January 26, 2011

Summit League Power Rankings and Awards - At The Halfway Point

We're one-half of the way through the Summit League schedule, and the second half is shaping up to be incredibly exciting. Oakland made it through the first half of the season unbeaten in League play, and Centenary hasn't won. There are three teams tied at 6-3, with two more biting at their heels at 5-4. Western Illinois and Southern Utah are fighting for the final spot in the tournament.

And this time, I have graphs! (Take that Corey!)

Conference Ranks

BBState.com: 23
RPI: 21
Non-Con Record: 36-60 (.375)


Conference Leaders: Individual

Points Per Game
Young, IUPUI (19.8)

Points Per 40 Minutes
Wolters, SDST (23.2)

Field Goal %
Bjorklund, NDST (65.1)

3-Point Field Goal %
Wolters, SDST (50.8)

Free Throw %
Callahan, SDST (95.5)

Effective Field Goal %
Valentine, OAK (68.4)

Points Per Shot
Callahan, SDST (1.36)

True Shooting %
Callahan, SDST (68.8)

Benson, OAK (20.5)

Minutes Per Game
Young, IUPUI (36.8)

Rebounds Per Game
Benson, OAK (10.2)

Rebound Rate
Siakam, IUPUI (22.2)

Assists Per Game
Wolters, SDST (6.0)

Wolters, SDST (2.8:1)

Assist Rate
Wolters, SDST (71.8)

Steals Per Game
Jones Jr., SUU (1.7)

Blocks Per Game
Benson, OAK (3.6)

Block Rate
Benson, OAK (8.5)

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Conference Leaders: Team

Points For
Oakland (82.6)

Points Against
Western Illinois (62.7)

Field Goal %
Oakland (48.1)

Free Throw %
IPFW (77.4)

Rebounds Per Game
Oakland (36.8)

Assists Per Game
South Dakota State (15.7)

South Dakota State (1.567:1)

Turnovers Per Game
South Dakota State (10.1)

Steals Per Game
Centenary (7.4)

Points Per Shot
Oakland (1.16)

Possessions Per 40 Minutes
Oakland (73.2)

Points Per Possession
South Dakota State (1.14)

Points Allowed Per Possession
IPFW (1.02)


Power Rankings
Remember these are subjective rankings. Disagree? Say something!

I would like to point out that I don't believe anyone out of the top five could even remotely pull an upset in the Summit League Championship Game this March. I've separated those teams by a simple line. Yes, a line. Not a square or a trapezoid, but a line. Also included is a graph of each team's ranking over the season so far. BBState.com, RPI, SOS, and finally, at the bottom, a graph showing the fluctuation of each team through the power rankings thus far.

'Award' Criteria:
MVP- Best player for each team, plain and simple. Who would they be lost without?
Sixth Man- Best player averaging between 15&20 minutes per game. Depending on the team, the MPG can fluctuate, just someone who isn't seeing a lot of floor time but still making a big impact.
Best Stat- Something that just knocks your socks off when you see it, as well as impacts the win/loss columns.

1) Oakland 14-8 (9-0)
Click To Enlarge
Previous: 1
Actual Seed: #1
BB State: 71
RPI: 59
SOS: 80
Last Week: 2-0
MVP: Keith Benson. Leads the team in points (17.3), minutes (32.0), rebounds (10.2), blocks (3.6), and efficiency (21.6). He is freakishly good at defense, and his presence offensively draws a double team every time he touches the ball which leaves one of the other great players on that Oakland team wide open.
Sixth Man: Ilija Milutinovic. His 7-0, 252 lb frame helps give Benson and Will Hudson a rest. He's played in all 22 games, averaging 10.9 minutes, 2.5 rebounds, while shooting 49% and 1.2 points per shot.
Best Stat: Multiple. All of their offensive numbers are insanely good. They are #1 or #2 in the Summit League in: Effective-FG%, 2P-FG%, PPWS, True Shooting %, O-PPP, Floor %, APG, RPG, Reb Rate, and Blocks.

Oakland is a damn good basketball team. There's nothing else to say. I'd be shocked if they don't go undefeated in the conference, especially after successfully beating all the Dakotas and Oral Roberts in Tulsa. Their only major task left is playing at IUPUI, but with a three game lead in the conference it's not looking good for anyone else.

