WEEKLY NOTEBOOK: No. 8 (w/stats)
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- With non-conference play in the rear view mirror, the time has finally arrived for The Summit League's nine members to start their quests for a regular-season title. Four different teams have won at least of share that title in the past four seasons.
Who will be the 2018-19 champion? The 16-game race begins Thursday with eight teams in action.
FIVE THINGS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED...
• South Dakota State's Mike Daum and Purdue Fort Wayne's John Konchar shared this past week's Summit League Player of the Week accolade. Daum and Konchar both reached the 1,000-rebound plateau for their careers thanks to a pair of double-doubles by each last week. Both players now have 42 career double-doubles, which is tied for the fourth most among active Division I players.
• Omaha is the hottest Summit League team entering conference action. The Mavs have won three straight and host a Denver squad that was picked to finish third in the preseason polls. Sophomore Matt Pile has three double-doubles in his last five games and his four total double-doubles are third most in the league behind Daum (11) and Konchar (6).
• Western Illinois senior Brandon Gilbeck had six blocks in the Leathernecks' 81-52 victory over Chicago State in what was the final Summit League-WAC Challenge matchup of the season. The WAC won 6-3. Gilbeck now leads all Division I players with 51 blocks so far this season.
• Konchar and his Mastodon teammates won back-to-back games heading into the break to finish non-conference play with an 8-7 record. Konchar is averaging 21.1 ppg and 10.9 rpg over his last seven games.
• NDSU is the only league member with a non-conference matchup remaining on its schedule. Dickinson State is scheduled to play the Bison in Fargo (Jan. 6). Summit League teams hold a 56-68 record in non-conference play.
UPCOMING SCHEDULE (TV/Stream; all times local to site)
Friday, December 28
SDSU at Western Illinois* 4:30 p.m.
Purdue Fort Wayne at North Dakota* (MSN2/E+) 7 p.m.
Denver at Omaha* 7:30 p.m.
South Dakota at NDSU* (MSN/E+) 8 p.m.
Sunday, December 30
Purdue Fort Wayne at NDSU* (MSN/E+) 4 p.m.
Denver at Western Illinois* 4:30 p.m.
Oral Roberts at Omaha* 4:30 p.m.
THE NET RESULTS
Here's a look at how Summit League members are stacking up in the NCAA's new "NET" rankings system, which replaced the RPI from year's past.
Through games of Dec. 25:
South Dakota State (139)
North Dakota State (198)
South Dakota (204)
Purdue Fort Wayne (208)
Western Illinois (282)
North Dakota (293)
Oral Roberts (308)
NOTING THE PIONEERS
• Creighton transfer Ronnie Harrell, Jr., led the Pioneers in scoring during non-conference play,
pitching in 13.6 ppg.
• Colorado transfer Tory Stewart-Miller missed the fi rst half of DU's non-conference schedule
that spanned 14 games, but in six starts since making his DU debut, he is averaging 9.1 ppg
and 4.9 rpg.
• Preseason All-Summit League first team selection Joe Rosga also missed some action (four
games), but leads the team in assists (2.6/g) and steals (1.5/g). Rosga is scoring at a 12.5 ppg clip.
• Sophomore Donoven Carlisle is the team's top rebounder at 5.1 rpg. Carlisle has started eight of 14 games.
NOTING THE FIGHTING HAWKS
• The Fighting Hawks are about to embark on an inaugural league matchup for the third time since joining the Division I ranks prior to the 2008-09 season.
• This one comes against Purdue Fort Wayne, who owns a 2-0 advantage in the all-time series with UND.
• Senior captains Cortez Seales (13.8 ppg) and Conner Avants (11.3 ppg) have started all 13 games and are the only two Fighting Hawks averaging in double figures.
• Avants ranks fourth in The Summit League in field goal percentage (60.6 clip) and is coming
off a 19-point performance in a two-point loss at Northern Iowa (Dec. 22).
• Freshman Filip Rebraca is the top rookie scorer (9.3/g) and rebounder (6.5/g) in The Summit League. He ranks eighth overall in rebounding.
NOTING THE BISON
• JUCO-transfer Vinnie Shahid became NDSU's primary scoring threat in 13 non-conference
matchups. He is averaging 12.5 ppg and reached double figures in six of his last seven games, including a season-high 29 points vs. Drake at U.S Bank Classic in Minneapolis (Dec. 1).
• Junior Deng Geu is one of the top scoring reserves in the league, averaging a career-best
11.5 ppg and 5.0 rpg. He posted the first double-double of his career (16 pts/13 rebs) in NDSU's final game before the break (90-43 win over Northland College).
