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Summit League Notebook: The state of South Dakota owns the league

The Summit League looks like it’s gonna run through The Mount Rushmore State.

NCAA Basketball: South Dakota State at Nevada Ed Andersen-USA TODAY Sports

By now, it’s a general understanding that finals week is pretty light on the hardwood. So there wasn’t much to happening in the Summit League last week.

Wyoming claimed Rocky Mountain supremacy over Denver on Dec. 11, but all other Summit League happenings (worth mentioning) occurred over the weekend.

And boy were there some Summit League doozies.

1. South Dakota State: Well, the Jackrabbits were right there. They nearly stunned No. 7 Nevada in the heart of the “Biggest Little City in the World.” Nevada escaped with a 72-68 win, and oh what could have been for the Jackrabbits if Mr. Summit League, Mike Daum, hadn’t been limited to five points on 1-10 shooting. It goes without saying that South Dakota State will be able to hang with any team in the country, especially when the Jackrabbits were whiskers away from upending a top-10 team in a true road game.

2. South Dakota: The Coyotes stole the Sunday spotlight with a 68-63 victory over Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colorado. South Dakota isn’t going to overwhelm anyone with a vast wealth of talent, but guys like Stanley Umude, Tyler Peterson, Trey Burch-Manning and Triston Simpson are good enough to get the job done in games like Sunday’s against the Rams.

(Large, LARGE GAP)

3. Purdue Fort Wayne: The third-best team in the Summit League was demoralized in a 95-68 beatdown at the hands of Austin Peay on Saturday. John Konchar could be one of the best players in the country that no one talks about, but he scored 24 against Austin Peay but didn’t get much help anyone else on the roster.

4. North Dakota: Cortez Seales is looking like a fun new addition to the Summit League. Granted it was against Mayville State -- pride of Mayville, North Dakota -- but Seales posted a nice all-around game: 22 points (career high), five rebounds, five assists and a block. That’ll play any night in the Summit League -- regardless of the opponent.

5. North Dakota State: Somehow the Bison came up with a 74-67 win over Missouri State over the weekend despite turning the ball over 19 times and allowing the Bears to attempt 27 more shots. North Dakota State let an 18-point lead evaporate in the second half, but it was able to hold off Missouri State in the closing minutes. Vinnie Shahid led the Bison with 19 points.

6. Western Illinois: It was reunion time on Saturday in Indianapolis. Old familiar foes -- WIU and IUPUI -- squared off, but it was the former Summit League member, IUPUI, who posted an 82-68 win, thanks to a 12-0 run to end the game. Per usual, Kobe Webster led the Leathernecks on offense, this time with 19 points. C.J. Duff added 13 points of his own, but contributions from other Leathernecks were few and far between.

7. Omaha: Stealing a victory from Vandals is winning personified -- or at least it is if you’re Omaha. The Mavericks marched into Moscow, Idaho, and stormed out with a 89-80 victory, thanks in large part to 34 combined points between Mitch Hahn and Matt Pile.

8. Denver: Fresh off back-to-back 90-point efforts last week, the Pioneers shot 28.6 percent from the field in an 86-52 blowout loss to UC Irvine on Saturday. Tory Stewart-Miller and Ronnie Harrell Jr. started and combined to go 0-11 from the field for three points. If not for Joe Rosga (11 points on 4-10 shooting), it could have been even worse for Devner.

9. Oral Roberts: The Golden Eagles committed 20 turnovers and made only 3-8 free throw attempts, but still managed to win, 59-52, at Richmond on Saturday. Richmond fired off 19 more shots and displayed better ball control (only 14 turnovers), but the Spiders still managed to get beat by an ORU team that had only one victory this season over a Division I program before the weekend.

News and notes

  • The Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, had perhaps the biggest news of the weekend: Augustana is soon to join the Division I ranks. And, based on reporting by Matt Zimmer, it sounds like the Vikings are destined to joined the Summit League.
  • Mike Daum now has 2,551 career points at South Dakota State. He is currently tied for 45th on the NCAA’s all-time scoring list.
  • Omaha’s JT Gibson has now scored in double figures in nine straight games.
  • South Dakota’s Cody Kelley (28 points combined in wins over Bellevue and Colorado State) and Omaha’s Mitch Hahn (21 points against Idaho) split Player of the Week honors in the league. Only one week (Nov. 19) has a player not from the state of South Dakota at least shared player of the week honors this season.

Game of the week: South Dakota at Kansas, 7 p.m. Tuesday

Hey, it may not be a close game, but it’s a chance for a Summit League team to take a crack at the nation’s top-ranked team. As for a possible alternative as the conference’s best game of the week, it could be when Southern Miss ventures to South Dakota on Friday.

P.S: South Dakota State at Eastern Washington (Tuesday night) would be a fun college football game, but that’s a cake walk for the Jackrabbits on the hardwood.