2) Oral Roberts 9-12 (6-3)
Click To Enlarge
Previous: 4
Actual Seed: #2
BB State: 166
RPI: 175
SOS: 144
Last Week: 1-0
MVP: Dominique Morrison. While he was out with a knee injury, ORU looked like a completely different team. A non-contender, even. In though he has missed some time, he's still averaging 18.2 points, 33.4 minutes, 77.7% at the line, 1.5 assists, 16.3 efficiency, and 1.21 points per shot, all numbers that lead the team.
Sixth Man: None. No one has come off the bench regularly to impact the game in any tangible way.
Best Stat: 4 Players Averaging 12.3 Points Or More. Obviously Morrison is leading the team at 18.2 points, but the Golden Eagles also have three other players (Steven Rundtree [12.3], Damen Bell-Holter [12.9], and Warren Niles [14.0]) are all chipping in substantially.

Oral Roberts has been riding the razor's edge all year. They're two last second shots from a 4-5 League record, and they lost to North Dakota State and IPFW. They've still got games at Oakland and IPFW, then in Tulsa against the Dakotas and IUPUI. Scott Sutton is famous for beating big name teams, but notorious for his teams under-performing when it comes to the League.

3) IUPUI 12-10 (6-3)
Click To Enlarge
Previous: 2
Actual Seed: #3
BB State: 137
RPI: 115
SOS: 106
Last Week: 1-1
MVP: Alex Young. If you've seen IUPUI play, you'll know why. This kid is a future NBA player (especially if he stays to develop one more year...ahem...) who can do everything from the hitting the game-winning three to slashing to the hoop to leading the team in rebounds (6.6 per game). He also leads the Jaguars in points (19.8), minutes (36.8), steals (1.6), and blocks (0.7).
Sixth Man: Donovan Gibbs. Though I personally don't think he's being utilized to his full potential, Devo has been deadly accurate on offense and perfectly lanky on D. In 14.3 minutes he's shooting nearly 60% (1.1 PPWS) and sees many of his minutes as time is ticking down...He does a great job as a baseline defender.
Best Stat: Fouls & Turnovers. 15.0 fouls per game is good enough for 9th in the nation. Teams aren't getting free points at the line, or off of turnovers, as IUPUI is at 11.1 per game, 19th nationally.

IUPUI is another Summit League enigma. They've got to get their act together on the road, especially before heading up to Fargo and Brookings and then Tulsa. Then again, their losses have come in double overtime at UMKC and on a last second shot to Oral Roberts. The Jaguars have shown a lot of growing pains trying to replace three major post players, but Alex & Leroy Nobles have done a great job stepping up to carry the load.

4) South Dakota State 13-7 (5-4)
Click To Enlarge
Previous: 3
Actual Seed: #5
BB State: 168
RPI: 196
SOS: 310
Last Week: 1-1
MVP: Nate Wolters. He's in the running for POY in the Summit League for sure. He leads the Jacks in minutes (32.4), assists (6.0*), three point % (50.8*), steals (1.5), assists:turnovers (2.8:1*), and assist rate (71.8*). The starred statistics are things Wolters leads the League in, too.
Sixth Man: Chad White. The freshman is averaging 8.7 points on 51% shooting, averaging 21.3 minutes per contest.
Best Stat: Three Point Shooting. SDST is shooting 42.7% from behind the arc on the season, 43.5% in Summit League games. That is good enough #2 nationally. They've had a player with 5 three pointers made in six different games (5 of the 6 times it was Clint Sargent).

This team is dangerous. Nate Wolters is just a sophomore, but he's playing like Ben Woodside. Despite their 5-4 record, they could absolutely beat anyone with their style of play. It's hard to say they're a lock to take down Oakland because of their lack of size, but they are definitely not out of the conversation. The Jacks will have UMKC, SUU, IUPUI, and WIU at home where they will have to win out for a shot at the #2 seed. I guess the thing that scares me is their strength of schedule (310). Also, their loss to NDST is looking more and more surprising as the season wears on...

