North Dakota State enters the final two weeks of conference play leading the Summit League standings by just a half game over South Dakota, with a game in hand on the Coyotes. The schedule certainly benefits USD over this last stretch with the Bison having to play three of their last four on the road.
Here’s what the rest of the season looks like for the contenders:
- NDSU (9-3): Wednesday at Fort Wayne, February 18th vs Western Illinois, February 22nd at Oral Roberts, February 25th at Omaha.
- South Dakota (9-4): February 18th vs Oral Roberts, February 23rd at Western Illinois, February 25th at IUPUI.
- Denver (7-5): Tuesday at Western Illinois, February 19th vs IUPUI, February 22nd vs Omaha, February 25th at SDSU.
- Fort Wayne (6-6): Wednesday vs NDSU, February 18th vs SDSU, February 23rd at IUPUI, February 25th at Western Illinois.
If the season ended today, this would be the men’s tournament pairings:
- (1) NDSU vs (8) SDSU
- (2) South Dakota vs (7) Western Illinois
- (3) Denver vs (6) IUPUI
- (4) Fort Wayne vs (5) Omaha
NDSU is in good position to make something special happen over the next couple of weeks. The schedule isn’t easy, the Coyotes could easily win all three games, and post a 12-4 record. NDSU would then need to win three of its last four to finish 12-4, after the two teams split, then it goes to best record against the team next highest in the standings.
The biggest test for the Bison is on Wednesday against Fort Wayne, a Mastodons team that beat Indiana earlier in the year, but still hasn’t found a ton of consistency. This game to me is the key of this stretch, but the road trips to Tulsa and Omaha are no piece of cake either. It’s going to be a fun ride to the end and Sioux Falls.