There are 16 left in the WNIT after a batch of Monday night games. Round 3 is Wed.-Fri. The highest-ranked team in the field based on RPI, No. 30 Southern Miss, bowed out Monday in a double-overtime loss at Mississippi State. MSU has a regional tie – all-SEC center Martha Alwai is from Worthington, Minn., same as SDSU guard Gabby Boever. Also of note: * There are four Big Ten teams left. Two face off with Indiana hosting Northwestern. There’s also an all-SEC meeting with Mississippi State hosting Auburn. The Pac-12 as two reps in Washington and Colorado. * The RPI range of the remaining field: 32-138. That’s Bowling Green State on top and Seton Hall at the bottom. * Home teams are 40-8 through two rounds. * Minnesota at SDSU on Thursday is the best game in terms of RPI, the only matchup of top 50 teams. The Gophers are 46th and the Jacks 49th.
The Old Dominion club that eliminated SDSU from the College Basketball Invitational clobbered Radford 82-59 on Monday night to reach the semifinals. The others in the group: Siena, Illinois State and Fresno State.
The SDSU baseball team (11-11) starts Summit League play this week, visiting Western Illinois (2-15) in a Friday doubleheader than taking on Omaha (10-9) for two on Sunday. The latter figures to be especially important; the Mavericks are the defending regular-season champs and the Jacks are the defending conference tourney champs. At the moment, they lead the Summit in wins, too. SDSU coach Dave Schrage said the non-conference slate has prepared the Jacks for just about anything. And he continues to feel good about the pitching and defense. Still, injuries have started to surface. Third baseman/DH Jordan Varga will play through a shoulder issue, while senior pitcher Kolton Emery may miss time as the No. 4 starter. If he does, Joe Erickson or Marcus Heemstra – back from basketball – could fill in.
Former SDSU pitcher Blake Treinen on Monday was cut from Washington Nationals spring training and sent to minor-league camp. That’s despite making a serious run at making the opening-day roster in the bullpen. The righty worked 9.2 innings over six appearances, allowing five earned runs, walking three and striking out nine. Treinen finished last season with Double-A Harrisburg. The Nats’ Triple-A club is the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League.
The NCAA Division I basketball postseason continues in Brookings and around the country. Some notes:
Creighton women’s coach Jim Flanery said after a Sunday loss to South Dakota State that the Bluejays are slated to play in Brookings again during the 2014-15 season. He also expressed that his program aspires to have the kind of fan support that SDSU does.
SDSU made available for free 600 students tickets for the Creighton game. Only about 100 were claimed prior to game day. Still, attendance was up about 300 from Round 1. Things are expected to spike this week for the game against Minnesota.
Elsewhere in the WNIT, home teams went 27-5 in Round 1 and favorites based on RPI went 24-8. The only teams that won on the road AND pulled off an upset: Southern Utah, IUPUI and Harvard. Round 2 features a Pac-12 vs. Pac-12 matchup (Washington vs. Oregon) and includes 12 teams ranked in the top 64.
SDSU is the only Summit League rep left in the WNIT with IUPUI falling 88-52 at Northwestern on Sunday. That game was attended by 585 people.
This is the third time in Summit history a team has won two games in the same postseason. The others: Valpo in the 2002 WNIT; Oral Roberts in the 2011 WNIT; and USD in the 2013 WBI.
The NCAA women’s tournament moves into the Round of 32 today. Four teams the Jacks faced during the regular season (Penn State, Notre Dame, BYU and Stanford) are still in the mix, while Middle Tennessee State, Florida Gulf Coast and South Dakota are done. On the men’s side, SDSU foe Stanford is into the Sweet 16, while North Dakota State made the Round of 32.
How do you handle your rival school getting into the Round of 32 of the NCAA tourney? If you’re SDSU true freshman guard Anders Broman you go to the gym. He was at Frost Arena getting up shots well the SDSU women’s WNIT game on Thursday.
The Forum this week dove into the future of NDSU men’s basketball coach Saul Phillips. The article mentioned that Denver coach Joe Scott was scheduled to make $412,000 this season and Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton $483,000. Phillips is at $175,000. SDSU coach Scott Nagy got bumped up to $200,000 after taking the Jacks to consecutive NCAA tournaments.
More postseason basketball notes today. The next batch of live coverage comes Sunday afternoon from Frost Arena for South Dakota State vs. Creighton in Round 2 of the WNIT:
SDSU knocked down 10 3-pointers on a season-high 28 tries from deep in a Thursday night win over Butler. The Jackrabbits improved to 3-2 all-time in the WNIT.
Jacks freshman Kerri Young, the sixth woman of the year in the Summit League, did not score for the first time this season. She finished 0 of 1 from the field in 13 minutes. Meanwhile, all-Summit pick Megan Waytashek did not grab a rebound for the first time this season.
Butler center Liz Stratman – the Big East defensive player of the year – finished with 15 points, 12 boards and six blocks. Four of those blocks came in the first 8 minutes of the first half, the Jacks effectively adjusting from there to end up with a 24-18 edge on points in the paint.
The Jacks improved to 18-0 when leading at the half.
Attendance for the game was 1,812. That’s one less than the SDSU regular-season average and about 3,000 less than its previous low for a WNIT home game. Still, it was only about 100 off what Drexel drew for the 2013 championship game. Butler averaged 519 at home this season, and coach Beth Couture praised the environment.
The winner of SDSU at Creighton will face the winner of SMU at Minnesota in the Round of 16 somewhere from March 26-28.
Like SDSU, IUPUI won a first-round game in the WNIT on Thursday night. It makes the first time the Summit League has won so many Round 1 games in the event. The Jags – who beat Central Michigan minus injured MAC player of the year Crystal Bradford – will play at Northwestern in Round 2 on Sunday.
As you might have heard, North Dakota State topped Oklahoma in the NCAA Division I men’s tourney to become the first Summit squad since 1998 to reach the Round of 32. There is a direct financial benefit in the form of an extra tournament share – that’s about $1.5 million over six years. The Summit typically splits that between the member schools.
In the CIT Round of 16 Fort Wayne will visit VMI on Saturday and Omaha heads to Murray State on Monday. The Summit previously hadn’t had two teams advance in the same men’s postseason event in a single season.
Plenty of postseason hoops Wednesday night - and more tonight with South Dakota State hosting Butler in the WNIT. (I’ll have live coverage starting at 6:30 p.m.). Some notes and/or thoughts:
The SDSU men were done in by a disinterested first half against Old Dominion in Round 1 of the CBI, falling to 0-3 in NCAA Division I postseason games. It’ll be interesting tonight to see if the SDSU women seem similarly deflated by not being in the Big Dance. (Coach Aaron Johnston hasn’t been pleased with the recent practices.) The Jacks end the season at 19-13. That includes an 0-3 start, an 0-2 end and 19-8 in between. (More on the season next week, after some time to process.)
One of the obvious bright spots in the loss was the play of junior wing Zach Horstman. He put up a career-high 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting plus 5 boards. It’ll be key for the Jacks that the Winner grad carry that momentum (and stay healthy) into the summer and the next season.
ODU reported an attendance of 1,487 for the game. That’s at $10 per ticket with students getting in free. In other words, the Monarchs made a max of $14,870 on ticket sales and paid a minimum of $35,000 for the right to host. Worth it? I think there are reasonable arguments on both sides. The minimum to host a Round 2 game is $50,000. SDSU may have been in line/on the hook for that in light of Radford upsetting Oregon State. (The Beavers were favored by 16; it was basically the top seed in the tourney vs. the last.)
Around the CBI, the tourney got some nice names into the quarterfinals including Penn State, Texas A&M, Fresno State, Princeton and Illinois State. O’Gorman grad Ced Lang and UTEP dropped a home decision to Fresno State on Wednesday.
In Round 1 of the NIT, two SDSU foes – Belmont and Minnesota – prevailed. Belmont has 25 wins this season.
Elsewhere in the Summit, Fort Wayne and Omaha won first-round home games in the CIT over Akron and North Dakota, respectively – the first D-I postseason games for both. The Fort Wayne women fell in the WBI, getting outscored by 19 in the second half against UIC.
The WNIT got going Wednesday night with five games. The home teams won all of them. Of those only Montana over Washington State was an upset based on RPI. In the Jacks quarter of the bracket, Minnesota scored the last seven points to steal a 62-60 decision over Green Bay and former SDSU star Megan Vogel, now a Phoenix assistant. Green Bay led by 10 at the half and by five with 50 seconds remaining.
SDSU is expecting a crowd in the 2,000-2,500 range tonight. That would be larger than the season average yet less than half of what it drew for WNIT games in 2007 and ‘08.
The New York Times found reason to send a reporter to Sioux Falls last week, Scott Cacciola blowing into town to file a feature about the Skyforce – their unique longevity and relationship to the Miami Heat.
Cacciola previews that piece and talks about the wild goings on with his beat – the New York Knicks – on this week’s episode of the Too Much TV podcast.
More postseason basketball notes pertaining to upcoming South Dakota State contests:
The CBI field broken down by the latest NCAA RPI: 100. Oregon State 103. UTEP 114. Penn State 117. Fresno State 122. Princeton 134. Illinois State 135. Wyoming 138. SDSU 141. Morehead State 148. Texas A&M 165. Stony Brook 170. Old Dominion 193. Siena 204. Hampton 223. Tulane 240. Radford
UTEP has a local tie in 6-foot-10 junior center Cedrick Lang, an O’Gorman grad. He’s appeared in 32 games with 10 starts, averaging 6.5 points and 5.4 boards. Lang played summer ball for the Dakota Schoolers with a handful of Jackrabbits.
