by Michael Hadley
The Summit League is a crazy place to be for a basketball fan. Not only do things never really go as they seem they should, every week is like an experience within itself. Teams and players you expect to flop come from 18 points down, and guys that are due for a monster week fade away into the obscurity that is the so-called Badlands Conference.
How did each team's performance through the first two conference matches reflect on their overall standing? Who surprised, who shocked, and who flopped? This is your Student On Sports Weekly Awards for the first week of Summit League play.
Student On Sports Weekly Awards - Summit League Play, Week One
Individual Performance Of The Week: Nate Wolters vs IUPUI
32 points (12-26 FG, 4-9 3P, 4-5 FT); 8 REB; 8 AST; 1 STL; 27 EFF in 43 (of 45) minutes.
Despite some poor passes leading to five turnovers, Wolters put on an absolute show. Several of his three-point attempts - and makes - would make NBA players blush, and his ability to find an open man is scary for any defender. For a guy billed as a point guard, he sure does connect on some incredible shots, as well as take a whole bunch. Wolters is definitely in the running for Player of the Year with games like this.
Team of the Week: South Dakota State (2-0)
After nearly losing a huge lead against IUPUI, the Jackrabbits were forced to gut out a win at the surprising Western Illinois - but they did it. Looking across their team statistics, there is no more balanced, potent team than SDSU. They are shooting 42.6 percent from deep, 77.5 percent from the line, rebounding a steady 36 shots per game, assisting 17 (61.8 percent) of their made buckets, have an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.6:1, best in the conference by .3 (the biggest margin between any two teams) and turn it over only ten times a game. The Jacks were picked fourth in the conference, but against good competition they succeeded.
Best Victory: Tie, UMKC 81-66 IPFW; WIU 55-51 NDSU
Both the Leathernecks and the Roos were searching for an identity all season, being embarrassed at nearly every pass. Each team came up with convincing wins in their own way, playing their kind of basketball. Western Illinois shut down the NDSU shooters, playing lockdown defense that forced 20 NDSU turnovers. WIU lives and dies by their defensive performance, and this kind of win can create some serious momentum for the rest of the Summit schedule. UMKC was tabbed as one of the bottom feeders of the conference, but with seven of their nine players over seven points on the game, the Roos may have found their stride. A 1.47 points per shot average is astounding for any team, and lead IPFW in three of the four major percent categories (turnover rate, shooting efficiency, and free throws). The Roos need to increase their presence in the paint moving forward, but the squad we had first assumed would skid and fail is showing life.
Worst Defeat: IUPUI 79-84 NDSU
IUPUI just can't seem to get their act together. Coming off of a gutsy second half performance against SDSU (forcing overtime after being down 15 points with less than ten minutes to play) the Jaguars flopped against North Dakota State. IUPUI shot 31 more times than the Bison and made one less bucket, out rebounded NDSU offensively 20-6 but missed 23 percent more of their shots, and played starters Mitchell Patton and Lyonell Gaines six and eight minutes respectively. IUPUI is 2-7 this year, and have trailed by at least six in every game but against Anderson (non-D1) and Georgetown (some how). Todd Howard and crew need to turn things around before the entire season is lost.
The Student On Sports Power Rankings reflect Summit League games only.
1. Oakland (2-0)
2. South Dakota State (2-0)
3. Oral Roberts (1-0)
4. North Dakota State (1-1)
5. UMKC (1-1)
6. Western Illinois (1-1)
7. IPFW (1-1)
8. Southern Utah (0-1)
9. IUPUI (0-2)
10. South Dakota (0-2)