Summit League Preview: South Dakota State Men at North Dakota State, Omaha
The last time the South Dakota State men's basketball team played a Summit League game they were winning the conference tournament in Sioux Falls, back in March.
This year's Summit League schedule tips off for the Jackrabbits tonight (January 3).
SDSU (12-5) is coming off a non-conference schedule that saw them post wins over the likes of Iowa and Ole Miss, all while putting up some of the best offensive numbers of any Summit League team so far this season.
The Jacks have scored more points per game (84), made more three-pointers (11 per game), took more free throws, and turned the ball over less than anybody in the conference.
They also grabbed more rebounds per game (39).
Not surprisingly, Summit League pre-season player of the year Mike Daum is leading the way. The junior is second among conference scorers with 22 points per game, topping 30 points already five times. Daum also leads the Summit on the defensive glass.
The biggest surprise for South Dakota State has been the play of true freshman David Jenkins. The Tacoma, Washington native is scoring 15 points a game, working his way into the starting lineup in mid-December.
Senior Reed Tellinghuisen is also averaging in double figures, scoring 12 points per game. In the last six games, Tellinghuisen has been on a tear, hitting better than 65 percent (30-of-46) from the floor.
The conference schedule starts at North Dakota State.
The Bison (8-6) are trying to replace three of their top five scorers from last season, but return their top offensive weapon - guard Paul Miller. The junior is averaging 16 points a game.
Sophomore Tyson Ward is picking up some of the scoring slack with 11 points per game. Senior guard AJ Jacobson is scoring nine points a game.
The Bison were the stingiest Summit League team on defense in non-conference play, limiting opponents to 66 points a game and just 29 percent from behind the three-point line.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM in Fargo, tonight.
Saturday (January 6) the Jackrabbits travel to Omaha for a rematch of last season's tournament title game.
The Mavericks (5-12/0-1 Summit League) are struggling to replace more than half of their offensive output from last season with the departures of top scorers - Marcus Tyus, Tre'Shwan Thurman, and Tra-Deon Hollins.
That hasn't slowed down Omaha's patented up tempo offensive approach this season. The Mavs are getting off more shots per game than any team in the conference and have a balanced scoring attack with five players averaging in double figures.
Guard Zach Jackson is leading the way with 18 points per game.
UNO's biggest problems have come on defense. They're last in the league in points allowed, opponents shooting percentages, and rebounding margin.
Tipoff is 7:00 PM in Omaha, Saturday.
I talked with South Dakota State head coach TJ Otzelberger about the non-confeerence schedule and this week's match-ups North Dakota State and Omaha: