Maverick Maniac's Musings

January 9, 2013

2012-13 Summit League Basketball Power Rankings–January 9th

I don’t think there are any Summit League Power Rankings on the web… so I decided I’d start taking my try at it. At the very least it’ll help me stay up to date with the other Summit League members and make it easier to summarize what’s going on around the league.

Men’s Power Rankings

NDST1.) North Dakota State – 13-3 (4-0)
Games last week: W @ South Dakota (92-66), W @ Kansas City (63-44)
Games this week: vs. Fort Wayne (1/10), vs. Oakland (1/12)

Off to a 13-3 start and 4-0 in conference North Dakota State’s record speaks for itself. They were fairly good in the non-conference though a road loss at Green Bay hurts the resume. In conference North Dakota State has been brilliant in blowout wins over Omaha, South Dakota and Kansas City (the latter two on the road last week). The Bison also picked up the crucial win over South Dakota State in Fargo in late December. Right now they have to the favorite until they drop a game. Road trips to Western Illinois (1/19) and South Dakota State (1/26) loom and if the Bison could win those two they would have the rest of the league in a tough spot.

WIU2.) Western Illinois – 12-3 (5-0)
Games last week: W vs. Savannah State (39-35), W vs. IUPUI (57-53)
Games this week: vs. Greenville (1/9), @ Omaha (1/12)

Western Illinois has been strong defensively this year but never more so than against Savannah State last week when they held them to just 35 points. Western Illinois has held all 15 of their opponents below 72 (South Dakota scored 71), 12 below 60, seven below 50, and four below 40. Wow. After struggling in a bad road loss to SIU Edwardsville and dropping tough close games on the road at Evansville and Savannah State the Leathernecks have won nine straight games to shoot up the standings. Their toughest Summit League test was a road trip to South Dakota where they won by two. They’ve beaten Oakland at home by 10 (a fairly good amount considering there were only 61 possessions). Last week they avenged the earlier loss to Savannah State with a 39-35 home win (on just 49 possessions) and a tight home win over IUPUI. This week they host Non-D1 Greenville and venture on the road for the first time in over a month at Omaha. Struggles to win either game could put their #2 spot in questionable status, but we’ll know much more next week when they host South Dakota State (1/17) and North Dakota State (1/19).

SDST3.) South Dakota State – 11-6 (2-2)
Games last week: W @ Kansas City (77-61), L @ South Dakota (71-74)
Games this week: vs. Oakland (1/10), vs. Fort Wayne (1/12)

There was the first game close road loss to Alabama, the disappointing road loss at Hofstra in a week later, and blowout losses at Minnesota and Belmont in December… not the non-conference schedule the Jackrabbits were hoping for in Nate Wolters senior season. Conference season hasn’t started much better. The Jackrabbits won at home against Omaha and at Kansas City, both fairly easily, but lost at North Dakota State and South Dakota by three points a piece on back-to-back Saturdays. Hard to know if South Dakota State is going to continue to loss close road games the rest of the way or if they can find a way to get rolling and position themselves well for March. This team expected to make the NCAA Tournament and hoped to play a regular season that would get them a better seed than last year. At this point that doesn’t seem where they are headed. With two losses in conference I can’t justify them ahead of an undefeated Western Illinois for #2.

OAK4.) Oakland – 7-10 (2-1)
Games last week: W vs. Omaha (91-79), L @ Alabama (45-65)
Games this week: @ South Dakota State (1/10), @ North Dakota State (1/12)

Oakland has played an awfully tough schedule, not because every team they play is in the top 25 (only Michigan State was), but because nearly all their non-conference games were on the road! Oakland played 11 of their 14 on the road and of the three homes games only Valparaiso was a Division 1 game, so it’s hard to evaluate the team real well. In conference they lost by 10 at Western Illinois, nothing too shameful, won by 22 at IUPUI and beat Omaha at home by 12 (it wasn’t quite that close). It’s clear to me they are above the bottom four, but whether they belong ahead of South Dakota is questionable. Oakland has another tough weekend ahead as they travel to South Dakota State on Thursday and to North Dakota State on Saturday.

