WEEKLY NOTEBOOK: No. 18 (w/stats) | Live Coverage Links
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- South Dakota State clinched the outright #SummitMBB regular season title with an 86-66 victory over Western Illinois last Saturday, giving the Jacks their second straight title. Those two teams will meet again in the opening quarterfinal of the championship on Saturday at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center at 6 p.m. CT. The four-day event concludes Tuesday with the title game set to air on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. CT.
Not only is the first quarterfinal a rematch of the regular season finale, but these two teams also met in the opening round in Sioux Falls a year ago as the No. 1 and No. 8 seeds and the Jacks, who trailed by as many as nine in the second half, rallied for a 66-60 victory in that contest.
These two are no strangers to postseason matchups, having played six times in the North Central Conference Tournament. UND owned a 4-2 record in those contests, but the Mavs have won eight straight in the overall series.
North Dakota State dealt Purdue Fort Wayne its fourth straight defeat with a 69-66 road win last Saturday. The two teams finished tied for third in the standings, but the Mastodons earned the No. 3 seed by virtue of a tiebreaker.
The Mastodons will open the tournament against No. 6 seed South Dakota, who is under the direction of the only rookie head coach in the league -- Todd Lee. The Coyotes finished tied for fifth at 7-9 thanks to a 78-63 home win over the Fighting Hawks. USD enters the tournament having won four of its last five. The Coyotes and Mastodons' last tournament meeting was in 2016 when Purdue Fort Wayne was the No. 1 seed and won that quarterfinal matchup 86-70.
Oral Roberts earned the No. 5 seed thanks to a season sweep of the Coyotes and will play North Dakota State in Sunday's opening quarterfinal. ORU finished its regular season last Thursday with an 84-80 win over Omaha, giving the Golden Eagles a season sweep of the Mavs.
The Bison won both regular season tilts with ORU by double figures. NDSU and ORU last met in Sioux Falls in 2015 when the Bison defeated the Golden Eagles 60-56 to advance to the title game.
FIVE THINGS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED...
• NDSU's 2015 tournament title was the last time SDSU did not cut down the nets at the PREMIER Center. Those two programs have won the seven Summit League Championships (NDSU, 2014 and 2015; SDSU 2012-13 and 2016-18).
• Of the current nine-team membership, only South Dakota State (2018), North Dakota State (2015) and charter member Western Illinois (1984) have won tournament titles.
• Omaha enters the Championship with its highest-seeding since joining the league. The second-seeded Mavs made the 2017 title game as the No. 3 seed. They were the No. 7 seed last season.
Q1: (1) SDSU vs. (8) Western Illinois 6 p.m. (MidcoSN/ESPN+)
Q2: (2) Omaha vs. (7) North Dakota 8:30 p.m. (MidcoSN/ESPN+)
Quarterfinals | Sunday, March 10
Q3: (4) NDSU vs. (5) Oral Roberts 6 p.m. (MidcoSN/ESPN+)
Semifinals | Monday, March 11
S1: Q1 winner vs. Q3 winner 6 p.m. (MidcoSN/ESPN+)
S2: Q2 winner vs. Q4 winner 8:30 p.m. (MidcoSN/ESPN+)
Championship | March 12
F: S1 winner vs. S2 winner 8 p.m. (ESPN2/WatchESPN)
all times Central
Thursday, February 28
Denver 74, Western Illinois 46*
North Dakota 88, Purdue Fort Wayne 82*
Oral Roberts 84, Omaha 80*
South Dakota 75, NDSU 65*
Saturday, March 2
Omaha 86, Denver 76*
South Dakota 78, North Dakota 63*
SDSU 86, Western Illinois 66*
NDSU 69, Purdue Fort Wayne 66*
* Summit League contest
Tournament Titles By Seed
Seed | Total | Last Time
No. 1 | 20 | South Dakota State (2018)
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: March 6, 2018
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 Mar. 5:
1. South Dakota State (101)
2. Omaha (169)
3. South Dakota (223)
4. North Dakota State (225)
5. Purdue Fort Wayne (232)
6. North Dakota (286)
7. Oral Roberts (295)
8. Western Illinois (311)
9. Denver (322)
NOTING THE PIONEERS...
• The Pioneers mounted their largest win of the season last Thursday, blasting Western Illinois 74-46 to keep their hopes alive for a Summit League Championship berth.
• Unfortunately for the Pioneers, Omaha dashed those hopes in the regular-season finale by posting an 86-76 win in The Mile High City to end DU's season.
• The contest was the final collegiate game for Joe Rosga, who capped his career by averaging 12.0 ppg as a senior. Rosga ended his career as the league's all-time leader in career free-throw percentage (88.3), making his final 12 attempts.
• Freshman David Nzekwesi moved into the starting lineup for the final four games of the season and did not disappoint. The Fort Worth, Texas native averaged 17.0 ppg and shot 24-for-40 from the floor during that stretch.
NOTING THE FIGHTING HAWKS...
• The Fighting Hawks had their season-best, three-game winning streak snapped in the regular season finale at South Dakota as the Coyotes claimed a 78-63 victory Saturday in Vermillion.
• Senior Cortez Seales enters postseason play with a career-best, nine-game streak of double-digit scoring.
