THIS WEEK'S SCHEDULE
West Region 2nd Round
Thursday, March 20 (Spokane, Wash.)
(12) North Dakota State vs. (5) Oklahoma 7:27 p.m. (TruTV)
College Basketball Invitational
Wednesday, March 19
South Dakota State at Old Dominion 7 p.m.
CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament
Wednesday, March 19
Akron at Fort Wayne 7 p.m.
North Dakota at Omaha 8 p.m.
All times Eastern
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
Summit League Championship (Sioux Falls, S.D.)
Saturday, March 8 (Quarterfinal)
(2) Fort Wayne 85, (7) IUPUI 47
Sunday, March 9 (Quarterfinals)
(4) Denver 71, (5) South Dakota 55
(3) South Dakota State 71, (6) Western Illinois 50
Monday, March 10 (Semifinals)
(1) North Dakota State 83, (4) Denver 48
(2) Fort Wayne 64, (3) South Dakota State 60
Tuesday, March 11 (Championship Game)
(1) North Dakota State 60, (2) Fort Wayne 57
All-Tournament Team: Marshall Bjorklund, North Dakota State; Pierre Bland, Fort Wayne; Taylor Braun, North Dakota State (MVP); Luis Jacobo, Fort Wayne; TrayVonn Wright, North Dakota State.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Taylor Braun, North Dakota State
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Garret Covington, Western Illinois
SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR
Mo Evans, Fort Wayne
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Chris Udofia, Denver
COACH OF THE YEAR
Saul Phillips, North Dakota State
FIRST TEAM ALL-SUMMIT
Marshall Bjorklund (F), North Dakota State; Taylor Braun (G), North Dakota State; Jordan Dykstra (F), South Dakota State; Luis Jacobo (F), Fort Wayne; Brett Olson (G), Denver; Chris Udofia (F), Denver
SECOND TEAM ALL-SUMMIT
Brayden Carlson (G), South Dakota State; Garret Covington (G), Western Illinois; Steve Forbes (F), Fort Wayne; Cody Larson (F), South Dakota State; TrayVonn Wright (F), North Dakota State
HONORABLE MENTION ALL-SUMMIT
Lawrence Alexander (G), North Dakota State; Brandon Bos (G), South Dakota; CJ Carter (G), Omaha; Trevor Gruis (C), South Dakota; John Karhoff (C), Omaha
Garret Covington (G), Western Illinois; Mo Evans (G), Fort Wayne; Steve Forbes (F), Fort Wayne; Cody Larson (F), South Dakota State; Khufu Najee (G), IUPUI
2013-14 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Nov. 11 CJ Carter, G Omaha
Mitch Patton, C IUPUI
Nov. 18 Luis Jacobo, F Fort Wayne
Nov. 25 Taylor Braun, G North Dakota State
Dec. 2 Jordan Dykstra, F South Dakota State
Dec. 9 Chris Udofia, F, Denver
Dec. 16 Marshall Bjorklund, F North Dakota State
Brett Olson, G Denver
Dec. 23 Taylor Braun, G North Dakota State
Dec. 30 John Karhoff, F Omaha
Jan. 6 Garret Covington, F Western Illinois
Jan. 13 Luis Jacobo, F Fort Wayne
Jan. 21 Taylor Braun, G North Dakota State
Jan. 27 Pierre Bland, G Fort Wayne
Taylor Braun, G North Dakota State
Feb. 3 Jordan Dykstra, F South Dakota State
Feb. 10 Brett Olson, G Denver
Feb. 17 Taylor Braun, G North Dakota State
Feb. 24 Chris Udofia, F Denver
March 3 Jordan Dykstra, F South Dakota State
COLLEGEINSIDER.COM LOU HENSON AWARD PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Dec. 16 Marshall Bjorklund, F North Dakota State
THE SUMMIT LEAGUE BY THE NUMBERS
.562 | Winning percentage vs. traditional Mid-Major teams '10-11 to present
2/3 | Current players on NBA rosters / Number of NBA Draft picks since 2008
4 | Summit League teams in postseason play, tying all-time high for third consecutive season
4 | All-time highest ranking for a Summit League team in the Mid-Major Top 25
10 | Record number of former Summit Leaguers in the NBA or D-League during the 2013-14 season
14 | All-time best Summit League ranking on RPIratings (Jan. '14) & Sagarin Ratings (current)
74.9 | National-best combined free throw percentage in league games
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 ...
