March 18, 2011

Five Thoughts: The 2011-12 Summit League

Oakland falling to Texas marks the official end of Summit League basketball this season. Let's take a brief look into the 2011-12 season.

1) Oakland's style will change drastically.
This year, OU made its opponents pay by forcing a high-tempo game. When an opponent attempted to slow things down, big men Will Hudson and Keith Benson easily imposed their wills (some pun intended on that one) to keep the Grizzlies rolling. With those two graduating, in addition to Sixth Man of the Year Larry Wright, the dynamic of Oakland's attack is going to be very different. Expect plenty of high scoring, low percentage bouts.

2) Oral Roberts is going to be REALLY good.
The Golden Eagles graduate exactly zero decent minute earners, while Steven Roundtree will do nothing but get better. ORU could have three All-Summit guys next year (Roundtree, Michael Craion, and Dominique Morrison), and will be the undisputed pre-season number one pick.

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3) South Dakota and Southern Utah will raise the competitive bar.
The Coyotes enter the Summit League as an official member next year, replacing the Division-3 bound Centenary Gentlemen. The 'Yotes, as their faithful refer to them, will immediately bring the basement of the Summit League up. Southern Utah returns all of their key guys except Ryan Brimley, again adding to the talent at the bottom of the League. If you thought 2010-11 was crazy, just wait until next year.

4) IUPUI will be really hurt if Alex Young leaves.
The Jaguars are already losing half of their dynamic duo with Leroy Nobles graduating, and if Young leaves to play pro ball somewhere, the IUPUI will be in trouble. That would mean over 35 points per game gone. Young is a  shoe-in for Summit League Player of the Year if he stays, but no one is sure what he'll be doing.

5) How about a Tournament victory?
With all of the talent passing in and out of the League each year, how about we, as a conference, use that to our advantage and not lay an egg in the NCAA Tournament? Come on, now.

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