• Junior Tyson Ward, the team's top returning scorer from a year ago, is averaging 10.5 ppg
and has reached double fi gures seven times. He has come off the bench in his last three games and is averaging 12.0 ppg in that role.
NOTING THE MAVERICKS
• The Mavericks bring a three-game winning streaking into a home contest with Denver. Those three victories pulled Omaha within a game of the .500 mark after a 3-7 start.
• Senior Zach Jackson ranked fourth among Summit League scorers in non-conferece play, averaging 18.4 ppg. Jackson reached double fi gures in 12 of 13 games and had a season-high of 33 points in a win over Montana State (Nov. 24).
• Sophomore Matt Pile ranks third in The Summit League with four double-doubles and three of those have come in the last five contests. He's reached his season-high of 11 in rebounding on four different occasions.
• The Mavs have five players averaging 9.4 ppg or higher and ranked third among Summit League teams in scoring during non-conference play (76.2 ppg).
NOTING THE GOLDEN EAGLES
• Oral Roberts has to wait until Sunday to get its Summit League campaign going when they travel to Omaha.
• The Golden Eagles fi nished 5-9 in league action a year ago in what was Coach Paul Mills first season on the job.
• Junior Emmanuel Nzekwesi played up to his preseason All-Summit League distinction, averaging a team-best 14.3 ppg (8th) and pulling down a team-best 7.5 rpg (4th).
• Junior Sam Kearns scored 12 points in each of ORU's fi nal two non-conference games to bring his season average up to 8.2 ppg. He is also the team's top 3-pointer shooter, knocking down 40 percent of his attempts from deep.
NOTING THE MASTODONS
• The Mastodons moved over the .500 mark in non-conference play thanks to back-to-back wins to close things out.
• Senior John Konchar's six double-doubles this season have all come in the Mastodons' last seven games. He is averaging 21.1 ppg and 10.9 rpg during that span.
• Konchar has a Summit League-best 47 offensive rebounds on the season and ranks second overall in rebounding 9.3 rpg. His 18.6 ppg clip is third among league players.
• Classmate Kason Harrell is averaging a career-best 16.2 ppg and is shooting 42.5 percent from 3-point range.
• As a team, the Mastodons are making a Summit League-best 10.6 3-pointers per game.
NOTING THE COYOTES
• The Coyotes are on the road to open Summit League play and are coming off second-place finishes in both regular season and tournament play from a year ago.
• USD finished 6-7 in non-conference play under the direction of first year head coach Todd Lee.
• The Coyotes surrendered only 65.0 ppg to their non-league foes, which was the top defensive effort among Summit League teams.
• Senior Trey Burch-Manning leads a balanced-scoring attack for USD, averaging 12.2 ppg.
• Three other Coyotes are also averaging double figures, including Tyler Peterson and Triston Simpson, who score 11.8 ppg, and sophomore Stanley Umude, who chips in 10.6 ppg.
• Umude erupted for a career-high 28 points at No. 1 Kansas, going 10-for-17 from the floor against the Jayhawks.
NOTING THE JACKRABBITS
• The Jackrabbits were the highest-scoring unit among Summit League teams in non-conference play (84.7 ppg).
• Senior Mike Daum ranks fi fth nationally in scoring entering Summit League play, pouring in 25.3 ppg. He also paces the league in rebounding (10.9/g) and has a league-best 11 double-doubles on the season.
• Sophomore David Jenkins, Jr., is second among Summit League players in scoring at 19.8 ppg and is shooting 50 percent from 3-point range (42-84). His 42 makes are also most among league players.
• Senior Skyler Flatten gives SDSU three of the top seven scorers in the league (15.6 ppg).
NOTING THE LEATHERNECKS
• The Fighting Leathernecks snapped a four-game losing streak with an emphatic 81-52 victory over Chicago State. The victory closed out non-conference play and the inaugural Summit League-WAC Challenge series.
• Sophomore Kobe Webster is the top scoring underclassmen in The Summit League, averaging 18.2 ppg (fifth overall). Webster is also fifth among league players in assists (3.5/g).
• Senior Brandon Gilbeck leads the Division I ranks in blocks with 51 (3.9/g) and paces the league's top rebounding team (38.0/g) with an 8.5 rpg clip.
• The Leathernecks boast three players that are rebounding 5.0 rpg or better. Webster is right at that figure, while Isaac Johnson, who is scoring 12.7 ppg, is pulling down 6.2 rpg.