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Inside look at high school and Oakland University sports from Oakland Press sports writer Dave Pemberton.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Summit League tournament capsules

No. 1 North Dakota State vs. No. 8 Centenary
Why the Bison will win: NDSU has four fifth-year seniors, who have prepared their entire career for this one shot at the NCAA tournament. Summit League Player of the Year Ben Woodside, first team all-league selection Brett Winkelman, Mike Nelson and Lucas Moormann will play like there is no tomorrow because for these guys there’s not. The Bison offense has been tough to stop all season and scored 89 points in their win over Centenary last week. Woodside had 32 points in the game that had a tournament feel because NDSU was trying to clinch a share of the league title, while Centenary was fighting to make the league tournament.

Why the Gents will win: The equalizer for Centenary is its 3-point shooting. In league play, the Gents led the league in 3-pointers made with 139 and attempted (388). Nick Stallings and Chase Adams each hit over 55 this season and David Perez and Maxx Nakwaasah hit over 20. If the Gents are on from the outside they can play with anybody, but if not they could be in trouble. The big keys for Centenary will be Stalling’s offense, the team is 3-0 in league play when he scores over 20, and how well Adams (the Summit League Defensive Player of the Year) can defend Woodside.

Key matchup: NDSU’s Ben Woodside vs. Centenary’s Chase Adams
Season matchup: NDSU swept, 68-53 on Dec. 6 and 89-79 on Feb. 26
Prediction: North Dakota State comes out with emotion and builds an early lead the Gents can’t recover from. Winner: North Dakota State

No. 2 Oral Roberts vs. No. 7 South Dakota State
Why the Golden Eagles will win: Oral Roberts has the experience edge as the three-time defending tournament champions and the Jacks are playing in their first-ever Division I tournament game. The Golden Eagles frontline of Marcus Lewis and Kevin Ford will have a height and strength advantage, and know how to take advantage of it. ORU senior Robert Jarvis is also known to play his best in big-game situations and won’t be intimidated by the home crowd.

Why the Jacks will win: SDSU will have the home crowd behind it as the state of South Dakota comes out to enjoy its first Division I basketball tournament. The Jacks road troubles have been well documented, but they will be just one hour from their Brookings campus where they went 10-3 this season and 7-2 in league play. SDSU also has solid depth with three players averaging in double figures in Garrett Callahan, Clint Sargent and Anthony Cordova, and also have Kai Williams (9.9 per game) and Dale Moss, who filled in nicely for Sargent who missed a few games recently.

Key matchup: ORU’s Marcus Lewis vs. SDSU’s Kai Williams
Season matchup: ORU swept, 85-76 on Dec. 6 and 63-58 on Feb. 26
Prediction: The Jacks played ORU tough on the road last week and will have the home crowd behind it so an upset pick is tempting. But ORU has been here before and while it will likely be a close game, the more experienced team will win out. Winner: Oral Roberts

No. 4 IUPUI vs. No. 5 Southern Utah
Why the Jaguars will win: IUPUI is clearly the more athletic team and will us its athleticism to its advantage. Robert Glenn and Leroy Nobles have really emerged during league play, while freshman sensation Alex Young has been up and down. If all three can get going, along with Gary Patterson, then the Jaguars have a chance to do some damage. IUPUI has struggled with consistency, but also has multiple players capable of taking a game over.

Why the Thunderbirds will win: Southern Utah coach Roger Reid has gotten the most out of his team all season and will have them ready for the tournament. The frontline of Tyler Quinney and John Clifford can matchup with Glenn and Nobles. The real x-factor for the Thunderbirds will be Davis Baker. If Baker can get going then SUU will have a good shot, but if Baker struggles then so will the Thunderbirds. SUU will also make any team pay for silly fouls, the Thunderbirds lead the nation in free-throw percentage.

Key matchup: Southern Utah’s Davis Baker vs. IUPUI’s Leroy Nobles
Season matchup: IUPUI swept, 59-54 on Jan. and 79-65 on Jan. 29
Prediction: IUPUI is a bad matchup for Southern Utah. The Thunderbirds will keep it close, but the Jaguars will advance behind the play of Glenn, Nobles and Patterson.

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Blogger The D Man said...

Tough to argue with your predictions, especially after you nailed most of the Summit League awards. Should be a great tournment--I hope to make it out to South Dakota next year.

If Baker can get freed up against IUPUI's match-up zone, and SUU's bigs are making some shots, they may have a shot. But you're right, IUPUI has been a difficult matchup for the T-Birds.

March 6, 2009 at 12:50 PM 

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