|1||South Dakota State||66|
|1||South Dakota State||72|
|1||South Dakota State||8:00 pm|
|3||North Dakota State|
|3||North Dakota State||55|
|3||North Dakota State||69|
The 2013 The Summit League Men’s Basketball Tournament is held in Sioux Falls Arena in Sioux Falls, South Dakota between March 9-12. The championship game will be held tonight on ESPN at 8:00pm featuring (1)South Dakota State and (3)North Dakota State. Neither team will be able to pick up an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament, so this is their only chance to dance. Only in The Summit League will you have a championship game where the team mascots are the Jackrabbits and the Bison. Let’s take a closer look at the two squads.
North Dakota State University
School Size: 14,400 students
Location: Fargo, North Dakota
Head Coach: Saul Phillips [104-73(.588)]
Record: 24-8, 12-4 Summit
Notable Results: Loss at #Indiana 87-61; Win against James Madison (CAA winner) 66-44; Loss at #13 Minnesota; Loss at Akron
Past Tournament Results: Lost to (3)Kansas 74-84 in first round as a 14-seed in 2009.
Players To Watch:
1) Marshall Bjorklund
The 6-foot-8 junior forward leads the league in shooting percentage for the third straight season. He is ranked second nationally shooting just above Kelly Olynyk from Gonzaga at 68 percent. Bjorklund leads the team in rebounds (6.0), and is averaging just over 11 points per outing. He was named first-team All-Summit League team this season.
2) Lawrence Alexander
Alexander is a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard from Illinois. He was able to receive second-team All-Summit League honors this year after finishing third in league-only stats in assist. The Summit League Newcomer of the Year from last season is averaging just over 10 points a game and almost 4 assist.
3) Taylor Braun
Braun may be the Bisons most dangerous weapon. He is a lanky 6-foot-7 guard averaging over 17 points in conference games. The junior was named to second-team All-Summit League this year, and first-team last year. He has missed several games this season due to a foot injury. He’s the Bisons’ leading scorer, and can cause matchup problems. Look for him to have a large impact in the game tonight.
4) Mike Felt
Mike Felt was named The Summit League’s 6th Man of the Year for the 2012-2013 season. The 6-foot-3 junior guard is averaging over 8 points per game in just 18 minutes.
South Dakota State University
School Size: 13,000
Location: Brookings, South Dakota
Head Coach: Scott Nagy [316-197(.623)]
Record: 24-9, 13-3 Summit
Notable Results: Loss at Alabama 67-70; Loss at #14 Minnesota; Loss at Belmont; Win on road at #16 New Mexico; Loss at Murray State 73-62
Past Tournament Results: Loss to (3) Baylor as a 14-seed in 2012 68-60 (game went to the wire).
Players to Watch:
1) Nate Wolters
He’s the best player to ever come through South Dakota State University. Nate Wolters, a 6-foot-4 senior guard, was named The Summit League Player of the Year along with gaining his third first-team All-Summit League honors. He is averaging 23 points per game on 49 percent shooting, and 6 assist. Wolton scored 30 against Alabama, 36 versus Oakland, 53 on IPFW, and has scored at least 15 points in every game but four (hasn’t scored less than 12 points in any game this season). He is a 2012 honorable mention All-American, and 1 of 14 Wooden Award finalist in 2013. See what Jay Bilas says about Wolters here.
2) Jordan Dykstra
The 6-foot-8 junior forward was named to his second straight second-team All-Summit League. He’s averaging 12 points and 8 rebounds while shooting 42 percent from behind the arc and 44 percent from the field. Dykstra was named The Summit League Newcomer of the Year in 2011 as a freshman. The big man can cause a lot of matchup problems with his ability to step back and take jump shots.
3) Tony Fiegen
A senior leader on the Jackrabbit squad, Tony Fiegen, was able to have his best season yet in college. He received his first ever Summit League award as honorable mention this year. The 6-foot-7 forward is averaging 6 rebounds, 10 points, and 2 assist per game while shooting 55 percent from the floor.
Joe Lunardi, in his latest bracketology, has South Dakota State as the winner of the conference and playing the 3-seeded Florida Gators as a 14-seed. The regular season was series was split between these two teams at 1-1. On December 29, North Dakota State won at home 65-62, and on January 26, South Dakota State won at home 69-53 (Braun for NDS did not play). South Dakota State is the 1-seed in The Summit League, and North is the 3. In the end, I think that it will be a great game until the final buzzer, but I believe that Nate Wolters will be too much (had 26 against NDS in both games), along with the home court advantage for South Dakota (Sioux Falls is right under an hour away from the university), for North Dakota to pull out a win. I predict a 74-65 win for the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State.