A Second Crown

NDSU claimed a second Summit League men’s basketball crown in six years on Thursday night as the Bison defeated South Dakota 82-54 and in the process fulfilled one of its major preseason goals. The glamour comes in March with the postseason tournament, but to win the conference crown illustrates who the best team was during the regular season. The Bison now have locked up the top seed for the tournament and won’t play till 6pm on March 10th against the winner of the 4/5 matchup. They also have the automatic bid to the NIT cinched up, which to most that read the blog seems like small potatoes, but it is a really big deal as well, with each game being televised on ESPN.

Taylor Braun and NDSU captured a second Summit League Championship on Thursday night.

Winning two conference crowns in the last six years may not sound all that impressive, but when stacked up against other mid-major schools NDSU fits in with some impressive company.

Conference Titles Won By Mid-Major Schools Since 2009:

  • 3: Butler (2009, 2010 and 2011)
  • 3: Stephen F. Austin (2009, 2013 and 2014)
  • 2: Oakland (2010 and 2011)
  • 2: Creighton (2009 and 2013)
  • 2: Weber State (2009 and 2010)
  • 2: Montana   (2012 and 2013)
  • 2: Valparaiso (2012 and 2013)
  • 2: NDSU   (2009 and 2013)
Ironic to see Stephen F. Austin on this list, that’s the team that Ben Woodside had the game of his life against, scoring 60 points, it appears the Lumberjacks are heading back to the NCAAs this year, they clinched the Southland title on Thursday night. There’s one glaring stat attached to the Summit schools on this list compared to the others, and that’s NCAA Tourney success, obviously Butler has had some, Creighton and Valpo have, even the Big Sky schools to some extent. We’ll see if NDSU can take the next step and join a “higher” class of mid-major if they reach the NCAA Tournament, but for tonight, it’s time to understand that NDSU isn’t just a football school anymore.

31 thoughts on “A Second Crown

  1. Tonight is why with basketball you don’t get all that worked up when you have 1 or 2 loses and need to wait til the season ends but yet it means nothing unless they win the next 3 games. These guys will make the big dance and if they can get a 12 seed will win 1 maybe 2 games because they are playing to their potential at the right time. Saul knew that at the beginning of the season this team is special and the hopefully the Saul bashing will end at the dance. It won’t matter because he won’t be around to bash anymore because some other school will realize how special he is.

  2. First, congratulations to Bison on the regular season crown, that is a great accomplishment and that opening conf loss to IPFW seems like a long time ago. Now the real work begins, sorry to say, not winning the Summit Tourney would be a let down. I love Coach Phillips and think he is good for NDSU, but I’m surprised that so many people think he is leaving when I don’t think he has accomplished all that much. Why would Saul be offered a job before the SDSU coach who has done more? Yea SDSU was carried by one hell of a player, but they are still the team to beat in their home State in the Tourney. Also, is Denver satisfied with the Summit League? They moved to 3 different Conferences in 3 years, I hope they have found a home in the Summit, especially with Oral Roberts coming back thankfully. They were a great rival in basketball and baseball and it is great seeing them back.

    • Saul hasn’t done much??? He’s recruited kids to a FB first school that has a dump for a BB arena and might be leading them to the Dance for the second time in 6 years. I’d say that’s doing pretty good for a mid-major.

      SDSU is not the team to beat this season. Sorry but they are not the same team as the last 2 years. Wolters graduated, get over it! The Bison swept them this season and will win again if they meet in the tourney.

      • I agree with you about Saul, he has done a great job of recruiting to a football school and the basketball plays in a dump. It will be fun to watch what Saul can do with a new facility if he stays. One more thing, both Saul and Nagy have had schools talk to them but neither coach thought those job opportunities were as good as the jobs they have at NDSU and SDSU.

        • Way Dom and Kolpack talk though, Saul’s done at NDSU if they Dance. I kinda wonder if the same might happen with Nagy at SDSU if the Jacks win it.

          • Reality you could be right either guy could go if the right job comes along. You hate to see coaches leave but that is how it works unless you are the real Big Time schools but even they lose coaches sometimes.

  3. “not just a football school”??? You get paid to cheer lead like this?

    Winning two Summit titles in 6 years is nothing like winning multiple MVC titles. There are no patsies in the MVC.

    Let’s start another poll so we can all feel good. Call it the Lower Mid-Major Poll and all the teams of the former NCC can be at the top and everyone can be so happy about it. Oh, joy.

  4. Congrats on winning the Summit Championship for the regular season. Another successful athletic program for NDSU. The indoor track teams have a good shot at a conference championship also.

  5. Once again. NDSU has won 4 conference titles in 30 plus years, 2 of them by Saul Phillips. FIRE THE MAN!

    O and no pasties in the MVFC? did you watch the Indiana St game? they would have struggled with concordia.

    Lastly NDSU has top 5 facilities / atttendance in FCS. They arguably have the worst arena in the Summit League for basketball.

  6. Why is Darrel or HAYDUKE allowed to post in here none stop under big time name? Yet most NDSU fans can’t get their posts by moderation? And why did ch 6 lead off with class b regional over NDSU clinch? And last week ch6 had hockey and HS hockey before NDSU basketball ? Clean this up dom!

    • My comments are the truth…and if you have trouble handling the truth then it’s your own problem.

  7. I would think that top 5 is pretty accurate. For sure top 10 facility. Montana is probably the only place in the Big Sky that is as good or better, and then maybe a couple CAA schools (James Madison).

    • If you think the Fargo Dome is a top five FCS stadium you really have had no exposure to outside the Big Sky and MVFC. Even programs like Alabama State, Alabama A &M, and Appalachian State have way nicer football facilities.

  8. Great season, great accomplishment. But “not just a football school”? I get some of the media cheerleading (this team deserves it), but until I see Bison fans taking over Sioux Falls with even HALF the enthusiasm and fervor of football, that statement’s far from true. The turnout last year (even aside from the SDSU game where it was understandably hampered) was pathetic. With a team that’s had high expectations and is the favorite to win the title, 3,000 in Sioux Falls shouldn’t be that much to ask. I realize we could run into the Jacks and they’ll buy up tickets. That said, again, if it were football, people would be selling a kidney to get a ticket.

    • SDSU fans bought most of the tickets before last year’s tournament even was over.

      I’ll be happy if NDSU has 1k fans there. That would easily double what was there last year.

      • Lets say we don’t run into the Jacks (very possible), what’s the attendance going to be then if we’re in the final against, for example, Fort Wayne?

        I realize the Jacks buy up the tickets. But last year there wasn’t that much enthusiasm for the team either. The expectation was that SDSU would win it a year ago so maybe that was a reason many didn’t try.

        But this was coming into the year NDSU’s year. They’ve won the regular season title. Even after last year’s title game loss I remember hearing Saul, in effect, calling out the fans and saying something like “they don’t sell these tickets in secret”. Other than the fact tailgates are an option in football (though I bet we could do it in hoops too, I can’t see the parking lot people in Sioux Falls caring), I don’t get how we are so willing to treat an FCS Title game (or if we ever go low level FBS some tiny bowl game) that’s far more expensive to reach like the Super Bowl yet make it so hard to take a 3 hour drive to Sioux Falls for a chance to cheer our team into a sporting event that falls just short of the Super Bowl in national popularity.

      • And NDSU fans that want to be seen buy all the tickets to Frisco. What’s your point?

    • I think people are making too big of a deal about Dom’s statement. He didn’t say basketball is more popular than football, he simply said NDSU is not JUST a football school, meaning that it has other programs capable of garnering national attention.

  9. Yes this is football school but MVFC the strongest? What evidence is there the FCS selection commitee did not seem to think so. Don’t get me wrong Bison are the cream of the division but just because we are in the MV doesn’t make it the best.
    Overall basketball program at NDSU really hasn’t been that good over the years until they made the move to D1. Tim Miles changed that and Saul has been able to keep the winning going. It is easy to criticize because you may not like style of BB but back to back 20 win seasons is not that easy to do and that is why other schools might be looking.

    • Missouri Valley had strongest GPI all season long thanks to the success of NDSU, SDSU and UNI, but as we have seen in the past, the Valley has beaten each other up during the regular season, preventing the conference from getting further at-large bids. I was on record saying Northern Iowa deserved a bid over a Jacksonville State, Bethune Cookman or Tennessee State and still would contend that to this day. But to your point, the MVFC has not helped itself in the playoffs besides NDSU, SDSU has won a game in each of the last two playoffs, but hasn’t been able to advance beyond the 2nd round. The conference needs two teams in the quarters, maybe even semis like the CAA got this past season for it truly to be considered a top notch league without peer.

  10. I am a Bison alum who supports both football and basketball. However I can’t get as excited about BB because we don’t have any chance to go anywhere in the post season. Yes we could get an invite to the big dance but no change to go past the fist or maybe the second game. We are a mid major and it would be very nice if there would be a mid major tourney like the FCS. In that case we could win a national title!

  11. Colo Bizon I agree there would be more interest if there was a better chance for a championship to play for. The NIT would be that tournament but everyone wants NCAA because of the money even though Zero chance to win it. If a Mid major were to win the NIT would be a big deal since it has bubble teams from the major conferences in it that didn’t make the dance. It would provide the same excitement as playoff FB because of the chance to host a game and be on ESPN. The NIT is a good fit for the mid majors, problem is attendance tend to have smaller arenas but Fargo could put it in the FargoDome a to increase the size and have the playoff atmosphere. No doubt that Fargo would be a great host.

    • Since the D-I move Softball, Volleyball, Baseball and Soccer have all done very well. Go Bison!

  12. Great win tonight Bison. Fun game to send off all of the seniors on statewide TV. The Summit conference championship trophy was won by the Bison now take care of the Summit tournament for a berth in the NCAA tournament.