Summit League Preview: South Dakota Men at Oral Roberts, Omaha
The injury-plagued Coyotes (8-9/2-2 Summit League) have some momentum after handing Purdue-Fort Wayne their first conference loss of the season last weekend, despite using mainly six players against the Mastodons.
Week four starts at Oral Roberts Thursday (January 17).
The Golden Eagles (7-13/3-2 Summit League) have dropped back-to-back games despite grabbing 45 offensive rebounds in two games last week. They lead the league in that category as well as blocked shots.
One of the reasons for the current slump is turnovers. ORU gave it up 37 times last week.
Redshirt junior Emmanuel Nzekwesi is averaging a double-double (22 points/12 rebounds) in conference play for a Golden Eagles team that's been 13 points per game better at home than on the road this season.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM, Thursday in Tulsa.
Sunday, the Coyotes travel to Omaha.
The Mavericks (9-8/3-1 Summit League) are the most up-tempo team in the conference, averaging more shot attempts per game (64) and scoring more points per game (89) than any team in the conference.
Despite that frenetic pace, Omaha shoots with great accuracy (51% from the floor, 45% from the three-point line) and dishes out more assists while committing the fewest turnovers of any team in the Summit.
The Mavericks offense is balanced with J.T. Gibson, Mitch Hahn, Matt Pile, and Zach Jackson all averaging in double-figures.
Another key to beating the Mavs is keeping them off of the free throw line. They get to the charity stripe and make more free throws than any team in the conference.
Tipoff is 2:00 PM, Sunday in Omaha.
Last Sunday (January 13), South Dakota pulled off the biggest upset of the Summit League season so far, handing Purdue-Fort Wayne the first conference loss in an 87-73 win.
The Coyotes had five players score in double-figures, led by Stanley Umude's 26 points and 14 rebounds.
The USD defense was the big story, limiting the number-one three-point shooting team in the country to just 32 percent from long range while turning the Mastodons over 17 times.
South Dakota put the game away with runs of 14-3 and 16-4 in a second half that saw them shoot 63 percent.
I talked with Coyotes head coach Todd Lee about last week's win and this week's match-ups with Oral Roberts and Omaha: