College Basketball Betting: Summit League Tournament Preview
The top-eight teams in the Summit League head to Sioux Falls for this season’s conference tournament, beginning on Thursday. The last-place team Western Illinois missed out, as the league goes with a straight-ahead format beginning with a quarter-final round. The league has some depth to it this year as five squads posted winning records in conference play.
Favorite – The North Dakota State Bison won last year’s tourney at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls as the fourth seed. This time around, they are the top-seed, having gone 13-3 in conference play. The Bison have won nine of their last ten games, including a recent home overtime win against South Dakota State, with whom it tied for the regular-season crown. This would be a toss-up perhaps, but the edge goes to North Dakota State here. One reason, is that SDSU’s best player on both ends of the floor, Doug Wilson, is questionable with a nagging foot injury. North Dakota State look to have a fairly easy run to the final. The team beat eight-seed Denver comfortably both home and away, and took three of four against Nebraska-Omaha and Oral Roberts, one of whom it would meet in the semi-final round. While NDSU lacks the firepower of both SDSU and third-seed South Dakota, its defense should carry the day. The Bison ranks 164th in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency rating. SDSU and South Dakota rank 226th and 303rd, respectively.
Darkhorse – While this wouldn’t be a massive upset, the three-seed emerging as the champion would be something of a surprise. South Dakota was actually the highest-ranked Summit League team in the KenPom preseason ratings, coming in at 129th. NDSU and SDSU were ranked 164th and 209th, respectively. South Dakota should be able to draw confidence from the way it has played both higher-seeded teams this season. Against SDSU, the Coyotes went 1-1, trouncing the Jackrabbits 99-84 at home, and losing by only five on the road. While the team did lose both of its games against favorite NDSU, South Dakota hung tough on both occasions. The Coyotes lost those two games by a combined five points. Tyler Hagedorn is arguably the best big man in the entire conference, averaging 18.1 PPG and 6.9 RPG. He is also a fantastic outside shooter, hitting on 51.5% of his shots from distance. South Dakota won easily in both of its matchups against its first-round opponent North Dakota, so a semi-final berth looks likely.
What to Bet – It’s a safe play, but look for North Dakota State to make a statement in its opening game against eight-seed Denver. The Bison won both regular season matchups by double-digits. Denver is 0-14 SU away from home and is facing an NDSU team that has shown itself to be very comfortable in this arena. North Dakota State are an impressive 7-1 ATS as a road favorite this season, showing a propensity for taking care of business against lesser foes.
Odds to Win Tournament
North Dakota State +190
South Dakota State +200
Oral Roberts +400
South Dakota +400
North Dakota +2500
Fort Wayne +3500