5) IPFW 12-7 (6-3)
Click To Enlarge
Previous: 5
Actual Seed: #4
BB State: 153
RPI: 156
SOS: 271
Last Week: 1-1
MVP: Ben Botts. This kid is like the little engine that could annoy you throughout the entire game. He's not the fastest, biggest, or smartest...but man can he play when he needs to. 14.4 points, 47.6 3P, 13.2 efficiency, 61.2% effective FG, 65.3% true shooting, leading the team in all categories.
Sixth Man: Jeremy Mixon. Despite starting zero of IPFW's 18 games, he's still averaging 21.1 minutes and 2.0 assists. Mixon is hitting 46% of his shots (10.3 ppg) and has gone for double digits in 12 of 18 games.
Best Stat: 38.8% 3P. Though IPFW is slipping a bit, their incredible three point shooting has kept them in close games.

IPFW has an inflated record, let's be honest. They are not the third best team in the Summit League. A game between them and UMKC or NDST in the tournament will be a good one. Including their win against a banged up Oral Roberts team, IFPW is 1-3 against the top 4 teams in the Summit League.

Progression of the Student On Sports Weekly Power Rankings, Top 5....
Oakland: 1, 1, 1, 1
Oral Roberts: 3, 3, 4, 2
IUPUI: 4, 2, 2, 3
South Dakota State: 4, 6, 3, 4
IPFW: 2, 5, 5, 5


6) UMKC 12-8 (5-4)
Click To Enlarge
Previous: 6
Actual Seed: #6
BB State: 256
RPI: 218
SOS: 329
Last Week: 2-0
MVP: Jay Couisnard. I'm not sure where UMKC would be without Jay. He is in the top three of every single offensive and defensive category except free throw % (6th), and assist rate (4th).
Sixth Man: None. No one has come off the bench regularly to impact the game in any tangible way.
Best Stat: None. There is not a particular outstanding statistic that would be reason for success.

UMKC is an alright team, but nothing special. Their team leaders for all but one category? Seniors. And for some reason, the youngest Korver isn't playing at all this year, and no one knows why. Losing Couisnard, Spencer Johnson, and Bakari Lewis to graduation is going to be devastating. The win over IUPUI shouldn't be counted for much, the Jaguars snuck out with a 1-point victory in Kansas City last year before stomping the Roos at home later in the season.

7) North Dakota State 9-10 (3-6)
Click To Enlarge
Previous: 7
Actual Seed: #7
BB State: 188
RPI: 249
SOS: 283
Last Week: 0-2
MVP: Michael Tveidt. Averaging 14.1 points, Tveidt was key during NDST's run early in the season. He's been doing a little of everything, averaging 3.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Of late, however, his all around performances have lacked. Since a 76-60 win over Centenary, he hasn't shot better than 44% and hasn't had an efficiency over 12.
Sixth Man: Nate Zastrow. Despite fluctuating minutes, Zastrow has scored double digits four times this year (Oregon, Denver, South Dakota State, and IPFW) and chipped in for 2+ assists eight times. As just a sophomore, we'll likely see him contributing significantly next season.
Best Stat: 9, 14.1-4.9. Of the 10 players for the Bison who have seen action in all 19 games, 9 of them are averaging between 14.1 and 4.9 points per game. They are truly sharing the wealth in all kinds of ways. The bad news? Besides Tveidt, they don't have a true standout player.

North Dakota State is equally as hard to judge as UMKC and IPFW. Wins over Oral Roberts and South Dakota state show just how good the Bison can be...but losses at Southern Utah, UMKC, and Western Illinois make me extremely wary to put any kind of money on them. Someone has got to step up and help Tveidt, and soon.

8) Southern Utah 6-13 (3-6)
Click To Enlarge
Previous: T-8
Actual Seed: #8
BB State: 308
RPI: 288
SOS: 257
Last Week: 1-1
MVP: Ray Jones Jr. I guess he's the MVP by default. He's averaging 33.5 minutes per game to Matt Massey's 22.2 - and Massey is second on the team.
Sixth Man: None. No one has come off the bench regularly to impact the game in any tangible way.
Best Stat: None. There is not a particular outstanding statistic that would be reason for success.

Southern Utah just doesn't have the talent to compete with anyone in the Summit League. For the remainder of the season, they'll be existing on a wing and a prayer, trying to not embarrass themselves before their exit to the Big Sky conference in 2012. It's not quite a farewell tour, but you know they'd like to on a winning track before switching conferences.

