I’ve probably said this about five times while putting together these conference previews, but the Summit League might be my favorite league in the country.
Because they score. And score and score and score. And if you know me, than you know that I appreciate a hard-fought defense battle as much as anyone. But if I have my druthers I’d be watching two teams get up and down the floor. Points aren’t a bad thing.
According to Kenpom, the Summit League leads the nation in offensive efficiency, shooting percentage from three and from two and, thus, effective field goal percentage. It would make sense, then, that three teams in the conference rank in the top 32 nationally in offensive efficiency without a single team cracking the top 132 in defensive efficiency.
The Summit League may be the only place where the saying “defense wins championships” doesn’t hold true.
Where: Sioux Falls, SD
When: March 3rd-March 6th
Final: March 6th, 9:00 p.m., ESPN2
Favorite: Oral Roberts
The Golden Eagles can play. I’ve seen them live. They are talented. Want to hear a crazy stat? They had five guys — five! — named to the preseason all-conference team. One of them doesn’t even start. Dominique Morrison, ORU’s leading scorer, is as smooth in the mid-range as anyone you’ll see play this season. With the shooters that Scott Sutton has surrounded him with, with Oral Roberts is on, they are going to be able to hang with anyone in the country. If there is an issue with this team, its that they aren’t all that big or deep up front. But that will only be a problem if they make the NCAA Tournament.
And if they lose?: South Dakota State
I’m sure you’ve seen the saying at some point if you are an avid college basketball fan: Naters gonna Nate. Its a play on words used to support SDSU point guard Nate Wolters, one of the nation’s most efficiency and productive players. 21.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 6.1 apg. That ain’t bad. The 34 points, five boards and seven assists he put on Washington in a 19 point win? That ain’t bad, either. SDSU can spread the floor with shooters, allowing Wolters to create for himself or to kick it out to the four players on the roster shooting better than 40% from three.
Sleepers: Oakland is the biggest sleeper. They are a very young team this season, but they certainly are talented. Reggie Hamilton is the most talented player in the conference, and when Travis Bader is shooting the ball well, Oakland can beat anyone in the league. I wouldn’t count out Western Illinois, either. They are the best defensive team in the conference.
– Dominique Morrison, Oral Roberts: Known as DoMo, this 6’6″ small forward doesn’t look like he’d be a great player, but he just knows how to score.
– Reggie Hamilton, Oakland: 25.5 ppg, 5.1 apg, 3.8 rpg, 2.0 spg, 40.5% 3PT. What else do you need to know?
– Alex Young, IUPUI: Its a shame he doesn’t have more of a supporting cast, because Young can flat out score.
– Nate Wolters, SDSU: Wolters reminds me a bit of Greivis Vazquez minus the turnovers. Bigger point guard, not all that quick but is a playmaker.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.