Current rankings and preseason expectations illustrate The Summit League's strength:
• As of March 17, The Summit League continued to hold an all-time best position in the USA Today Sagarin Ratings (14th). The Summit League also spent most of January occupying a record No. 14 spot in RPIratings.com and North Dakota State reached a league high at No. 24 during the first week of January.
• The Mid-Major Top 25 preseason poll marked the first time multiple Summit League teams concurrently occupied top-10 positions with North Dakota State's at No. 6, the league's highest spot in 15 years of the poll, and Denver at No. 9, making the league one of three with multiple top-10 squads. NDSU continues to hold an all-time league high No. 4 position in this week's poll while Fort Wayne reached its highest Mid-Major ranking in history at No. 19 in the Feb. 3 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 full seasons (2009-13), The Summit League has made a +8 net gain in RPI rankings, placing 27-26-21-16-19 during that span. Using the present RPI (as of March 17), that jump would be an astounding +10 over six seasons. 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 ('12-13) 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), 2010-13
• 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 in both 2012 and 2013
• 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 six seasons in Sioux Falls
• Playing league-record 6th consecutive tournament in Sioux Falls in 2014
• Moving into new 12,000-seat, $115 million Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls in '15
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
South Dakota State's Brayden Carlson (1st team) and Jordan Dykstra (2nd team) were named to the Capital One Academic All-American team. The selection of Carlson, who has a 3.94 GPA in economics, and Dykstra, with a 3.71 GPA in biology/pre-dentistry, marks The Summit League's highest multiple player distinction in one season. Carlson is the third student-athlete in league history to earn first team honors. The 1983-84 season is the only other year in which The Summit League received multiple Academic All-American selections.
The Summit League has four of its eight teams ranked among the NCAA's top 31 free throw shooting squads (as of March 17). South Dakota State (12th at 75.6%) and South Dakota (15th at 75.1%) are in the nation's top 15 with North Dakota State (24th at 74.7%) and IUPUI (31st at 74.2%) following. Omaha (not included because of NCAA reclassification) would be sixth at 76.8% and give the league five teams in the top 30. Individually, Denver's Brett Olson ranks seventh in the NCAA with a 90.2 percent free throw clip and leads a trio of Summit Leaguers in the top 50. As a whole, Summit League teams are shooting a national-best 74.9 percent from the charity stripe in league play this season.
South Dakota State's Jordan Dykstra is one of 10 national finalists for the men's basketball Senior CLASS Award, presented to the top senior student-athlete with notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. Fan balloting through March 24 at seniorclassaward.com counts for 1/3 of the total with the remaining 2/3 determined by NCAA Division I coaches and national media.
MODEL OF EFFICIENCY
Through March 16, The Summit League ranks in the nation's top four in five KenPom.com statistical categories: free throw percentage (1st at 74.9), effective field goal percentage (3rd at 52.2), two-point field goal percentage (3rd at 50.8), three-point field goal percentage (4th at 36.7) and efficiency (4th at 107.5). The Summit League held the top spot in four KenPom.com statistical categories for league games in each of the past two seasons. Below is a comparison of the '11-12 and '12-13 KenPom ranks:
Efficiency 106.0 in '12-13 (107.3 in '11-12) 3P% 37.4 in '12-13 (37.9 in '11-12)
Effective FG% 53.1 in '12-13 (52.9 in '11-12) 2P% 51.5 in '12-13 (51.1 in '11-12)
The Summit League features some of the nation's top marksmen. North Dakota State's Marshall Bjorklund is the NCAA's active career leader (as of March 17) with a .655 field goal percentage, .023 ahead of second-place. Among active D-I players, Denver's Brett Olson is second with a .910 free throw percentage. South Dakota State's Jordan Dykstra is ninth with a .445 career three-point percentage while Olson is 12th at .443.
THE COMPANY THAT YOU KEEP
As of March 17, North Dakota State's Marshall Bjorklund ranks fourth on the all-time NCAA Division I field goal percentage list. His 65.5 percent clip places him ahead of NCAA legends Bill Walton (65.1), Lew Alcindor (63.9) and Akeem Olajuwon (63.9).