SDAK5.) South Dakota – 7-10 (3-2)
Games last week: L vs. North Dakota State (66-92), W vs. South Dakota State (74-71)
Games this week: vs. Kansas City (1/12)

South Dakota is another hard team to judge at this point. The 10 losses have mounted up quickly and most are not extremely impressive. The conference schedule starts to tell another story though. South Dakota gave Western Illinois all they wanted before losing 73-71 in the Dakota Dome, smoked IUPUI and then dominated Omaha at the Ralston Arena. Last week they hosted both North Dakota State and South Dakota State. South Dakota will rue the fact that those two matchups happened during Winter Break and not while the students were in town. The Thursday game seemed to show how far South Dakota had left to come (blown out by 26 to North Dakota State) but they rebounded in a big way on Saturday nipping South Dakota State by 3. South Dakota is probably a middle of the pack type team and 4th/5th seems perfect for them right now. They have a more impressive win than Oakland but I guess I’m more willing to excuse Oakland’s 10 losses due to the opponents being perceived as slightly better. South Dakota only plays once this week, vs. Kansas City on Saturday. They shouldn’t struggle in that one and could easily move to #4 next week if Oakland struggles on the road.

IPFW6.) Fort Wayne – 8-9 (1-2)
Games last week: W vs. Navy (68-63), W vs. Omaha (96-78)
Games this week: @ North Dakota State (1/10), @ South Dakota State (1/12)

I think there are some good arguments for why Fort Wayne should be ahead of the bottom three. Fort Wayne started strong getting to 5-4 including a nice home win over Miami (Ohio) and showed themselves well in most of their road losses (11 @ Auburn, 13 @ Eastern Michigan, 1 vs. Eastern Illinois (neutral court), 5 @ Navy, 11 @ Valparaiso, 10 @ Drake, 12 @ Notre Dame). They did lose by 14 at IUPUI in their first Summit League game and by 12 at Western Illinois, but they came out with two home wins last week vs. Navy and Omaha. I think the upside for Fort Wayne is higher than for the other three bottom teams too. This weekend at North Dakota State and South Dakota State will provide big tests. If Fort Wayne can hang with either team they would surely justify the 6th place ranking.

IUPUI7.) IUPUI – 6-13 (1-4)
Games last week: L @ Western Illinois (53-57)
Games this week: @ Omaha (1/10)

IUPUI has had their struggles (four point home loss to Lamar) and didn’t beat a Division 1 team between 11/13 and 12/23. Their lack of quality wins (best win @ Ball State) combined with the 13 losses makes them hard to rank higher than 7th. Their Summit League win was over Fort Wayne at home but they lost their next home game by 22 vs. Oakland. They also lost by 20 at South Dakota and by 14 at Kansas City. The four-point road loss at Western Illinois last week is a good sign and they’ll have a chance to back it up with a road win at Omaha this week.

UMKC8.) Kansas City – 4-12 (1-4)
Games last week: L vs. South Dakota State (61-77), L vs. North Dakota State (44-63)
Games this week: vs. Utah Valley (1/9), @ South Dakota (1/12)

Only three division 1 wins so for for the Roos, but they do have a Summit League win over IUPUI. Kanas City has lost eight straight games after getting off to a 4-4 start and haven’t won in over a month. They are desperate for a victory and have a good chance to pick one up Wednesday night vs. Utah Valley before a road game at South Dakota on Saturday. Why is Kansas City behind IUPUI (a team they beat) and ahead of Omaha (a team that beat them)? Well Kansas City has been kind of impressive in some of their losses lately (15 @ Iowa State and 8 @ Kansas State), they did beat IUPUI and Norfolk State (both somewhat decent teams) and they are 1-4 in conference but have played all three of the top teams already (though they were at home). We’ll learn more in the next few weeks and they could easily rise up or down a spot in the next week or so.

NEBO9.) Omaha – 4-14 (1-5)
Games last week: L @ Oakland (79-91), L @ Fort Wayne (78-96)
Games this week: vs. IUPUI (1/10), vs. Western Illinois (1/12)

I just didn’t feel right putting Omaha any higher than last. They’ve played four Summit League road games already and lost them all by at least 12, though none of them were in any real doubt near the end. They got destroyed by South Dakota at home but did play well against Kansas City in their Summit League win. Omaha has lost to a NAIA school so that’s a big mark against them. Their other three wins are Northern Illinois (2-10 with 1 D1 win), Chicago State (4-13 with 2 D1 wins), and Benedictine (NAIA team). The lack of any quality wins, the 0-11 road record, it’s just too much to overcome right now. Home games with IUPUI and Western Illinois this weekend certainly give the Mavericks the opportunity to move up though.

Women’s Power Rankings

SDST1.) South Dakota State – 11-5 (3-0)
Games last week: W vs. Kansas City (82-47), W vs. South Dakota (72-60)
Games this week: @ Oakland (1/10), @ Fort Wayne (1/12)

Just like in the men’s rankings, when there is a team that’s undefeated in conference and tied for the conference lead in wins, it’s hard not to put them #1. South Dakota State does have five losses, but who is going to argue with losses to Villanova, Creighton, at Central Michigan, vs. Marquette, and at Penn State. The worst RPI in that bunch is 72! South Dakota State does have nice wins vs. Washington State, Nebraska, Middle Tennessee State, and at Georgetown (their best win, RPI 35). In conference they haven’t been tested much in big wins over North Dakota State and Kansas City before South Dakota did play them within 12, but never really threatened them. I don’t think it’s totally assured that South Dakota State will win the Summit, South Dakota, Omaha, and IUPUI have shown things to give themselves some hope. That said I don’t see South Dakota State going any worse than 13-3, so those teams will need to avoid any upsets from here on out to try and catch them. Road games at Oakland and Fort Wayne will at least give us some perspective on how much better South Dakota State might be than some of the other teams in conference when they leave the cozy confines of Brookings.

NEBO2.) Omaha – 11-3 (3-1)
Games last week: W vs. Oakland (59-41), W vs. Fort Wayne (60-50)
Games this week: @ IUPUI (1/10), @ Western Illinois (1/12)

It’s been a year full of doubt for me regarding Omaha. Can they really be this good? Can they keep winning? So far the answer has been yes. While the schedule hasn’t been the toughest Omaha has answered the bell most every night and has looked fairly impressive so far in the Summit League. The only losses this year were to Tulsa and Saint Louis and the road loss to South Dakota. Omaha’s ranked 2nd based on their profile over the whole season. 11-3 speaks for itself and has given Omaha a lot of confidence. Last week they looked dominant over Oakland (just like they did against Kansas City in the conference opener) and were tested by a feisty Fort Wayne team before pulling away late. This week will tell us a lot as Omaha heads to IUPUI and Western Illinois. Both are losable games, but both are winnable, especially the Western Illinois game. We’ll learn a lot about the Mavericks this week.

SDAK3.) South Dakota – 7-9 (2-1)
Games last week: W @ North Dakota State (73-52), L @ South Dakota State (60-72)
Games this week: @ Kansas City (1/12)

I went back and forth between South Dakota and IUPUI for 3rd. South Dakota has a better conference resume so in the end I went with them. They do have a losing record and that’s hard to ignore at this point. They’ve lost at Utah State and Boise State and only have five Division 1 wins. On the positive though they dominated North Dakota State in Fargo (They trailed at six at the break and won by 21… I’ll call that dominant) and did beat Omaha in the Dakota Dome. Losing by 12 at South Dakota State isn’t all that bad either, and it’s by far the best loss anyone has in conference. A road game at Kansas City this week is interesting. Kansas City was picked high in the league but has been awful. South Dakota needs to win that one.

IUPUI4.) IUPUI – 8-7 (2-1)
Games last week: W vs. Western Illinois (55-36)
Games this week: vs. Omaha (1/10)

IUPUI has some nice sounding wins (Indiana State, Valparaiso, at Belmont, Western Michigan) and has your requisite tough road losses (at Indiana by 11, at Purdue by 25). I’m ranking them 3rd right now because they have a winning record still and have a couple of decent Summit wins (by 5 @ Fort Wayne and by 19 vs. Western Illinois). They did lose by nine at a middling Oakland team. We’ll learn a lot more about IUPUI against Omaha on Thursday. If they can knock off the Mavericks at home like South Dakota did they’ll make a good case they belong ahead of the Coyotes and it’ll look more and more like South Dakota State will run away with this.

