THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
Wednesday, Nov. 27
Fort Wayne at Eastern Illinois 8 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 28
+ IUPUI vs. Gardner-Webb 2:30 p.m.
^ Denver vs. Harvard Midnight (CBS Sports Net)
Friday, Nov. 29
Fort Wayne at Illinois 8 p.m. (ESPN3)
South Dakota State at UC Santa Barbara 10 p.m.
& North Dakota State at Santa Clara 11 p.m.
^ Denver vs. Pepperdine/Green Bay TBA
+ IUPUI vs. Chattanooga/Morehead State TBA
Saturday, Nov. 30
Iowa Wesleyan at Omaha 2 p.m.
Greenville at Western Illinois 8 p.m.
Graceland (Iowa) at South Dakota 8 p.m.
& North Dakota State vs. Rider/Rice 9/11 p.m.
^ Denver vs. TCU/Tulsa/Indiana St./Ak.-Anchorage TBA
Sunday, Dec. 1
South Dakota State at Stanford 8 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
Monday, Dec. 2
Valley City State at North Dakota State 8 p.m.
Iowa Wesleyan at South Dakota 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 3
Fort Wayne at Miami (Ohio) 7 p.m.
Waldorf at Omaha 8 p.m.
Southern at Denver 9 p.m.
All times Eastern
+Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational (Las Vegas)
^ Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout (Anchorage, Ak.)
& 47th Annual Cable Car Classic (Santa Clara, Calif.)
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
Wednesday, Nov. 20
North Dakota State 83, Western Michigan 74
Fort Wayne 106, Purdue-Calumet 72
Thursday, Nov. 21
Texas Tech 68, South Dakota State 54
Western Illinois 79, Eureka 52
Friday, Nov. 22
+ Northwestern 63, IUPUI 61
Wyoming 70, South Dakota 53
Saturday, Nov. 23
Drake 88, Omaha 80
Sunday, Nov. 24
Fort Wayne 76, Kennesaw State 66
North Dakota 95, North Dakota State 77
Monday, Nov. 25
+ Missouri 78, IUPUI 64
Omaha 83, South Carolina State 67
South Dakota 57, Texas State 56
& South Dakota State 77, Howard 65
Tuesday, Nov. 26
& South Dakota State 74, Lehigh 61
Southeastern Louisiana 62, Western Illinois 52
+ Continental Tire Invitational
& Legends Classic (Brookings, S.D)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Taylor Braun (F), North Dakota State
22.7 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.7 rpg, 3.0 spg, .806 FT%
Nov. 11 CJ Carter, G Omaha / Mitch Patton, C IUPUI
Nov. 18 Luis Jacobo, F Fort Wayne
Nov. 25 Taylor Braun, F North Dakota State
THE SUMMIT LEAGUE BY THE NUMBERS
.558 | Winning percentage vs. traditional Mid-Major teams '10-11 to present
2 | Number of top-10 teams in the Mid-Major Top 25 preseason poll, a first in league history
2/3 | Current players on NBA rosters / Number of NBA Draft picks since 2008
6 | Average tournament attendance ranking among mid-majors each of the past two seasons
9 | Record number of former Summit Leaguers currently on NBA or D-League active rosters
19 | Final 2012-13 RPI ranking, marking the second consecutive top-20 finish (rpiratings.com)
6,544 | 2013 Men's Championship Game Attendance, highest since 1994
THE BEST KEPT SECRET IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL
The college basketball world's best kept secret the past few seasons, The Summit League has been flying "under the radar" when it comes to achievements that place it firmly among the most-discussed "Mid-Major" conferences ...
Both CollegeInsider.com's Mid-Major Top 25 and NBCSports.com's Mid-Major power rankings had high regard for The Summit League entering the season:
• North Dakota State's No. 6 preseason ranking was The Summit League's highest in 15 years of the Mid-Major Top 25 poll. With Denver at No. 9, the league was one of three with multiple top-10 teams.
• The preseason rankings for North Dakota State and Denver marked the first time multiple Summit League teams concurrently occupied top-10 positions in the Mid-Major Top 25 poll.
• Denver (No. 5) and North Dakota State (No. 7) made The Summit League one of two leagues with multiple top-10 teams in NBCSports.com's preseason Mid-Major Power Rankings.
> RPI GAINS
In a "snapshot" of the past five seasons (2009-13), The Summit League has made a +8 net gain in RPI rankings, placing 27-26-21-16-19 during that span. The league's RPI accomplishments include:
• The nation's 4th-best RPI ranking improvement (+4) since 2009-10
• Consecutive top-20 RPI finishes (2012 and 2013) for the first time
• Achieving multiple top-100 teams in consecutive years and in three of the past four seasons
> MEASURING UP AGAINST ITS PEERS
The Summit League has more than "held its own" against traditional mid-majors in recent history while compiling a(n):
• .572 winning percentage over the past three seasons (2011-13)
• League-record .500+ winning percentage in each of the past four seasons since 2009-10
• All-time best .620 clip during the 2011-12 campaign
> TOURNAMENT SUCCESS
The Summit League Basketball Championships continue to build a reputation as one of the nation's best mid-major tournament environments with highlights including:
• Nation's 2nd-highest increase (tie) in average tournament attendance ranking (+7) since 2010
• League records for total (m/w) attendance (44,868) and men's attendance (23,710) in 2013
• Ranked 12th of 31 conference tournaments for average attendance each of past two seasons
• 3rd among traditional mid-majors and 6th outside "power six" for average attendance in '12 & '13
• League's top-five total (m/w) attendance figures were achieved in the five seasons in Sioux Falls
• Playing league-record 6th consecutive tournament in Sioux Falls in 2013
• Moving into new 12,000-seat, $115 million Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls in '14
Selected in voting by coaches, SIDs and media
Rank School (1st-place votes) Pts.
1. North Dakota State (25) 305
2. Denver (3) 260
3. South Dakota State 233
4. Western Illinois 161
5. Omaha 130
6. Fort Wayne 120
7. South Dakota 102
8. IUPUI 81
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Taylor Braun, North Dakota State
Lawrence Alexander G North Dakota State
Marshall Bjorklund F North Dakota State
Taylor Braun G North Dakota State
Jordan Dykstra F South Dakota State
Justin Simmons G Omaha
Chris Udofia F Denver
Trevor Gruis C South Dakota
Luis Jacobo F Fort Wayne
Adam Link F Western Illinois
Brett Olson G Denver
Mitch Patton C IUPUI
Through the season's first three weeks (Nov. 8-26), nearly 20 percent (19.2 to be exact) of The Summit League's losses have been by one possession (three points or less), including three one-point defeats. Of 26 losses suffered this season, 17 (65.3 percent) are by 10 points or less and eight (30.7 percent) were decided by five or under.
The Summit League features two of the nation's top marksmen. North Dakota State's Marshall Bjorklund is the NCAA's active career leader (as of Nov. 25) with a .662 field goal percentage, .024 ahead of second-place. South Dakota State's Jordan Dykstra is third among active Division I players with a .448 career three-point percentage.
THE COMPANY THAT YOU KEEP ...
As of Nov. 25, North Dakota State's Marshall Bjorklund ranks seventh on the all-time NCAA Division I field goal percentage list. His 66.2 percent clip places him ahead of NCAA legends Bill Walton (65.1), Lew Alcindor (63.9) and Akeem Olajuwon (63.9).
Summit League players have collected a bevy of preseason accolades and mentions by various national outlets. A sampling includes:
• North Dakota State's Taylor Braun named third team Mid-Major All-American by NBC Sports
• Braun named to Lou Henson Award (nation's top mid-major player) Preseason All-America team
• Denver's Chris Udofia named the No. 6 under-the-radar performer by CBSSports.com
• Udofia selected as the Most Underrated Star in College Basketball by Bleacher Report
South Dakota State's Jordan Dykstra and Denver's Chris Udofia are part of 30 preseason candidates for the 2013-14 Men's Basketball Senior CLASS Award (seniorCLASSaward.com). The Summit League is one of nine leagues to have multiple representatives on the prestigious award list honoring senior student-athletes who have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. Ten finalists will be selected midway through the regular season.
MODEL OF EFFICIENCY
For the second straight year, The Summit League held the top spot in four statistical categories according to the KenPom.com rankings for league games. Below is a comparison of the 2012-13 KenPom ranks with the 2011-12 final statistics:
Efficiency 106.0 in '12-13 (107.3 in '11-12) 3P% 37.4 (37.9 in '11-12)
Effective FG% 53.1 (52.9 in '11-12) 2P% 51.5 (51.1 in '11-12)
IN THE ASSOCIATION
A record nine former Summit Leaguers are on NBA or D-League rosters this season, led by the 2008 and 2013 Summit League Players of the Year in the NBA. Former first round pick George Hill (IUPUI '08) is in his third season as a starter for the Indiana Pacers while 2013 second-rounder Nate Wolters (South Dakota State '13) started seven of his first nine games for the Milwaukee Bucks. When their teams played Nov. 15, both Hill and Wolters were in the starting lineup and it marked the first NBA meeting of Summit League draft picks since the 1992-93 season. In the D-League, former Fort Wayne standout Frank Gaines was selected with the first pick in the second round of the 2013 Draft and joins Damen Bell-Holter, Moses Ehambe, Reggie Hamilton, Ron Howard, Trey McKinney Jones and Larry Owens on active rosters.
THIS AND THAT
At 5'4", Denver guard Charles Webb is the shortest player in college basketball … Denver's Chris Udofia is the highest rated "low major" player on valueaddbasketball.com … Fort Wayne features the two heaviest players in The Summit League in Steve Forbes (295 lbs.) and Brent Calhoun (280 lbs.) … South Dakota State's Summit League-record 30-game home court win streak was the longest in the nation entering the season before being snapped by Montana on Nov. 14.
Denver's Chris Udofia, projected by some preseason publications as The Summit League Player of the Year, is bidding to become the first NCAA player to earn first team all-league selections in three different leagues in a three-year span. Udofia was a first team All-Sun Belt honoree as sophomore and added the same honor in the WAC last season.
Three current Summit League teams finished among the NCAA's top 10 scoring defenses in 2012-13. Western Illinois finished second at 53.6 points per game en route to a share of The Summit League's regular season crown. League newcomer Denver was sixth at 55.9 while North Dakota State was ninth at 56.1. The three teams combined to go 66-28 (.702) last season.
The Summit League sent an all-time high four teams to the postseason in each of the past two seasons. During that span, all four postseason tournaments (NCAA, NIT, CIT and CBI) have selected Summit League teams for participation.
North Dakota State is one of seven Division I schools to enter the season with two active 1,000-point scorers (Taylor Braun and Marshall Bjorklund). Three other Bison are within range of surpassing 1,000 career points this season. South Dakota State's Jordan Dykstra enters the season as The Summit League's active scoring leader with 1,149 points and teammate Chad White is on track to soon join him in the 1,000-point club. Omaha's John Karhoff became the most recent 1,000-point scorer by achieving the mark on Nov. 25.
CRADLE OF COACHES
Four former Summit League men's basketball standouts serve as Division I head coaches: Tony Bennett (Virginia), Bryce Drew (Valparaiso), Jim Les (UC Davis) and Greg McDermott (Creighton). The quartet, who all played when the league was known as the Mid-Continent Conference, ended the 2012-13 season with a combined 91-45 (.669) record. Both Drew and McDermott coached in the NCAA Tournament.
THE NAME GAME
In three decades of Division I basketball, The Summit League has produced several recognizable names through its history. Among them are ...
• Dick Bennett: Successful head coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin and Washington State
• Tony Bennett: Academic All-American of the Year, former NBA player, current Virginia head coach
• Bryce Drew: Synonymous with "The Shot" in the 1998 NCAA Tournament, former NBA player and current Valparaiso head coach
• Homer Drew: Legendary head coach at Valparaiso and former Director of Athletics
• Kevin Duckworth: 11-year NBA center and two-time all-star selection
• Winston Garland: Seven-year NBA point guard for five different teams
• Jim Les: Seven-year NBA sharpshooter, former Bradley head coach and current UC Davis head coach
• Ken "Mouse" McFadden: All-America guard led "Cinderella" Cleveland State to Sweet 16 in 1986
• Charlie Spoonhour: Colorful former head coach at Missouri State, Saint Louis and UNLV
Tony Bennett, Bryce and Homer Drew, and Kevin Duckworth joined Keith Benson, Caleb Green and George Hill on The Summit League's list of Top 30 Distinguished Contributors as selected during the 30th Anniversary season in 2011-12.
POINTS OF PRIDE
The Summit League continues a successful renaissance with unprecedented achievement by its student-athletes, coaches and administrators. Among these recent "points of pride" are:
• Five NCAA individual National Championships and six NCAA statistical titles in the past two years
• Student-athletes selected for the NCAA's most prestigious honor, the Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship, and the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year award in 2012-13
• A No. 10 national conference ranking for women's track and field, an all-time best RPI in any sport with a No. 12 volleyball ranking, highest-ever softball RPI ranking (18th) and consecutive men's basketball top-20 RPI finishes for the first time during 2012-13 seasons
THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
In its fourth decade of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of over 120,000 at eight institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced eight NCAA Champions, 62 All-Americans and 50 Academic All-America selections. For more information about the league and its history, visit www.thesummitleague.org or follow on Twitter @thesummitleague.
REFERENCING THE SUMMIT
Preferred references for each of the eight Summit League institutions are as follows:
DENVER PIONEERS (also: University of Denver, DU)
unacceptable: Denver University
FORT WAYNE MASTODONS (also: IPFW, Dons)
unacceptable: Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne
IUPUI JAGUARS (also: Jags)
NORTH DAKOTA STATE BISON (also: NDSU)
say it: BI-zun
unacceptable: ND State, N. Dakota St., Bisons
OMAHA MAVERICKS (also: UNO, Mavs)
unacceptable: Neb.-Omaha, UNOmaha, UN-Omaha
SOUTH DAKOTA COYOTES (also: USD, Yotes)
say it: KI-yotes
unacceptable: S. Dakota
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE JACKRABBITS (also: SDSU, Jacks)
unacceptable: S.D. State, Rabbits
WESTERN ILLINOIS FIGHTING LEATHERNECKS
(also WIU, Leathernecks)
unacceptable: W. Illinois, Necks, Westerwinds
THE SUMMIT LEAGUE (also Summit League)
unacceptable: Summit Conference
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
The Summit League features the NCAA's most unique collection of one-of-a-kind nicknames among its member institutions. Within U.S. college athletics, three names are exclusively held by Summit League schools: Mastodons (Fort Wayne), Jackrabbits (South Dakota State) and Leathernecks (Western Illinois). In addition, the name Coyotes (South Dakota) is unique to NCAA Division I athletics. The story behind the origin of each member institution's name and its mascot can be found on the "What's in a Name?" section of thesummitleague.org.
Follow The Summit League via its three official Twitter accounts:
@summithoops (men's and women's basketball)
@summitchamps (sport championships)