Thursday, October 29, 2009

Summit League Preview


The Summit League had a very solid season in 2009, finishing No. 17 in Ken Pomeroy’s conference ratings. It also featured an excellent race for the regular-season title, with the championship coming down to the final day, when North Dakota State defeated Oral Roberts to win the league outright. ORU finished 14-4, two games back of NDSU. Oakland was the only other team to finish above .500, going 13-5. Demonstrating how top-heavy the league was, every other team went .500 or worse. NDSU won the conference tournament, and gave Kansas a very tough game in the NCAA Tournament. However, with several key players gone for the Bison, the conference race has a new look this year.

1. Oakland: The Golden Grizzlies could be one of the best mid-majors in the country, with Keith Benson, Johnathon Jones and Derick Nelson.
2. South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits were just 7-11 last season, but they have several all-conference candidates and plenty of talent.
3. IUPUI: The Jaguars have a deep and talented frontcourt, led by all-conference forward Robert Glenn and senior Jon Avery.
4. Oral Roberts: Despite some personnel losses, the Golden Eagles do have a solid forward tandem in Kevin Ford and Dominique Morrison.
5. IPFW: D-I's youngest coach, Dane Fife, returns four starters from a fifth-place team, including Ben Botts and Deilvez Yearby.
6. Southern Utah: Guard Davis Baker is one of the top players in the conference, and freshman Matt Hodgson will make an impact. 
7. North Dakota State: After losing Ben Woodside and Brett Winkelman, the Bison have to rebuild behind lone returning starter Michael Tveidt.
8. UMKC: The Kangaroos won just three conference games last season, but they return several key pieces, namely Spencer Johnson.
9. Western Illinois: The Leathernecks struggled mightily last season, and their leading returning scorer averaged just 8.4 ppg (David Nurse).
10. Centenary: The Gents are moving to D-III in two years, and leading scorer Chase Adams left the team to transfer to Pittsburgh.

Player of the Year:
 Keith Benson, C, Oakland

All-Conference Team:
G- Johnathon Jones, Oakland
G- Davis Baker, Southern Utah
G- Garrett Callahan, South Dakota State
F- Derick Nelson, Oakland
C- Keith Benson, Oakland 

Second Team:
G- Clint Sargent, South Dakota State
F- Kevin Ford, Oral Roberts
F- Alex Young, IUPUI
F- Anthony Cardova, South Dakota State
F- Robert Glenn, IUPUI 

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