Five teams in the CBI field have at least 20 wins. SDSU coach Scott Nagy mentioned that the Jacks would like to get to that mark, too. That would make three straight seasons. On the other hand, three CBI clubs are under .500 (Penn State, Siena and ODU).
The SDSU at ODU game will be available on GoJacks.com as the Monarchs have agreed to share the video feed, according to SDSU officials.
On the women’s side, the Jacks are among four Summit squads to make the postseason. They’re in the WNIT along with IUPUI, while USD is in the NCAAs and Fort Wayne is in the WBI.
The SDSU-Butler winner will meet Creighton or Missouri. Where would that game be? That’s hard to say. But the Jacks have the best RPI of that cluster and the largest average home attendance. Also, it’s not out of the question for SDSU to host a CBI-WNIT doubleheader if its teams continue to advance.
Here’s the complete WNIT bracket. Game times will be announced today. Contests start Wed.
Jacks coach Aaron Johnston on how the NCAA bracket came together: “When we look at some of the teams that got in the NCAA tournament it’s just difficult because there’s a couple leagues out there that get way too much benefit of the doubt. I don’t think we were a team that should have gotten in there, but there’s some other good non-BCS teams that got left out and that’s incredibly disappointing.”Of note, Southern Miss (26-6) and Bowling Green State (27-4). They were Nos. 30 and 32 in RPI.
Here are some postseason-related notes that at least tangentially relate to South Dakota State. Frankly, there are so many that they’ll spill into Tuesday Tidbits:
Coach Scott Nagy said that the Jackrabbits staff found out Saturday that they’d get a CBI bid. In other words, they were included before so many teams (ranging from Indiana to William & Mary) publicly bowed out. The same might not be true for Hampton, Tulane and Radford as all three have RPIs in the 200s.
How did SDSU fare against fellow postseason qualifiers? It went 0-3 against NCAA tourney teams (NDSU, Stanford), 1-1 against NIT teams (Belmont, Minnesota) and 3-3 against CIT clubs (Fort Wayne, Omaha, North Dakota, San Diego). Meanwhile, the Texas Southern squad that visited Frost Arena earlier this season for the Progressive Legends Classic got in the field of 68 by winning the SWAC tourney. It’s coached by former Indiana boss Mike Davis.
Ready to play six degrees of separation with the Big Dance Field? Here goes with a few random thoughts: Nebraska is coached by Doland native Tim Miles. … Creighton freshman forward Zach Hanson is from Pierre. … SDSU forward Cody Larson used to play for overall No. 1 Florida. … SDSU guard George Marshall used to play for No. 2 seed Wisconsin. … SDSU forward Jordan Dykstra was verbally committed to No. 6 Iowa State for two years.
Former Jacks guard and assistant Austin Hansen helped Northern Colorado land a CIT bid in his first year with the program. The Bears (18-13) will host Texas A&M Corpus Christi in the Round of 32. Ex-Jacks star Megan Vogel and the Green Bay women lost in the Horizon League title game Sunday. They have an automatic bid to the WNIT waiting for them.
The Summit League wound up with four men’s postseason picks. That’s equal to last year and one shy of its personal best set in 2012.
North Dakota put teams in both Big Sky tournament finals in its second year of eligibility. The men lost at Weber State, while the women rolled past Montana in Grand Forks to reach their first Dance. Neither of the tourney games involving the UND women drew even 2,000 fans. Meanwhile, this means all four Division I schools in the Dakotas have qualified basketball teams for the Big Dance within 10 years of moving to that level.
Bids for women’s postseason events will be handed out tonight. SDSU has a guarantee for the WNIT and a “fighting chance” of making the NCAA, according to ESPN.com. Here’s a very broad overview of how the Jacks do stack up against other supposed bubble teams based on (March 10) RPI, record and quality wins:
26. Bowling Green State (27-4) Best wins: Central Michigan, Ohio State Strike against: Lost in conference semis
39. Florida State (20-11) Best wins: Michigan State, Florida, Syracuse)
42. SDSU (22-9) Best wins: Penn State, Central Michigan Strike against: Lost in conference semis
43. Vanderbilt (18-12) Best wins: Dayton, Tennessee, Texas A&M, LSU, Georgia Strike against: Went 2-9 down the stretch
44. Minnesota (20-12) Best wins: Ohio State
56. South Florida (19-12) Best wins: Rutgers
59. Oklahoma (18-14) Best wins: Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Texas
63. Florida (19-12) Best wins: Florida State, Kentucky (twice)
Unless the women have built up a pile of goodwill with the selection committee, South Dakota State will not be sending a basketball team to an NCAA Division I championship this year. It will be the first failure to do so in six years of being eligible.
Not the first MAKE, but the first MISS.
The Jackrabbits men and women combined to win seven Summit League tournament crowns in their first 10 opportunities. I’m not good at math, but I’m pretty sure that’s a high success rate for schools in one-bid leagues.
By comparison, Fort Wayne – a school that moved to Division I a tick earlier and joined the conference at the same time – had never made a Summit tourney final on the men’s or women’s side before this week. That’s despite being plenty respectable most years.
