of the year. They are so much more dangerous than they were earlier in the year. The Roos also defend at an incredibly high level. Here’s the problem, is South Dakota State the kryptonite. The Jackrabbits are so efficient that they are one of the few Summit League teams that can completely neutralize the Kansas City defensive advantage. Look no further than the last game of the regular season where the Roos battled but just didn’t have enough.
Final score: South Dakota State 80 Kansas City 75
2 North Dakota State 6 Western Illinois
Western Illinois won 90-79 at North Dakota State
North Dakota State won 84-81 at Western Illinois.
So I will amend a previous statement. North Dakota State prefers Oral Roberts wins in round 1. I think they match up better with the Golden Eagles, and if Oral Roberts is the opponent here. Nothing like hedging my bets for later told you so’s, I have said ORU will lose round 1 win the whole thing if they win rd 1 and lose here. Can take any of those snippets for an I told you so. This is the matchup that the Bison do not want to see. Western Illinois is the least consistent team in the Summit League this year. Some incredible highs and lows. However the rare team with the size and firepower to match really well with the Bison. Betting money will and should be on the Bison here but does a Leatherneck team that pulled off the upset in rd 1 use that confidence for rd 2. This guy thinks so. Standing in their way would be a Bison team that’s built for this season, so easily could be proven wrong
Final score: Western Illinois 80 North Dakota State 79
1 South Dakota State vs 6 Western Illinois
South Dakota State won 93-75 at home
South Dakota State won 91-66 at Western Illinois
In the above matchup, I talked about the Leathernecks being the matchup North Dakota State did not want to see. Exact opposite here. The Jackrabbits and especially their fans would be very pleased with this matchup. In a one-game scenario, anything can happen, so nobody would be taken lightly but the Jacks had all sorts of trouble with the Bison and not so much with the Leathernecks. This is where the Western Illinois dream run ends. The combination of the Jacks high powered, efficient offense with the Leathernecks’ baffling ole defense spells trouble for Western Illinois. Where the Leathernecks’ own high-powered offense and length spell trouble for North Dakota State, The Jacks will patiently slice holes in the Leatherneck defense. After a competitive first half things go the Jackrabbits’ way.
Final Score: South Dakota State 94 Western Illinois 80