Eli Linton is the RTC correspondent for the Summit League.
- Oakland 12-7 (6-0)
- IUPUI 12-7 (5-1)
- South Dakota State 9-8 (5-1)
- Oral Roberts 9-9 (4-3)
- UMKC 8-8 (2-3)
- North Dakota State 5-10 (2-3)
- IPFW 7-9 (2-4)
- Centenary 6-11 (2-5)
- Western Illinois 7-9 (1-5)
- Southern Utah 5-12 (1-5)
- IUPUI beat Oral Roberts at home 90-87. You can now legitimately argue that IUPUI is just as good as Oakland, if not better, and the Golden Grizzlies will be looking over their shoulder the rest of the way.
- Oakland is on a 12-game conference win streak right now, dating back to late last year. The record is held by Cleveland State with 16. The way things are going for Oakland, they are going to blow that record away.
- In Thursday night’s game, both IUPUI coach Ron Hunter and ORU coach Scott Sutton went an entire game shoeless to draw awareness to Samaritan’s Feat, a nonprofit organization that accepts shoe donations and distributes them to needy children worldwide.
The Summit was quiet last week, with only four games played. However we still learned a couple new things: 1) IUPUI is good. Oakland is still better, but how much better? I can’t wait until these two meet again. The power struggle between these two will be the top storyline going forward this year. 2) Maybe ORU can’t overcome the bad hand they have been dealt by injuries. It’s a shame, because it was looking like IUPUI, Oakland, and ORU were going to battle until the end. ORU just can’t win on the road, and even though the two losses to Oakland and IUPUI were by a combined six points, it’s still clear that they are on the outside looking in.
Alpha Squads: Oakland, IUPUI
Contenders: South Dakota, Oral Roberts
Long Shots: North Dakota, UMKC
Bottom Feeders: IPFW, Centenary, Southern Utah, Western Illinois
In a nutshell, there are three teams that can win the conference from this point in the season and South Dakota State and Oral Roberts are fighting for that third position. The Golden Grizzlies and the Jags are rolling while Oral Roberts is reeling, but they can bounce back. It is going to be interesting to see how it all plays out.
- Oakland: Still Rolling. I am really impressed with preseason player of the year, Jonathan Jones. Is it safe to change his name to Jon Jones yet? This guy is a man, and he owns every guard in this conference. He is clearly the number one player. His stat line is not huge, just 12/6/2 stls, but he doesn’t have to score with all those weapons available to him at Oakland.
- IUPUI: Hear those footsteps? That‘s IUPUI closing the gap on Oakland. Big conference win over Oral Roberts at home. People are paying attention now.
- South Dakota: The enigma team. They shouldn’t be doing this well, but they are. It probably has something to do with having three players shooting 82% or better from the line. No other team has more than one. That can get you wins in close games they might have lost in the past.
- Oral Roberts: Their three conference losses came from the three teams above, does that mean they are the fourth best team? Maybe, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them finish right here in fourth. Scott Sutton is a great coach, but no coach in America can survive a long season after losing half his team.
- UMKC: Just a little short on talent to compete with the big boys, but on a good night, they could squeak by South Dakota and Oral Roberts.
- North Dakota State: They are a long way from the days of Ben Woodside. 5-10 is not where you want to be to say the least.
- IPFW: I had a fan ask me during one Summit League game “what is a Mastodon (the IPFW mascot) anyway?” I said, “kind of like an elephant.” They could use an elephant in their roster; they’re too small to be a serious threat to anyone.
- Centenary: The Gents are already having a better season than last year, and although his production dropped, David Perez is still scoring 17 points a game.
- Southern Utah: They lost to IPFW and only managed to score 56 points. They are in serious need of offensive production.
- Western Illinois: They blew out Centenary by 19, so we know they can still win. I hate to see teams play poorly, so I hope they can start getting things together in the second half of the season.
Games to Watch
- Tulsa @ Oral Roberts, Wednesday, January 20. 7 p.m. – Rumor has it that this game is already sold out. Over 11,000 fans expected for this one, and it should be split right down the middle. Crosstown rivals will be battling for the Mayor’s Cup, and city pride on the line. This game is always good, and both teams want to win it and can.
- Oakland @ South Dakota State, Saturday, January 23, 7:30 p.m. – I cant imagine Oakland losing this one, but its #1 vs. #3 in the conference, and it could be a great opportunity for South Dakota to prove something.
- North Dakota State @ Oral Roberts, Thursday January 28, 7 p.m. – Oral Roberts is looking to avenge last year’s heartbreaking loss at home that won the Summit League regular season crown for NDSU. There is a lot of bad blood between these two schools, and no Ben Woodside to save NDSU. Expect a good, close game.