OAK5.) Oakland – 7-8 (1-2)
Games last week: L @ Omaha (41-59)
Games this week: vs. South Dakota State (1/10), vs. North Dakota State (1/12)

I went back and fort between Oakland and Western Illinois here. I realize Oakland has a double digit loss at home to Western Illinois, but there’s some things about Western Illinois I just can’t ignore right now and Oakland did win against IUPUI who I have right ahead of them. Oakland has played the entire season without the preseason Summit League Player of the Year and also missed star freshman Olivia Nash for six games. They also played a tough schedule for a two week stretch in December (Michigan State, at Manhattan, Purdue @ Connecticut) where they had half of their losses on the year. They lost by 12 at home to Western Illinois and by 18 on the road at Omaha, but they won by nine at home against IUPUI. This week they will get a chance to show themselves in a home game with South Dakota State and really need to pick up a win vs. North Dakota State on Saturday.

WIU6.) Western Illinois – 8-7 (1-2)
Games last week: L @ IUPUI (36-55), W vs. Chicago State (87-52)
Games this week: vs. Omaha (1/12)

Western Illinois started 1-4, went on a streak winning six out of seven, and now find themselves 8-7 and losers of two straight Summit League games. Up and down! All three of their Summit League games have come on the road and they did beat Oakland by eight, but a 31 point loss at Fort Wayne and a 19 point loss at IUPUI are hard to ignore. I think they need to prove themselves in conference before they earn moving higher up this list. A win over Omaha this week would certainly do that, but until they beat another team in the top half of the conference I can’t put a team higher than 6th that has a 31 point loss at a 5-10 team in the last two weeks.

IPFW7.) Fort Wayne – 5-10 (1-2)
Games last week: L @ Omaha (50-60)
Games this week: vs. North Dakota State (1/10), vs. South Dakota State (1/12)

I saw Fort Wayne with my own eyes on Saturday and they did not look like a 5-10 team! They have some of the same tough schedule problems as other teams in the Summit with losses at Indiana, vs. Valparaiso, vs. Purdue, and at Michigan State. Only three Division 1 wins this year, but the Summit League has seen a different Fort Wayne then the one that went 4-8 in the non-conference. The win was a dominant one over Western Illinois by 31 and the two losses were by five vs. IUPUI and by 10 at Omaha in a game they were ahead in with four minutes left. It’s hard to know exactly who they are and just like Oakland they’ll get a chance to show it this weekend with home games against North Dakota State and South Dakota State. Beating the Bison is a must while South Dakota State is a big measuring stick.

NDST8.) North Dakota State – 5-10 (1-2)
Games last week: L vs. South Dakota (52-73), W vs. Kansas City (59-48)
Games this week: @ Fort Wayne (1/10), @ Oakland (1/12)

Well North Dakota State is 5-10 and has one of those dreaded Non-D1 losses, @ Alaska-Anchorage. Is it more excusable because it is in Alaska? They do have a nice home win over Harvard to start the year, but the record is what it is. In conference they’ve gotten blown out at South Dakota State (understandable) but gave up a halftime lead in a 21 point home loss to South Dakota. They did get a win over Kansas City (by 11) but Kansas City is the only winless team in conference. Putting it all together I don’t think North Dakota State can be ranked anywhere other than 8th right now but I don’t know that they’ll stay there. If they start picking up some wins they could shoot up the rankings in a hurry.

UMKC9.) Kansas City – 4-12 (0-3)
Games last week: L @ South Dakota State (47-82), L @ North Dakota State (48-59)
Games this week: vs. South Dakota (1/12)

Kansas City also has a Non-D1 loss, but an even uglier one: at home to Missouri Western by 17. Kansas City does have a home win over Saint Louis (they beat Omaha in Omaha) and won at Long Island and at Wake Forest as part of a 4-4 start. It’s been all downhill since there as Kansas City has lost eight straight, five straight by 10+ points. They were blown out at home by Omaha and lost big at South Dakota State before an 11 point road loss to North Dakota State. Don’t see any way they can be ranked higher though with the preseason #2 ranking they certainly could start playing better. A home game with South Dakota on Saturday is certainly a chance to make a better impression.

Do you all agree with the rankings at all?  Think I’m way off on some teams? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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