The Summit League sent five men’s basketball teams and four women’s basketball teams to postseason play this year. According to the league, that’s some kind of record. South Dakota State (NCAA D-I), Oral Roberts (NIT), Oakland (CollegeInsider.com), North Dakota State (College Basketball Invitational) and Western Illinois (College Basketball Invitational) all extended their seasons at least one more game.
On the women’s side, South Dakota State (NCAA D-I), South Dakota (WNIT), UMKC (WNIT) and Oral Roberts (WNIT) made it to postseason play.
How are we doing so far? The women haven’t played yet. On the men’s side, not so hot: 1-3 (South Dakota State hasn’t played yet).
On the men’s side, Oakland beat Bowling Green 86-69 in its opening round game of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. They’re up again on Saturday vs. Toledo at home. Should be a good crowd in Oakland for that one.
Oral Roberts, who were shellshocked to lose in the second round to Western Illinois, were still in a daze when they faced Nevada this week. They lost 68-59. Bye-bye, ORU. We won’t miss you.
How about our CBI teams? North Dakota State and Western Illinois? How’d they do? Not so hot. North Dakota State lost by a point, 76-75 to Wyoming and the Leathernecks got stomped by Oregon State, 80-59.
The conference tournament champions South Dakota State has a tough draw in the opening round of the Big Dance™, taking on Baylor on Thursday. Sorry, Jackalopes, but I don’t see you beating Baylor. Incidentally, there’s a Summit League connection in this game. Baylor is coached by former Valparaiso head coach Scott Drew. He was the middle Drew to coach Valpo between Homer and Bryce. When will they officially change their name to the Valpo Drews? I digress.
It’s good to see the Summit League getting a little postseason love this time of year. It’s only disappointing for my IUPUI Jaguars because Ron Hunter coached at least two or three teams that were deserving of postseason play and never got the chance. The takeaway is, moving forward, the Jags will have plenty of opportunities to showcase their talents in the coming years. Of course, they’re going to need to have a significantly better season than they did this year. The Summit League is not and probably never will be a two-bid conference for the Big Dance. But that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve more looks for NIT.
Any conference team hoping to extend their season into mid-March is going to have to do a few things:
* Post a winning record
* Challenge for the regular season championship
* Advance to the conference championship game
You can already put it in cement that South Dakota State and Oakland will be odds-on favorites to make it to a postseason tournament. Western Illinois, North Dakota State, IUPUI, IPFW and South Dakota will have to step up their games to prove they can challenge those top two teams to have a chance.
Here’s to the future.