Did SDSU play to its season averages in its semifinal losses? No. For that, fans can be disappointed – players and coaches were, too. But to suggest, as some have, that the sky is falling or at least that systems are broken? That’s nonsensical especially since both teams did enough to earn consideration from other postseason events.
This will be a learning experience, a part of the maturation process for a school still in its first decade at the D-I level: Dealing with falling short, getting ready for a Small Dance instead of the Big One and probably being differently motivated going into the summer.
Again, this isn’t what anybody associated with the Jacks wanted, but it’s not all bad, either. It’ll challenge players, coaches, fans, fundraisers – you name it. In some ways, it’s a more interesting turn in the story.
This week on the Too Much TV podcast: Previewing the 2015 Summit League basketball tournament.
Too soon? In that case, let’s talk sports information and analysis with Sioux Falls entrepreneur John Meyer. He’s fresh off making a presentation at the sports portion of the South by Southwest festival.
A few final notes from the Summit League basketball tournament at the Arena. It concluded Tuesday night:
Comparing the late shot hit by North Dakota State senior Taylor Braun to the one made by Bison legend Ben Woodside in the 2009 final was not a media gimmick – the NDSU players and coaches brought it up multiple times during the press conference. Braun and Woodside – now a pro playing in Europe – are summer workout partners, and many members of the 2009 club were at the game.
This was just the second time in tournament history that the men’s bracket went exactly to seed. That also happened in 1994. Of this year’s games, only two of the six were decided by less than 15 points.
NDSU will head into the NCAA tournament on a nine-game win streak. It’s RPI was No. 38 as of Monday. ESPN.com projects that the Bison will be a No. 13-seed. SDSU was a 13 last year. The Summit champ hasn’t won an NCAA game since 2005 when Oakland prevailed in a play-in affair.
The Arena’s run as Summit tourney host has ended after six years and 82 games. That includes 12 title tilts – six men and six women. Of those 12, seven were decided by six points or less and three went into overtime. Still, the No. 1 seed prevailed five of six times on the men’s side and three of six on the women’s side.
Postseason invites will be handed out Sunday for the men and Monday for the women. Summit officials feel good about getting at least three men’s teams into an event (NDSU, Fort Wayne, SDSU) and think that Omaha and Denver will be considered, too. On the women’s side, IUPUI is the most likely to join USD and SDSU.
This week’s weekly segment is Summit League-based in light of the basketball tournament concluding today at the Arena:
Two-time U.S. Open champion golfer Andy North attended the Monday night games. The Wisconsin resident is friends with North Dakota State coaches Saul Phillips and Will Ryan and South Dakota State assistant Joe Krabbenhoft.
SDSU is the first Summit women’s team to lose just one game in the league season and not reach the tournament final. Also, SDSU did not match Valpo in being able to reach both the men’s and women’s finals three years in a row. The Crusaders did that from 2002-04.
The SDSU men had been 15-1 when allowing less than 70 points. Then again, they’d also made a 3-pointer in the first half of every game this season. (In fact, it had been at least two seasons.) Both went awry Monday.
Jacks coach Scott Nagy said he was unsure sophomore guard Jake Bittle would be able to play due to an ailing foot. He missed eight games with a foot problem early this season. If SDSU makes a postseason event, Bittle may be held out. Jacks junior Zach Horstman started in place of Bittle, the first nod of his career.
The Jacks-Fort Wayne game is the only single-digit decision so far in the men’s bracket.
Attendance update: The three-session total in the women’s bracket is 12,347 through three sessions and the men 16,569. Last year, the event totaled 21,158 on the women’s side and 23,710 for the men. Both were Summit records. This year’s tourney has two fewer games.
Former SDSU star Nate Wolters, now a starting guard for the Milwaukee Bucks, returns to his home state of Minnesota tonight to take on the Timberwolves. It’ll be his first regular-season NBA game at Target Center, located roughly an hour from his hometown of St. Cloud.
Women No. 6 Denver (9-22) vs. No. 4 USD (18-13), 1 p.m. Sagarin says: Coyotes by 8 Series: DU leads 2-1 Season results: DU won 91-84 at home and USD won 88-67 at home. Of note: This is the first 4 vs. 6 title game since 2003 and the second in league history … USD is in the final for the second in as many years since becoming eligible … The Pioneers have two players from Minnesota and each one from Iowa and Nebraska. … The Coyotes have never been to the Division I tournament (this is only their second year of eligibility), while Denver hasn’t been there since 2001.
Men No. 2 Fort Wayne (24-9) vs. No. 1 NDSU (24-6), 8 p.m. Sagarin says: Bison by 5 Series: Tied 9-9 Season results: IPFW won 82-71 at home and NDSU prevailed 69-58 in Fargo. Of note: This is the first championship berth in men’s or women’s basketball for Fort Wayne since joining the Summit in 2007 … NDSU is the 20th No. 1 seed in 21 years to reach the title game. The Bison also won the tourney in 2009. … NDSU is coming off the most lopsided semifinal win in tourney history, besting Denver by 35. … The Mastodons had been 0-4 this season against conference foes when scoring less than 65 points, a streak they ended by beating the Jacks.