• Seales is averaging 18.1 ppg during that stretch, which includes a career-high 32-point outing in a road win at Purdue Fort Wayne (Feb. 28) and averaged 25.5 ppg en route to his first career weekly honor.
• The Hawks make their Summit League Championship debut against No. 2 seed Omaha, who owns a 4-0 record in Division I matchups between the two programs.
• In eight previous DI conference tournament appearances, the Fighting Hawks are 14-5 and have won three titles (2011 and 2012 Great West Conference and 2017 Big Sky).
NOTING THE BISON...
• The Bison snapped a three-game skid with a 69-66 win over Purdue Fort Wayne to wrap up the regular season.
• Junior Tyson Ward registered his third double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds in the win over the Mastodons and was coming off a career-high, 28-point effort in a loss at South Dakota on Thursday.
• This is the second straight season the Bison have played in the 4-5 contest. They won last year's opening-round game as the No. 5 seed, knocking off Purdue Fort Wayne 86-82 before falling to eventual champion South Dakota State in the semifinals.
• NDSU has won the tournament three times since its debut in 2008-09 -- a year it was the top seed. The Bison also won it all in 2014 and 2015.
NOTING THE MAVERICKS...
• Omaha's second-place finish in #SummitMBB regular season play was the program's best since joining the league (2012-13) and the Mavs also set single-season DI program records for overall wins (19) and league wins (13).
• The Mavs are the only Summit League team that has all five starters averaging double figures and they enter the postseason tournament having won eight of their last 10.
• All five of those starters also were in the same starting lineup for head coach Derrin Hansen in all 16 league games.
• Omaha is one of three #SummitMBB that averaged better than 80 points per game (82.9) in league. The Mavs shot 48.0 percent from the field, which ranked second among league teams.
• This is the Mavs' fourth tournament appearance and their highest seeding yet. Omaha advanced to the title game in 2017 as the No. 3 seed.
NOTING THE GOLDEN EAGLES...
• The Golden Eagles bring the momentum of finishing off a season sweep of No. 2 seed Omaha into Sioux Falls after defeating the Mavs 84-80 last Thursday.
• Junior Emmanuel Nzekwesi was the catalyst off the bench, finishing with 25 points and 13 rebounds to register his ninth double-double of the season (third most in the league).
• Nzekwesi missed six of the Golden Eagles' final 10 games, but averaged 20.0 ppg and 13.0 rpg in his final two regular-season tilts.
• ORU will be the No. 5 seed, which is the program's highest since advancing to the 2015 semifinals as the No. 3 seed. That was also the last time the team won a postseason game.
NOTING THE MASTODONS...
• Purdue Fort Wayne's John Konchar has reached double figures in all 31 games this season and he eclipsed the 2,000-point plateau with a 27-point outing last Thursday against UND.
• By reaching that milestone, Konchar became the first player in DI history to score 2,000 points, pull down 1,000 rebounds, dish out 500 assists and record 200 steals.
• The Mastodons have buried a league-high 336 3-pointers this season, which is third most in all of Division I, and have five players with at least 35 makes on the season.
• Lehigh transfer Matt Holba has made a team-high 76 and his shooting 42.9 percent from beyond the arc.
• The Mastodons are the No. 3 seed, but have not advanced past the first round since being the No. 1 seed at the 2016 Championship.
NOTING THE COYOTES...
• The Coyotes closed out the regular season with a pair of double-digit victories over NDSU (75-65) and UND (78-63) and arrive in Sioux Falls as winners of four of their last five.
• That stretch followed a seven-game run where USD won only once.
• Junior Triston Simpson has reached double figures in 11 straight games and is averaging a career-high 14.0 ppg.
• The Coyotes ended up with five players averaging double figures in league action with sophomore Stanley Umude leading that group with a 17.1 ppg clip.
• This is the first time since joining the league prior to the 2011-12 season that USD has been the No. 6 seed.
• The Coyotes have made the semifinals twice and made their appearance in the title game last year.
NOTING THE JACKRABBITS...
• SDSU ranks fifth in the country in scoring (85.2 ppg) and third in both field goal (50.5) and 3-point (41.4) (41.4) percentage entering the #Summit MBB Championship.
• Sophomore David Jenkins, Jr., has buried 106 3-pointers, which is a single-season school record and the10th most in a single season by a Summit League player.
• Jenkins (8th; 46.5) and senior Tyler Flatten (13th; 45.1) both rank in the top 15 nationally in 3-point FG percentage.
• With 794 points on the season, Daum now holds three of the top four single-season scoring marks in the league. He ranks fourth nationally in scoring (25.6 ppg) and rebounding (11.7 rpg).
NOTING THE FIGHTING LEATHERNECKS...
• The Leathernecks win over Oral Roberts (Feb. 23) proved to be the difference in them earning the No. 8 seed as they suffered back-to-back losses on the road to close the regular season last week.
• The latter was an 86-66 loss to the Jackrabbits, who they will see again in Sioux Falls for the second straight year in the opening round.
• Last season, the Leathernecks led by three at the break, but eventually lost to the top seed 66-60.
• The No. 8 seed has never won a game at the Summit League Championship.
• Senior Brandon Gilbeck brought his season total in blocked shots to 102 with three against the Jackrabbits. He became just the fourth player in league history to eclipse the century mark and he entered the week still holding onto the national lead in that category.