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Summit League Power Rankings: NDSU and Fort Wayne remain perched atop the Summit

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The top of the league looks the same, but there was plenty of shuffling in the middle.

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska Omaha at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

If you haven’t been paying attention to the Summit League thus far, you’re missing out on some exciting basketball. The games have been competitive, and there hasn’t been a single blowout (>19 points per KenPom.com) to this point during conference play.

The Summit League has also established itself as one of the most exciting when it comes to offense. Here’s where the Summit ranks among the conferences in some of the major KenPom offensive metrics:

  • Offensive Efficiency: 111.3 (1 of 32)
  • Effective FG%: 53.9% (1)
  • Three Point Percentage: 40.0% (1)
  • Free Throw Percentage: 76.1% (1)
  • Tempo: 73.1 Possessions per game (3)

Last week’s rankings can be found here.

Power Rankings

1. North Dakota State (11-5, 3-0, Previous: 1)

Last Week: 93-89 W vs IUPUI

In their lone game of the week, the Bison took care of business on their home court against IUPUI. It was a game that saw both teams commit over 20 fouls, but North Dakota State was able to take advantage at the stripe, hitting 29-39 (74.4%). In conference play, the Bison are tops in offensive turnover percentage, free throw rate, and two-point field goal percentage. That’s been the difference in closing out wins.

This Week: 1/11 at South Dakota, 1/14 at Denver

2. Fort Wayne (13-4, 3-1, Previous: 2)

Last Week: 80-78 W at Nebraska Omaha, 87-83 W vs Denver

The Mastodons had another pair of close calls last week, but pulled out two wins. Every night it seems like it’s a different member of the backcourt propelling the team to victory, and last week was no different. John Konchar put up 33 points in the win against the Mavericks, while Bryson Scott and Mo Evans scored 27 and 24 points, respectively, to close out the Pioneers. The Dons’ offense is rolling and doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon.

This Week: 115-60 W vs Olivet, 1/14 at South Dakota

3. South Dakota (12-7, 3-1, Previous: 6)

Last Week: 75-69 W at Denver, 85-74 W vs IUPUI

After a tough road loss to South Dakota State, the Coyotes bounced back with a solid pair of wins against Denver and IUPUI. They’re getting it done on the defensive side of the ball, and are holding opponents to 71.3 points per game in conference play, which is the lowest in the league. They’ve got the tough task of facing North Dakota State and Fort Wayne this week, but having both games at home provides a great opportunity to maintain momentum.

This Week: 1/11 vs North Dakota State, 1/14 vs Fort Wayne

4. Western Illinois (6-9, 3-1, Previous: 7)

Last Week: 82-74 W vs South Dakota State, 86-71 W vs Oral Roberts

The Leathernecks have been the biggest surprise thus far, and it’s not even close. After winning only one game against Div. I opponents in non-conference play, Western Illinois has won three-of-four to start conference play. Garrett Covington has been on a tear, averaging 24.8 points per game in those games.

This Week: 1/11 at Denver, 1/14 at Nebraska Omaha

5. IUPUI (7-10, 1-2, Previous: 4)

Last Week: 93-89 L at North Dakota State, 85-74 L at South Dakota

The Jaguars had an opportunity to pick up two great road wins in the span of three days, but weren’t able to close out either one. IUPUI has been crushing teams on the offensive glass (36.6 OR%), but are last in the league in two-point field goal percentage (42.6%). The Jags next four games come against the bottom four teams in these rankings, so they can make a move in the conference standings if they can capitalize.

This Week: 1/11 vs Nebraska Omaha, 1/14 at Oral Roberts

6. Denver (9-7, 1-2, Previous: 3)

Last Week: 75-69 L vs South Dakota, 87-83 L at Fort Wayne

The Pioneers’ six-game win streak came to an end last week and morphed into a two-game skid. The heart of their struggles come on the offensive end, where they rank eighth in the conference in offensive efficiency. As mentioned above, the league is scoring at an absurd level, and the Pioneers are still searching for gold in the offensive rush. A pair of home games this week is a perfect time to remedy their scoring woes.

This Week: 1/11 vs Western Illinois, 1/14 vs North Dakota State

7. Nebraska Omaha (8-9, 1-3, Previous: 8)

Last Week: 80-78 L vs Fort Wayne, 101-93 W at South Dakota State

Coming close to taking down Fort Wayne hurts, but finally getting into the win column against South Dakota State is a nice consolation. Marcus Tyus scored 25 and 34 points, en route to Player of the Week honors. Omaha’s game against IUPUI this week has the potential to be the highest scoring Summit game of the season, as those two teams play at the fastest tempo in the conference.

This Week: 1/11 at IUPUI, 1/14 vs Western Illinois

8. South Dakota State (8-11, 1-3, Previous: 5)

Last Week: 82-74 L at Western Illinois, 101-93 L vs Nebraska Omaha

The aspect of the game that is giving the Jackrabbits problems has been the same all season: defense. The Jacks are 333rd in KenPom’s defensive efficiency metric, the lowest in the conference by a significant margin. Also, when Mike Daum and Reed Tellinghuisen get in foul trouble, like they did last week, it’s hard for South Dakota State to get anything going on the offensive side of the ball.

This Week: 1/12 at Oral Roberts

9. Oral Roberts (4-13, 0-3, Previous: 9)

Last Week: 86-71 L at Western Illinois

The Golden Eagles have been a staple at the bottom of these rankings lately and still haven’t won a game in conference play. They’re getting torched from behind the arc in league play as opponents are shooting 52.8 percent from distance. However, their fortune can be turned around quickly with each of their next four games coming at home in Tulsa.

This Week: 1/12 vs South Dakota State, 1/14 vs IUPUI