Tag:Summit League Tournament
Posted on: March 7, 2011 11:46 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 1:57 am

It's Oakland vs. Oral Roberts for Summit title

After two semifinal contests that only players’ family members could have enjoyed, the conferences’ two best teams will go at it Tuesday night for the Summit League tournament championship. Oakland (24-9, 17-1) has been a dominant force in the conference all season and it continued on Monday night as the Grizzlies overwhelmed South Dakota State to reach the finals. All five starters scored in double digits in the 110-90 victory and Oakland once again showcased that it is playing at its peak ability at the perfect time of the season. The Grizzlies have an athletic advantage over every team in the Summit and they have exploited it well all season, making them the prohibitive favorite on Tuesday night.

Their opponent will be Oral Roberts (18-14, 13-5), who defeated IUPUI 83-77 in the semifinals. The Golden Eagles led by a double digit margin for most of the game, before withstanding a late rally by the Jaguars to move to the championship game. Forward Dominique Morrison again continued his impressive play, scoring 26 points in the victory. As has been the case all season, when Morrison is able to be aggressive and get to the foul line (he had 13 free throws versus IUPUI), Oral Roberts creates matchup problems that make the team difficult to defend. Morrison was aided by the play of guard Warren Niles, who added 20 points, including two key baskets late to stop the IUPUI run.

Oakland and Oral Roberts have met two times this season and both games were battles until the end. The deciding factor in the meetings was the play of Grizzlies’ star Keith Benson, who averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds over the two games. Both of the first two matchups were decided within the final minute and in both games, Benson dominated play on both the offensive and defensive end. Benson is a future NBA player and the Grizzlies have not been able to find an answer for him throughout his career. 

Oakland believes this is the team's season to not only win the conference championship, but potentially pull a surprise in the NCAA tournament. But for that to happen, the Grizzlies must first win their third game of the season over Oral Roberts and not suffer the fate of the many other conference regular season winners who have been defeated in tournament finals thus far this postseason. 

Posted by MATT JONES

Posted on: March 4, 2011 8:08 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2011 8:12 pm

Summit League Tournament Preview

There is no conference tournament that is considered more of a foregone conclusion in most college basketball experts’ minds than the Summit League. Since the beginning of the season, the league’s bid into the NCAA Tournament has been considered safely in the hands of Oakland. Not only are the Grizzlies 17-1 in conference, but they hold a non-conference win over Tennessee and had close losses against Illinois, Michigan State and Valparaiso. Oakland is the class of the league, with only two teams, Oral Roberts and IUPUI truly legitimate threats to defeat it.

The biggest worry for Oakland (22-9, 17-1) going into the Summit League Tournament is to avoid looking forward to the NCAA Tournament. Many believe that the Grizzlies could be a dangerous 13 seed in March and they will be a popular upset pick amongst college basketball prognosticators. Oakland is led by Keith Benson, the best player in the conference and a likely NBA draft pick this Spring. He has been dominant all season and is an inside force rare at this level. The Grizzlies have also gotten major production from Reggie Hamilton, who is averaging 16 points a game while shooting for a high percentage as a perimeter player.

Oral Roberts (17-14, 13-5) has at times looked to be a viable contender against Oakland. The Eagles were involved in two battles with Oakland earlier this year and matchup well with the conference favorite. Oral Roberts struggled early in the year, but once Dominique Ferguson settled into his regular form, the Eagles’ play improved. Oral Roberts will not be scared if it meets Oakland in the championship game, but it isn’t clear that it will get there.

The team with the best shot at knocking off the champs is IUPUI (18-13, 12-6). When the Jaguars are playing at their best, they have the highest upside of any team in the league. Alex Young and Leroy Nobles give IUPUI the best one-two scoring punch in the league and at times have proven to be unguardable. However, the Jaguars also take games off and have fallen to teams like Southern Utah and South Dakota State too often. As with Oral Roberts, IUPUI can give Oakland a stiff challenge in the championship game, but is also capable of losing in the first round.

PREDICTION:  Oakland gets a stiff test from IUPUI in the championship game and finds itself down early. But after a late run, the Grizzlies get the victory and knock off a 4 seed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.


Top Three Players:

  1. Keith Benson, Oakland
  2. Alex Young, IUPUI
  3. Dominique Ferguson, Oral Roberts

Conference RPI: 21

Kenpom.com Rating: 19

Sagarin Rating: 17



Last Time in NCAA Tournament:

Oakland: 2010 (lost to Pittsburgh in first round)

Oral Roberts: 2008 (lost to Pittsburgh in first round)

IUPUI: 2003 (lost to Kentucky in first round)

IPFW: Never made NCAA Tournament

South Dakota State: Never made NCAA Tournament

UMKC: Never made NCAA Tournament

North Dakota State: 2009 (lost to Kansas in first round)

Southern Utah: 2011 (lost to Southern Utah)

Western Illinois: Never made NCAA Tournament

Centenary: Never made NCAA Tournament

Posted by MATT JONES

Category: NCAAB
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