It’s semifinal Monday at the Summit League basketball tournament in Sioux Falls. Here’s a broad overview. Also, ArgusLeader.com will have live video preview shows of the women’s session (11 a.m.) and the men’s session (5 p.m.) plus live chats from the noon and 8:30 p.m. contests:
Women No. 1 SDSU (22-8) vs. No. 4 USD (17-13), noon Sagarin says: Jacks by 8 Series: SDSU leads 53-22 Season results: SDSU won 88-69 at home Feb. 2 and 99-88 on the road March 2. Of note: The Jacks are 7-1 in the series at the NCAA Division I level … This is a rematch of last year’s championship game that SDSU won 56-53 for its fifth consecutive title. … USD has scored 95, 88 and 96 points in its last three games, while allowing 87, 99 and 94.
No. 2 IUPUI (21-8) vs. No. 6 Denver (8-22), 2:30 p.m. Sagarin says: Jaguars by 14 Series: IUPUI leads 3-1 Season results: IUPUI won 82-66 at home and 68-55 on the road. Of note: This is DU’s third conference in as many years, moving from the Sun Belt to the WAC to the Summit. … The Jags are seeking their first finals berth since 2008. … The No. 2 seed has reached the Summit final only once since 2005.
Men No. 1 NDSU (23-6) vs. No. 4 Denver (16-14), 6 p.m. Sagarin says: Bison by 4 Series: NDSU leads 4-2 Season results: Denver won 67-63 at home and NDSU prevailed 78-68 in Fargo last week. Of note: DU rolled into the semis despite getting just one point from all-league forward Chris Udofia before fouling out … The Bison lead Division I in field-goal percentage at 50.9. … The NDSU players only arrived in Sioux Falls on Sunday, while coach Saul Phillips rolled in Saturday.
No. 2 Fort Wayne (23-9) vs. No. 3 SDSU (19-11), 8:30 p.m. Sagarin says: Jacks by 1 Series: SDSU leads 12-9 Season results: The Mastodons won 82-75 at home in Jan. and SDSU won 79-51 in Brookings last month. Of note: The Jacks have won 8 of the last 9 meetings. … IPFW has tied the program record for wins and is seeking its first-ever trip to the title game. … In the quarters, SDSU set a season-high for bench points (28) and equaled a season-best for points allowed (50). … As of late Sunday night, limited tickets remained available.
Feast on these notes in advance of the Summit League basketball tournament starting Saturday at the Arena. If you haven’t already, go buy the print edition – it includes a special Summit preview section. Also, stop by ArgusLeader.com at 4 p.m. Friday for a live tournament preview show:
Jacks freshman guard Kerri Young was named sixth woman of the year. She’s the second SDSU player from Mitchell and with the last name Young to earn that honor since 2009.
For the first time, Midco Sports Network will broadcast the men’s and women’s quarters and semis in high definition.
The SDSU men are seeking a third-straight title. That would equal the second-longest run in league history. Oral Roberts hit that mark from 2006-08. Valparaiso holds the record at six in a row from 1995-2000. The SDSU women can tie that this year.
The ballot for the 2014 call of the College Football Hall of Fame came out Thursday. Included on the list: Former Nebraska linebacker Trev Alberts - currently the AD at Summit member Omaha.
The Friday edition of USA Today includes a feature story about the surprising success of the Summit tourney since moving to Sioux Falls. Here’s the link.
Summit commissioner Tom Douple said that the Omaha men are receiving postseason consideration. The Mavericks aren’t eligible for the league tourney until 2016 as they complete the Division II transition.
The Western Illinois student paper reports that the WIU men could be shorthanded in the quarterfinals Sunday against SDSU. Remy Roberts-Burnett and Mohammed Conde have missed time due to concussions and Trent Stensgaard – from Rapid City – has been limited by a knee issue.
How is former Summit member Kansas City getting along in its first year in the WAC? "It’s different," first-year Kangaroos AD Carla Wilson said. "There’s obviously new venues, new cities so that has been good. I think as far as the competition us not knowing the schools we’re going to play and them not knowing us has given a lot of parity between schools, which has been fun. "But at the same time I would say what’s different or what we missed is some of the natural rivalries with having schools in closer proximity. So trying figure out and help develop some rivalries when a lot of those schools are on the West Coast has been a challenge." Travel costs are up, although exactly how much won’t be clear until the school year ends. But Wilson said the WAC is committed to bringing a combined men’s and women’s conference tournament to Kansas City for a two-year run as early as 2015-16. That’s a big positive. Still, is there any chance the Roos would want to return to the Summit as Oral Roberts is doing? "We definitely enjoyed our time in the Summit League and have a lot of great friends and great rivalries," she said. "But we’re currently just moving forward in the WAC."