9) Western Illinois 7-12 (2-7)
Click To Enlarge
Previous: T-8
Actual Seed: #9
BB State: 278
RPI: 313
SOS: 317
Last Week: 0-2
MVP: Michael Lander. Lander has done a fantastic job filling in for the injured Ceola Clark III. He's averaging 16.4 points on nearly 40% free throw shooting, in conjunction with 2.4 assists and 43% field goal shooting. He's been forced to lead, even though he is a much better two-guard. But let's face it: WIU would be absolutely horrible without him.
Sixth Man: Brandon Smith. Smith is another player that has been thrust into the lineup at the guard spot since Clark's injury. As the season wears on, his production has increased gradually. Since the IUPUI game, he's gone for 7.5 points per game after averaging 3.2 in the 11 games before then.
Best Stat: 62.7. Western Illinois' defense is the most potent in the League, allowing 7 less points than the next best defense. [Note: Their offense is a disturbingly impotent. They've scored 25 less points per game than League-leading Oakland.

Western was a sleeper for a lot of people, especially with last year's Summit League Defensive Player of the Year in Ceola Clark III. Unfortunately for WIU, Clark has not played since the Oral Roberts game on 12/02. Western Illinois is was 3-4 up until then, playing Mizzu tough on the road. Since the second, WIU is an abominable 4-8, including a one-point win over Division-2 Purdue Calumet, a six-point victory against soon-to-be Division-3 Centenary, and an unimpressive 68-44 downing of NAIA Culver-Stockton. They're spiraling out of control, quickly.

10) Centenary 0-21 (0-9)
Click To Enlarge
Previous: 10
Actual Seed: #10
BB State: 345
RPI: 343
SOS: 257
Last Week: 0-2
MVP: Maxx Nakwaasah. The only upperclassman seeing any kind of decent time (there's only one other junior...), is doing the best he can to keep this poor team going. Maxx is leading the team in points (11.6), minutes (28.9 - wow), steals (0.8), efficiency (8.5 - OUCH), points per shot (0.96 - OOF), and true shooting % (48.5).
Sixth Man: None. No one has come off the bench regularly to impact the game in any tangible way.
Best Stat: Turnovers Forced. The Centenary defense hasn't done much, but they are forcing a lot of turnovers. In fact, they've forced a whopping 15.9 per game in League play.

Poor, poor Centenary. Adam Walsh is doing everything he can to get his guys to compete...but wow. Do I think they'll win this year? No. Just look at their offensive numbers: 334th FG%, 328th 2P FG%, 342nd 3P FG%, 336th PPWS, 333rd FT%, 343 O-PPP. They're just over matched.

Progression of the Student On Sports Weekly Power Rankings, Bottom 5....
North Dakota State: 6, 4, 7, 7
UMKC: 7, 7, 6, 6
Southern Utah: 8, 9, 8, 8
Western Illinois: 9, 8, 8, 9
Centenary: 10, 10, 10, 10


First Half All-Student On Sports First Team:
G Nate Wolters, South Dakota State
G Reggie Hamilton, Oakland
F Dominique Morrison, Oral Roberts
F Alex Young, IUPUI
C Keith Benson, Oakland

Note: The League is really, really deep in talent. Unlike last year, there are too many good players to choose from. I think the First Team is locked solid, but a second and third and fourth team could all be legitimately great squads.


Play of the First Half: Oral Robert's Buzzer Beater
Let's be honest, this could be one of the best plays in this decade of college basketball.


Stat of the First Half: 9-0.
Oakland is absolutely wrecking the Summit League. Wow.


  1. Great post. I am surprised you have Hamilton on your first team over Leroy Nobles just from being a fan point of view. I think that spot will go to one or the other unless some other guard has an incredible second-half. You can make a strong case for either one. Nobles is avg 19.6 points per game, fourth in conference, in league games only which is just nuts. It seems like IUPUI always has two proliferate scorers.

    And lol thanks for the shoutout!

  2. where's the Facebook group(s)/event(s) for the Conseco games? I'm anxious to get on the list, spread the word, and pack that place...

    The Oakland game is going to be awesome...