With almost a full month of basketball under their belts, Summit League teams have proven they are not to be taken lightly.
Nebraska Omaha secured the conference’s second win over a Big Ten team last weekend by upsetting Iowa, adding to Fort Wayne’s upset over then-No. 3 Indiana as the league’s marquee victories.
This week, there are plenty of opportunities to add names to that ledger. Five teams go on the road to face schools from power five conferences, four of which are in the KePom top-50.
The Summit League has used matchups like this to creep up in the KenPom conference rankings, leaping the Ivy league to get into the top half of the rankings at No. 16. Pulling an upset or two this week would go a long ways toward establishing the league as one of the tougher mid-major conferences.
Week 3 rankings can be found here.
1. Fort Wayne (7-2, Previous: 1)
Last Week: (3-0), Wins vs Siena Heights, at Austin Peay, vs Miami (OH)
This Week: 12/6 at No. 23 Notre Dame, 12/10 vs Austin Peay
The Mastodons continue to ride the momentum from the Indiana win, and have now won six straight games. Jon Coffman’s squad is scoring 88.7 points per game, good for 11th in the country. They’ll have another opportunity to pick up a marquee in-state win when they travel to South Bend to face the Fighting Irish.
2. Nebraska Omaha (4-4, Previous: 5)
Last Week: (2-0), Wins at Cal State Fullerton, at Iowa
This Week: 12/5 at No. 25 Iowa State (loss), 12/10 vs Montana State
As stated above, the Mavericks pulled a huge upset in Iowa City over the weekend. Omaha outgunned the Hawkeyes, 98-89 to pick up their second road win of the week. It didn’t get any easier, as the Mavericks were blown out in a difficult game against Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum on Monday night.
3. North Dakota State (6-3, Previous: 2)
Last Week: (1-1), Loss at Xavier, Win at North Carolina A&T
This Week: 12/7 vs North Dakota
Nothing out of the ordinary for the Bison. They simply don’t have the talent or athleticism to handle a team of Xavier’s caliber, but took care of business against North Carolina A&T. They return home for the first time since before Thanksgiving this week when they host in-state foe North Dakota.
4. IUPUI (3-5, Previous: 4)
Last Week: (1-1), Loss at Illinois State, Win at Ball State
This Week: 12/6 at Illinois, 12/10 at Miami (OH)
The Jaguars continued their stretch of six consecutive road games by splitting games last week. They struggled against the athleticism of a good Illinois State team, but picked up a great road win against Ball State. Jason Gardner & Co. will hope to pick up the league’s third win against the Big Ten when they face Illinois.
5. South Dakota State (4-6, Previous: 7)
Last Week: (2-0), Wins vs Minnesota Crookston, vs UMKC
This Week: 12/7 at Northern Iowa, 12/10 vs Idaho
After starting the season 1-6, the Jackrabbits have now won three straight. Mike Daum is one of the hardest mismatches in the league, and the catalyst for an offense that has averaged nearly 83 points in its wins. They’ll have a chance to continue the hot streak when they face a reeling Northern Iowa team.
6. South Dakota (6-4, Previous: 3)
Last Week: (0-2), Loss at UMKC, at Nebraska
This Week: 12/7 vs Montana State, 12/10 vs Sacramento State
The Coyotes cooled off after starting the year 5-1, losing four of their last five. They’re struggling from behind the arc shooting only 30.9 percent from distance. The good news is that they return home with a pair of very winnable games on the schedule.
7. Denver (3-4, Previous: 6)
Last Week: (1-1), Loss at Wyoming, Win at Weber State
This Week: 12/7 at Texas A&M, 12/10 at Air Force
Rodney Billups is still trying to get Denver going in his first year. Winning a road game against Weber State is a good start, and he’ll have the chance to build off of that with two road games this week. The Pioneers will be underdogs in both games, but staying competitive should be a good building block for the team moving forward.
8. Oral Roberts (1-7, Previous: 9)
Last Week: (0-2), Loss at Oakland, at Michigan State
This Week: 12/7 at Oklahoma, 12/10 vs John Brown
Oral Roberts nearly usurped Omaha’s crown for biggest win of the week, but ultimately fell short in an upset bid against Michigan State, losing 80-76. Another chance awaits the Golden Eagles as they travel to Oklahoma. On the bright side, they should get a win over John Brown, but will still be in search of their first win over a Div. I opponent.
9. Western Illinois (2-6, Previous: 8)
Last Week: (0-2) Loss at American, Loss (OT) vs Chicago State
This Week: 12/10 vs Eastern Illinois
Like Oral Roberts, the Leathernecks are still in search of a win against a Div. I opponent. They’re the only Kenpom-300+ Summit League team. But KenPom also considers them a one-point favorite over Eastern Illinois, and this might be their best chance at a win before conference play starts.