Yes, I’m bringing back that old phrase in advance of Super Saturday in Tulsa, Okla. OK, maybe I’m reaching again, but it really is set up to be an interesting day at the Mabee Center (above) as Oral Roberts hosts South Dakota State in a Summit League hoops doubleheader.
The 2 p.m. women’s game pits the two-time defending regular-season conference champs ORU against the three-time defending conference tournament champion Jacks. SDSU is the lone unbeaten in the league at 4-0, while the Golden Eagles are the preseason favorites.
In the 7 p.m. men’s game, both ORU and SDSU are unbeaten in Summit play at 5-0. Everyone else has at least two losses. The Golden Eagles have been picked to win the league and boast wins over Xavier and Texas Tech, while the Jacks hammered Washington and have a budding national star in point guard Nate Wolters.
But there’s more.
These are the top two women’s teams in the Summit League in terms of the current Sagarin Ratings, SDSU at No. 106 and ORU at No. 109. That system has the homestanding Golden Eagles a four-point favorite.
It’s the same on the men’s side as ORU is 62nd in the Sagarin, while SDSU is 69th. The pregame spread, not that we condone gambling, is ORU by five.
Plus, this could be the last trip to Tulsa for the Jacks with the Golden Eagles set to join the Southland Conference next year. I’m sure SDSU is OK with that in one regard because it has struggled in that futuristic-looking venue. The women are 1-3 there, while the men are 0-4.
Of course, ORU has been a high hurdle for SDSU no matter the location. The Jacks are 5-5 in the women’s series since joining the Summit, dropping the last four regular-season meetings. The SDSU men are just 2-7 against ORU, losing the last three.
The way things have shaped up early in the Summit season, this might be the best test the rest of the regular season for SDSU. That’s not to disrespect Oakland, NDSU or anybody else. But factoring in the Jacks’ struggles in Tulsa and the current standing of the Golden Eagles’ programs, these are the ultimate “prove it” games.
That’s not to say SDSU should be counted out of the conference race if it drops one or both of these contests - after all, the Summit League tournament is more like a home game than a road game for the Jacks. It’s just that a road win would do more in terms of becoming established as a contender (and as a post-season candidate), especially for the SDSU men given that they’ve never done that before.
I’ll be there with live coverage … and I’ll be all hopped up on BBQ. Bam sauce.
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.