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The Summit League was pegged as Oakland’s conference to lose from the outset of the season a year ago, and the Golden Grizzlies didn’t disappoint. While they didn’t necessarily dominate the competition, they still won the conference by two games over IUPUI, which finished 15-3. They were also Oakland’s lone league loss. Oral Roberts came in third at 13-5, while South Dakota State was the only other team to finish above .500 in Summit League play. The Golden Grizzlies rolled in the conference tournament as well, winning their three games by an average of 13.3 points. However, they fell to Pittsburgh by 23 in the NCAA Tournament; can Oakland win a game in the Big Dance this time around?
- 1. Oakland: The defending champions return Player of the Year Keith Benson, and have a solid backcourt tandem in Larry Wright and UMKC transfer Reggie Hamilton.
- 2. Oral Roberts: The Golden Eagles have the best forward tandem in the conference in Michael Craion and Dominique Morrison, while Warren Niles is a good guard.
- 3. IUPUI: Last year’s runner-up, the Jaguars return a terrific forward in Alex Young and a solid wing in Leroy Nobles. They need to replace Robert Glenn, though.
- 4. North Dakota State: After a huge dropoff last season, the Bison are looking to bounce back behind forwards Michael Tveidt and Eric Carlson.
- 5. South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits lose three starters from a year ago, but the backcourt tandem of Clint Sargent and Nate Wolters is solid.
- 6. IPFW: Dane Fife has the Mastodons improving every season, and this year they will look to take the next step behind guard Ben Botts.
- 7. Western Illinois: Ceola Clark III, one of the most versatile and productive all-around players at the mid-major level, will carry the Leathernecks.
- 8. UMKC: The Kangaroos could be a sleeper this season, as they have forwards Jay Couisnard and Spencer Johnson and a solid backcourt.
- 9. Southern Utah: The Thunderbirds have a variety of options and some good balance, but they failed to qualify for the league tournament last season.
- 10. Centenary: Centenary will move to Division-III next season, which led to several of the top players transferring. Don’t expect much from the Gents.
Player of the Year: Keith Benson, C, Oakland
- G- Ceola Clark III, Western Illinois
- F- Dominique Morrison, Oral Roberts
- F- Alex Young, IUPUI
- F- Michael Tveidt, North Dakota State
- C- Keith Benson, Oakland
- G- Jay Couisnard, UMKC
- G- Clint Sargent, South Dakota State
- G/F- Leroy Nobles, IUPUI
- F- Michael Craion, Oral Roberts
- F- Eric Carlson, North Dakota State