Would you like some Summit League with your Summit League?
Are you a basketball fan? An organized sort? A consumer of media?
Then consider yourself (hashtag) blessed. Here is what’s ahead from Argus Leader Media and ArgusLeader.com in terms of Summit League basketball tournament coverage. Per usual, it’ll be suffocating – in a good way, of course.
On Thursday, we’ll have live video from the annual tipoff press conference at the Arena.
On Friday,the special preview section shows up in print along with a newsy story about the state of the conference. That will be followed by a 4 p.m. live show tournament preview show from the Arena.
The games start Saturday. Awaiting you will be an extended feature about (often overshadowed?) SDSU standout Jordan Dykstra.
Throughout the tournament, we’ll have live web shows, chats during games featuring SDSU and USD, game stories and daily notebooks. And our web site will be littered with extras – highlights, photo galleries, restaurant recommendations, a video tour of the future home of the event.
The Summit League tournament has become the biggest annual sporting event in Sioux Falls, and we’ll blanket it accordingly. Enjoy.
A big part of visiting a new city, whether for a work trip, a quick overnight on your way somewhere (preferably warmer), or a vacation to cheer on your favorite college basketball team, is trying our the local food scene. At least it always is for me.
So with that in mind, I thought I’d throw…
I endorse this message …. especially the part about Queen City Bakery.
As you might have heard, the Summit League basketball tournament is about to invade Sioux Falls for the sixth straight year. That’s the no-brainer topic on this week’s Too Much TV podcast, conference commissioner Tom Douple speaking about the event, the state of the Summit and future basketball schedules.
All three former South Dakota State pitchers in MLB organizations have begun spring training at this point. Reliever Caleb Thielbar is with the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers, Fla.; Blake Treinen is with the Washington Nationals in Viera, Fla.; and Layne Somsen is with the Cincinnati Reds minor leaguers in Goodyear, Ariz. The second-year pro Somsen spent most of the winter training in Sioux Falls. Treinen has shown promise, according to this report.
Tyler Nagy, a Brooking High senior guard and the son of SDSU men’s basketball coach Scott Nagy, has given a verbal commitment to play at Wayne State. The Jacks faced the Wildcats earlier this season. Does this news make a rematch more or less likely? Scott Nagy said he isn’t sure – he’d hate to contribute to his son having a rough outing and fears getting torched by him. Also, Nagy said that Tyler has been greatly influenced by former Jacks star Nate Wolters in terms of becoming a gym rat.
As of Monday, no indications that any sessions of the Summit tournament are sold out. But Sessions 4 (Sunday night) and 8 (the men’s final) were getting close, according to Sioux Falls Sports Authority director Wes Hall.
The SDSU baseball team on Friday opens a six-game stop in Port Charlotte, Fla. The Jacks went 1-2 last weekend at Texas San Antonio, their second series this season against a club that – like them – made the NCAA Division I tournament last year.
And, finally, a programming note: Our annual Summit League tournament special section will be published Friday. At 4 p.m. that same day, we’ll air our live tourney preview show at ArgusLeader.com.
Here are some final notes from the final weekend of the regular season for the South Dakota State basketball teams:
Voting is underway for the Summit League all-conference teams. On the men’s side, senior forward Jordan Dykstra, senior guard Brayden Carlson and junior forward Cody Larson are on the ballot, while Larson (all-newcomer), Carlson (defensive POY) and senior forward Marcus Heemstra (sixth man) are up for individual awards. For the SDSU women, junior wing Megan Waytashek and Steph Paluch are on the ballot. Junior guard Gabby Boever is up for defensive player of the year, freshmen forward Chynna Stevens and Kerri Young are up for all-newcomer and Young is up for sixth woman. Results will be announced Thursday afternoon during the tournament tipoff press conference.
On a related note, the SDSU wound up with three of the top seven scorers and three of the top six rebounders in conference play. Dykstra was second at 16.9 points, Carlson third at 16.3 and Larson seventh at 13.6. On the glass, Dykstra was second at 7.1, Larson third at 6.9 and sophomore guard Jake Bittle tied for sixth at 5.4
Even with a season-best crowd Saturday for the game against USD, the SDSU men finished with an average home attendance of 2,661 for the season. That’s down from 3,625 last year and 3,320 in 2011-12. It’s still third in the league and about 800 more than the Summit average. Among those in the building Saturday: Nate Wolters’ parents.
The 99-88 game Sunday between the SDSU and USD women was the highest scoring in the series since 1991 when the Jacks prevailed 100-97 in Brookings. Low-scoring affairs have been more typical of late. Last year, the teams played to a 56-53 outcome in the Summit League title game. In 2012, USD scored a 59-53 win in overtime.
Jacks senior guard Tara Heiser sprained her right ankle during warmups. She went immediately to a trainer and limped throughout, but played anyway and finished with seven points - all in the second half.
