Friday, March 3, 2017

Summit League conference tournament

This is part 13 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country.  We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.

The standings:
South Dakota 12-4
North Dakota St 11-5
Nebraska-Omaha 9-7
South Dakota St 8-8
Denver 8-8
IPFW 8-8
Western Illinois 5-11
Oral Roberts 4-12

Tournament format:
Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Quarterfinals Saturday/Sunday March 4/5, up to the finals on Tuesday March 7.  Only the top 8 get invited, so GTFO, Oral Bob.

The matchups:
1) South Dakota vs. 8) Western Illinois
4) South Dakota St vs. 5) Denver
3) Nebraska-Omaha vs. 6) IPFW
2) North Dakota St vs. 7) IUPUI

The stakes:
Summit is RPI 18.  Borderline 13/14 seed on paper, closer to the 14/15 borderline in reality.  South Dakota stole the league from NDSU at the gun, and their RPI of 106 is actually very poor compared to other conference leaders.  No Top 100 wins and a marginal SoS currently have them tracking the 15 line, that would probably bump up to a 14, but still.  NDSU has fallen below RPI 100 as well, without anything on the resume that would save themselves.  It kind of feels like fate that either team would wind up as a 14 seed, with no real chance at a 13.  Enough upsets would happen elsewhere to avoid the 15, I think.

The conference's best wins are actually downballot.  Omaha beat Iowa and IPFW beat Indiana.  Both are CIT eligible and in good shape to get an invite to whatever EIEIO tournament they want.  Denver is also eligible, but their resume is a bit behind the top 4, they'd be a EIEIO bubble team.

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