THIS AND THAT
The Summit League has at least one victory against teams from 18 of 20 traditional mid-majors conferences played this season and a .500+ winning percentage against 13 of those conferences ... Western Illinois finished second in the NCAA's 6th Fan contest ... Omaha's Justin Simmons advanced to the finals of the 2014 "State Farm Dark Horse Dunker"competition ... At 5'4", Denver guard Charles Webb is the shortest player in college basketball … Fort Wayne features the two heaviest players in The Summit League in Steve Forbes (295 lbs.) and Brent Calhoun (280 lbs.).
IN THE ASSOCIATION
A record 10 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) has started 29 games, including seven of his first nine as a pro, 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, selected with the first pick in the second round of the 2013 Draft, joined Damen Bell-Holter, Moses Ehambe, Ron Howard, Trey McKinney Jones, Larry Owens, and Charlie Westbrook on March 1 active rosters. Reggie Hamilton played in the D-League earlier this season, bringing the Summit total to eight.
Half of The Summit League's eight current members will be playing in new or drastically renovated basketball facilities over the next few seasons. The Summit League Basketball Championships will also move into a new venue, Sioux Falls' Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, a $115-million, 12,000-seat facility, beginning in 2015. A snapshot of facility enhancements across the league and scheduled openings:
• IUPUI (opening in 2014): Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum, currently undergoing a $63-million renovation that will provide a 6,841-seat facility.
• North Dakota State (TBA): Renovation of the Bison Sports Complex site will be replaced by the Sanford Health Athletic Complex including the new 5,945-seat Scheels Center for basketball.
• Omaha (2015): The new UNO Community Arena, an $81.3-million project that will result in a 205,000 square foot facility with seating for approximately 7,500 spectators for basketball.
• South Dakota (2016): The new Sports Performance Enhancement Facility includes a 6,000-seat arena for basketball as part of a $58.8-million multiple-building project.
North Dakota State made history with its 73-69 victory at Notre Dame on Dec. 11. The Bison recorded their first victory over a "power conference" team and only the second Summit League road win over an ACC foe. The triumph was the first by any Summit League team (including Mid-Continent Conference era) over Notre Dame.
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
The Summit League Basketball Championships was played at Sioux Falls Arena for the final time in 2014 before moving into the neighboring brand-new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center next season. The venerable arena, called a "classic barn" by ESPN, has been home to the league's record-setting tournaments from 2009-14. Memories from coaches, players, media and fans involved in the event were compiled for a feature story titled "Remembering the Old Barn" and published in this year's tournament program. A sampling of comments about the tournament atmosphere include:
• "For one week in Sioux Falls, we take an old-fashioned 50-plus year old arena and turn it into a heart-pounding, memory-making basketball wonderland." – Mike Huether, Sioux Falls Mayor
• "Very few mid-majors attract those kind of attendance numbers and excitement." – Terry Vandrovec, Sioux Falls Argus-Leader
• "The Sioux Falls Arena has the feel of a 'Hoosiers' movie to me ... When full, it's hard to find a more basketball-thrilling type of atmosphere." – Jeff Kolpack, The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead
While facing the nation's eighth-strongest non-conference schedule (3/17 RPIratings.com) this season, Summit League teams were on the short end of numerous close games. Of the league's non-conference losses ...
• 6 (10.2 percent of league total) have been by one point
• 11 (18.6 percent) by one possession (3 points or less)
• 17 (28.9 percent) were decided by five points or fewer
• 17 (28.9 percent) saw league teams leading at halftime
• 17 (28.9 percent) saw league teams hold leads in the final five minutes
ORU RETURNS TO THE SUMMIT
Oral Roberts University becomes The Summit League's ninth full-time member in 2014-15. A member of the Mid-Continent Conference/Summit League from 1997-2012, ORU won six regular season men's basketball championships and three tournament titles. The Golden Eagles most successful run came from 2004-08 when they won four consecutive regular season crowns and three straight tournament titles (2006-08). During its 15 years in The Summit League, ORU won nine Commissioner Cups, awarded to the league's top overall athletics program, 91 league championships and 49 regular season crowns.
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, have a 81-50 (.618) combined record through March 16 after ending last season with a 91-45 (.669) record. Both Drew and McDermott are coaching in their second consecutive NCAA Tournaments in 2014.
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
• A total of 50 Academic All-Americans and 39 teams that received NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) honors since 2007
• Alumni currently competing in MLB, the NBA, MLS and PGA Tour and seven Olympians who competed at the 2012 London Games
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)