SDSU has won 22 games in a row when leading at halftime dating back to late in the 2012-13 season.
Waytashek scored 18 points against USD after putting up 17 at Denver on Thursday. It was the first time this season that the first-team all-conference pick scored at least 14 points in consecutive games. "It was good to get some momentum," she said, "hit some shots."
Think the Jacks-Coyotes games are a little physical? The first meeting this season featured 59 fouls and 72 free throws. This one had 53 fouls and 72 free throws.
Here’s where things stand in relation to the Summit League men’s and women’s basketball tournament through Thursday. The regular-season finales are slated for Saturday and Sunday:
On the men’s side, North Dakota State has locked up the No. 1 seed and outright regular-season crown – its first since 2009. The Bison get a quarterfinal bye and won’t open tourney play until March 10 at 6 p.m. The bottom half also is set: South Dakota at No. 5, Western Illinois at No. 6 and IUPUI at No. 7. That leaves South Dakota State, Fort Wayne and – one game back – Denver. SDSU will be the No. 2 seed if all three end up tied by virtue of its record within the group. SDSU will be the No. 3 if tied only with Fort Wayne. Denver can move into the No. 3 spot if it winds up even with the Mastodons. On Saturday, the Jacks host USD; Denver visits NDSU; and Fort Wayne is at Omaha.
On the women’s side, SDSU is the outright champ for the third year in a row and the fifth time in seven years since joining the Summit. The five-time defending tournament champs will open their run at a sixth straight crown at noon March 10 in the semis. Also set in stone: IUPUI is the No. 2 and will face No. 7 NDSU in the tourney opener at 2 p.m. March 8. Denver will be No. 6. Yet to be decided is the order of USD, Fort Wayne and Western Illinois, which is one game back of the other two. There are several scenarios still in play (and I’m filing this too late at night to be able to figure them all out). The Coyotes host SDSU on Sunday; the Dons host Omaha on Saturday and WIU visits IUPUI.
All of this positioning is important because the Summit League tournament champs gain automatic bids into the NCAA tournaments. But there are other postseason events, too. NDSU is assured of an NIT bid if it doesn’t make the NCAAs by virtue of its regular-season title. Fort Wayne has a case with 21 wins and an RPI of 143. Denver began the weekend at 140th and could earn a late boost with an upset of the Bison on Saturday. No. 150 SDSU beat the Pioneers for the second time Thursday night to get its 17th win. And it has the benefit of some name recognition after consecutive NCAA tourney bids. Jacks officials said they’ve been contacted by the NIT, the CBI and the CIT about potential invites.
On the women’s side, SDSU can do no worse than the WNIT, extending its run of eight consecutive postseason berths. If the Jacks win the league tourney, IUPUI would get the auto bid to the WNIT. USD has the best resume of the rest with an RPI of 146 and a 16-12 mark.
There’s more live coverage on deck tonight (South Dakota State vs. Denver in men’s basketball), Saturday (South Dakota State vs. South Dakota in men’s basketball) and Sunday (South Dakota State at South Dakota in women’s basketball).
SDSU on Monday filled the vacancy on its football staff created when Shannon Moore left for Florida International by hiring former North Dakota player and assistant Luke Schleusner to lead the tight ends. Jacks coach John Stiegelmeier said that he didn’t previously know Schleusner – the UND offensive coordinator and receivers coach last season – despite facing him as a player and a coach. But he came highly recommended by Southern Illinois coach Dale Lennon, formerly of North Dakota and a longtime friend of Stiegelmeier’s. Schleusner was chosen from four finalists brought on campus. "Just a real good handle on offensive football," Stiegelmeier said. "Has been a coordinator so he’s made decisions. Coached tight ends. Does a really good job recruiting in the Chicago area, and that’s one area we want to do a good job in. There were a lot of matches." Also, Schleuser has experience coaching special teams and will help out in that capacity. But he won’t be the special teams coordinator – that role will be shared by receivers coach Josh Davis and defensive backs coach Jay Christensen. The Jacks are switching up some recruiting duties, too, according to Stiegelmeier. Schleusner and Davis will handle the Chicago gig vacated by Moore, doubling the SDSU presence there, while Christensen will cover Florida and pass his old Iowa duties on to defensive coordinator Clint Brown.
SDSU point guard George Marshall, a redshirting transfer from Wisconsin, had surgery to clean up a wrist issue that dated to his time with the Badgers, Jacks coach Scott Nagy said. The cast extends from his right hand to above the elbow with couple odd angles in between in order to keep the wrist properly positioned. Nagy said the situation won’t prevent Marshall from being on schedule to play at the midpoint of next season when he becomes eligible.
The SDSU baseball team takes a 5-3 mark into a series this weekend at fellow NCAA Division I tournament qualifier Texas San Antonio. Jacks coach Dave Schrage said he’s most impressed with the defense to this point – just five errors in eight games – led by Cody Sharrow, Tyler Shannon and Al Robbins up the middle. He’s also encouraged by the pitching depth, the early starts by former reliever Chad Hodges (2-0, 1.29 ERA) and the hitting of Robbins (.471 BA) and Aaron Machbitz (9 RBI).
