Summit League Tournament Preview: #1 South Dakota State vs. #8 Western Illinois
It's been more than two decades since a team won at least four straight Summit League Tournament titles; so long ago that the conference had a different name back then.
South Dakota State arrives in Sioux Falls this weekend (March 9) with a chance to run their current string of postseason crowns to four, joining Valparaiso, from the old Mid-Continent Conference, who captured six straight tourney titles from 1994-95 to 1999-2000.
The Jackrabbits (23-7/13-2 Summit League) successfully defended their Summit League regular season title with senior forward Mike Daum picking up his third straight conference player of the year honors.
SDSU begins the postseason facing the same team they opened and closed the conference regular season schedule with - Western Illinois.
The Leathernecks (9-20/4-12 Summit League) have lost seven-of-eight and are dead last in the Summit League in scoring, but they do have a big difference maker inside. Seven-foot senior center Brandon Gilbeck blocked a conference-best 51 shots this season and is fifth in rebounding.
Sophomore guard Kobe Webster leads WIU in scoring with 16 points per game.
The Jackrabbits swept the season series, winning by 42 in Illinois in December and by 20 in Brookings last week (March 2).
In the first meeting, SDSU scored 100 points, hit 13 three-pointers, and shot 62 percent.
In the rematch, SDSU scored 49 first-half points and again connected on 13 three-pointers in the 86-66 win at Frost Arena.
Senior Skyler Flatten scored 23 of his game-high 31 points in the first half for SDSU.
I talked to South Dakota State associate head coach Eric Henderson about last week's win and the match-up Western Illinois: