The Summit League Tournament begins on Saturday at the new Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, plenty of anticipation about getting a look at the new building. Jeff and Jody Norstedt will be heading down for coverage over the weekend. Here’s a look at the brackets, let’s start with the men:
NDSU will play Denver on Saturday night around 8:30. The Bison swept the Pioneers this season, but both were overtime wins, 61-54 in Fargo (that was the game where NDSU had just 16 points at halftime) and 73-69 in Denver (that was the game where Brett Olson hit a half court shot at the buzzer to force overtime). I’m not sure this the best matchup for NDSU, the Pioneers have given them a hard time this season and head coach Dave Richman told me this matchup is difficult just because of the offense and style Denver runs. The Bison will need to put Thursday’s beatdown from Oral Roberts in the rearview mirror quickly. A win on Saturday would be huge, considering the extra day off for the semifinals, no team since NDSU has entered the league has won the tournament playing three straight days.
As for the rest of the field, SDSU should get by Western Illinois, but could face a tough Fort Wayne team in the semis, the Mastodons get USD on Sunday. In NDSU’s bracket, the Bison could see Oral Roberts again if they advance, the Golden Eagles matchup with IUPUI in the late game on Sunday night. ORU eliminated NDSU from the Summit League tourney in back to back years in 2010 and 2011.
On the women’s side, NDSU enters as the six seed and will try to end a five year drought at the tournament on Sunday. The Bison have not won a game in Sioux Falls since 2009, the longest drought in the conference. NDSU faces off with Oral Roberts on Sunday at 2:30, the Bison split with the Golden Eagles, winning in Fargo in January, before losing big in Tulsa in the middle of February. ORU is led by 6’7 Vicky McIntyre (who by the way used the grad transfer rule that Vernon Adams just used at EWU; McIntyre graduated from Florida) and had 13 points and 18 rebounds against NDSU three weeks ago.
South Dakota is the defending tourney champ and the top seed, and I may be crazy for saying it, the favorite. The Coyotes have shown all year they’re tough and not intimidated by SDSU, I think it’s the Jacks and Coyotes who will be playing next Tuesday afternoon for the dance and it has the potential of another great game.
Much more on the tournament as the week continues, I’m heading to Minot for the Girls State B Tournament, but Jeff and Jody will have you covered!