Jacks wrestling coach Chris Bono said he didn’t sleep much Sunday night after a lopsided loss at North Dakota State in a dual that could have clinched the Western Wrestling Conference crown. He called it a wasted opportunity with the caveat that there will be more of those ahead. In an attempt to regroup, the team was given two days off – a rarity. That will be the preamble to prepping for the West Regional meet on March 8 at Utah Valley.
Some final thoughts from a weekend of South Dakota State vs. North Dakota State hoops:
In the men’s game in Fargo, the Bison won the rebound battle 33-32. That drops the Jackrabbits to 0-8 this season when finishing at a deficit. Also, SDSU fell to 4-4 when allowing a team to score 70-79 points. That’s very much the middle ground. The Jacks are 12-1 when giving up less than 70 and 0-6 when giving up 80 or more.
Among the various pregame conversations between coaches, SDSU assistant Joe Krabbenhoft chatted with Bison assistant Will Ryan. Ryan is the son of Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, who was Krabbenhoft’s college coach.
NDSU has 45 wins since last season, its highest total since 1924-26.
The Jacks shot 32.8 percent from the floor, a number that would have been worse if not for going 36.4 percent in the second half. That’s a season low. It’s also their worst since a 27.0-percent showing in a blowout loss at Belmont on Dec. 19, 2012.
The SDSU women led the Bison by a total of three points at the break of their two regular-season meetings this year. But they outscored NDSU by 39 after intermission.
The Jacks wound up 1,813 in 14 home games at Frost Arena this season. That’s the most in the Summit. The league average is in the 800 range. However, SDSU hasn’t been that low since bringing in 1,473 per home game in 2004-05. That was its first season at the NCAA Division I level. There were only 11 dates and just one was against a D-I foe – transition pal NDSU. The Jacks were at 2,403 in 2011-12 - the last time the Summit had a format that allowed for Saturday doubleheaders. That dropped to 2,028 last year and 1,813 this season.
SDSU junior wing and leading scorer Megan Waytashek played 18 minutes in the contest after being limited during the week due to an ankle sprain. She finished 1 of 7 from the floor with six points and three boards. Freshman forward Chynna Stevens led the Jacks with a career-high 18 points to continue her surge. She’s reached double figures five times in the last eight games. She’s 9 of 19 from 3-point range in that span.
Series streaks: The NDSU men have won 14 of 19 meetings against SDSU, while the SDSU women have won 18 of 19 against the Bison.
Starting at 2 p.m. Saturday, South Dakota State and North Dakota State will square off in three meaningful contests – men’s basketball, women’s basketball and wrestling – in about 24 hours. I’ll have live coverage of the first event in Fargo. Here are some notes leading up to it:
The weekend kicks off with men’s hoops in Fargo, the second-place Jacks looking to pull even with the first-place Bison. SDSU is the hottest team in the Summit League with six wins in a row. NDSU coach Saul Phillips said that Jacks counterpart Scott Nagy has his vote for coach of the year. "He had a plan the whole year long and when the guys finally caught it they became contenders," Phillips said. A crowd of 5,000 or more is expected for the contest. However, the game will not air on television in South Dakota nor will GoJacks.com video subscribers have free access to the Bison web feed unlike in years past. That’s because NDSU has changed hosting companies.
The women’s basketball game is set for 4 p.m. Saturday at Frost Arena. That features SDSU trying to stay alone in first place and grow closer to a third straight regular-season title hosting a Bison squad that’s in last place and on the search for a new coach. That’s because Carolyn DeHoff on Thursday announced she’ll resign at the end of the season. The Jacks may not known until game day if leading scorer Megan Waytashek will be available. She suffered what coach Aaron Johnston called a run-of-the-mill ankle sprain last week against Western Illinois. He said the junior has been doing work on the side during practice, and was on track to start jogging Thursday afternoon. "I want her back as soon as possible," he said. "This time of year the longer people are out the longer it takes to get into a flow, and we have a lot going on the next couple weeks."
On Sunday, the Jacks will visit the Bison in a regular-season finale for the Western Wrestling Conference title. Nationally ranked NDSU is the defending champ and beat SDSU earlier this season in Brookings. If the Jacks have any edge it’s in terms of being more rested. The Bison will be competing for the fifth time in eight days. That includes three times at the National Duals in Columbus, Ohio, and a Friday contest against Wyoming. SDSU’s last event was Sunday. "We’ve got a chance to win the conference," Jacks coach Chris Bono said. "Our guys are real high right now. It’s a different group of guys than the ones that wrestled NDSU back in November. I’ve got a team that believes in themselves and believes in our system." Bono figures SDSU has to win six of the 10 matches, that five won’t be enough. The Jacks haven’t won a conference title since 1997.