Each of the four teams that will make their way to Brooklyn for games November 23-24 will have two home games to play in the regional round. Those opponents will come from a four-team pool of Belmont, IUPUI, Kennesaw State and South Alabama, with those teams being selected well in advance of today’s announcement.
There will be a separate four-team event hosted by Kennesaw State November 23-24, and as is the case with the semifinal round in Brooklyn those games will be announced at a later date. Below are the regional round matchups.
Milwaukee Regional (hosted by Marquette) November 13: Belmont at Marquette November 16: IUPUI at Marquette
Raleigh Regional (hosted by NC State) November 15: South Alabama at NC State November 18: IUPUI at NC State
Baton Rouge Regional (hosted by LSU) November 16: Kennesaw State at LSU November 19: South Alabama at LSU
Tempe Regional (hosted by Arizona State) November 16: Belmont at Arizona State November 19: Kennesaw State at Arizona State
NCAA tournament participants Belmont, LSU and NC State part of Legends Classic field
Wednesday afternoon the Gazelle Group announced that the field for the 2015 Legends Classic has been filled. The four teams that will automatically “advance” to the semifinal round at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn November 23 and 24 were known, with those teams being Arizona State, LSU, Marquette and NC State.
Wednesday’s announcement included the four teams that will play in the regional round were finalized as well.
Belmont, IUPUI, Kennesaw State and South Alabama are those four teams, and each of the four automatic semifinalists will play two games against those schools before heading to Brooklyn. Kennesaw State will host the subregional rounds between these four teams November 23 and 24.
Of the eight teams in the field three reached the NCAA tournament last month, with NC State beating LSU in the Round of 64 on their way to the Sweet 16 and Belmont losing to No. 2 Virginia in the Round of 64.
NC State returns a number of key players from that Sweet 16 team, including point guard Cat Barber, and while LSU lost starting forwards Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey to the NBA they add a highly-regarded recruiting class led by Ben Simmons. Arizona State returns an experienced team in the first season of the Bobby Hurley era in Tempe, and Marquette adds one of the nation’s best recruiting classes led by five-star forward Henry Ellenson.
Matchups for all three rounds of the event will be announced at a later date.
After spending two seasons as a member of the Syracuse program, guard Ron Patterson is headed back to his home state to complete his college career.
Sunday morning Patterson, who at one point was an Indiana signee, announced via Twitter his decision to transfer to IUPUI. After sitting out the 2015-16 season Patterson will have two seasons of eligibility under IUPUI head coach Jason Gardner.
Patterson played sparingly as a freshman but saw his minutes increase in 2014-15, as he played just under 14 minutes per game for Jim Boeheim’s Orange. Averaging 2.6 points and 1.7 assists per game, Patterson struggled mightily with his perimeter shot.
With a year to hone his skill set, the hope is that Patterson will regain the confidence in his shot that made him a target for multiple high-major programs during his high school years. Patterson didn’t fully qualify at Indiana, which resulted in his spending a season at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire before joining the Syracuse program in 2013.
In addition to Patterson the Jaguars have three freshmen joining the program this summer, including 6-foot-2 point guard T.J. Henderson.
P.J. Boutte’s buzzer-beating floater pushes IUPUI past Ball State (VIDEO)
New IUPUI head coach Jason Gardner has quite the rebuilding task ahead of him, with the Jaguars coming off of a season in which they won just six games and finished last in the Summit League standings (1-13). Saturday afternoon the Jaguars picked up their second win of the season, as a P.J. Boutte floater as time expired gave IUPUI a 71-69 win over Ball State.
Boutte’s shot (which can be seen at the 1:59 mark in the video above) capped a wild sequence in which IUPUI nearly committed a backcourt violation, with the junior guard collecting the wayward pass from Marcellus Barksdale just before it crossed the half-court line and then making his way towards the basket.
Boutte, who finished the game with 16 points and six assists, earned one last opportunity for IUPUI by picking up his third steal of the game on Ball State’s final offensive possession.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen. The only thing that was going through my mind was we were just trying to win,” Boutte said, according to IUPUI’s Ed Holdaway. “We’d been fighting hard all game and fortunately I was able to get the ball and get that shot.”
Turnover is the name of the game for the Summit League as we head into the 2014-2015 season. There will be five new head coaches in the nine-team league and that doesn’t include Scott Sutton, the head coach at Oral Roberts, who will return to the conference after a two-year stint in the Southland. Just one first-team all-conference player is back this season, and among those who have left were the league’s best player (Taylor Braun) and biggest personality (former North Dakota State head coach Saul Phillips).
That said, the Summit League should end up being one of the tightest conference races in the country this year, as the separation between the top teams in the conference is quite small.
Our pick to win the regular season title is Oral Roberts. The Golden Eagles had enjoyed a terrific run near the top of the Summit League for a decade-and-a-half before the school got swept up in the realignment chaos and wound up in the Southland. After a two year hiatus, Sutton is back with one of his better teams. Senior Obi Emegano is healthy after tearing his ACL last season and junior guard Korey Billbury had a terrific sophomore campaign in Emegano’s absence. Losing Shawn Glover will hurt, but the key for ORU will be whether Brandon Conley takes a step forward this season.
ORU’s biggest challenger will be Joe Scott’s Denver Pioneers. While he loses Chris Udofia to graduation, Scott does return Brett Olson, a first-team all-conference guard last year and our Preseason Player of the Year. He’s a sharp-shooter who hit more than 50 percent from three in league play, but he’s also going to have to learn to be “the guy”. In total, the Pioneers bring back four starters from last year. Denver joined the Summit prior to the 2013-2014 season.
New IPFW head coach Jon Coffman will enter this season without three of the Mastodons’ top six players from a year ago, but he does get back sophomore point guard Mo Evans, who is expected to be one of the league’s breakout stars, as well as big man Steve Forbes. Forbes is a dominating presence in the paint, but he only averaged 21.3 minutes as a junior due to fitness and foul trouble.
South Dakota State loses a number of key pieces, but former Florida big man Cody Larson will be one of the league’s most athletic players. The Jackrabbits will also get a boost when former Wisconsin point guard George Marshall gets eligible in December. North Dakota State will be without Taylor Braun, Marshall Bjorklund and former head coach Saul Phillips, but the Bison have built a strong enough program to withstand the turnover. Expect big seasons from Lawrence Alexander and Kory Brown.
In: Oral Roberts Out: None
PRESEASON SUMMIT LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Brett Olson, Denver
Olson is the only player from last season’s all-Summit first-team to be returning to school this season after averaging 14.5 points, 3.6 assists and 3.5 boards. He shot 51.5% from beyond the arc in league play, but with Chris Udofia graduating, Joe Scott is going to need Olson to take on a more commanding role this season if the Pioneers are going to play their way out of a tough, balanced conference.
THE REST OF THE PRESEASON ALL-SUMMIT LEAGUE TEAM:
Cody Larson, South Dakota State, Sr.: Larson, who began his career at Florida, might be the bst athlete in the conference.
Obi Emegano, Oral Roberts, Jr.: Emegano was on pace to have a huge season in 2013-2014 but tore his ACL in the fourth game of the year.
Lawrence Alexander, North Dakota State, Sr.: A four-year starter at the point, Alexander will be the catalyst for the Bison, will have plenty of scoring to replace.
Steve Forbes, IPFW, Sr.: The big fella needs to get in shape and stay out of foul trouble, but he’s a monster when he does.