Preview: Summit League Tournament


Evan Patzwald, Sports Reporter (He/him)

The South Dakota State men’s and women’s basketball teams each won the Summit League regular season championship and claimed the top seeds heading into this weekend’s Summit League Tournament.


Leading the way for the Jackrabbit men is last year’s Summit League Player of the Year, Douglas Wilson. He is averaging 16.1 points per game.

Sophomore Baylor Scheierman is having an improved season as he went from averaging 6.0 points per game last year to 14.7 this season.

X-Factor: Luke Appel. Appel is a transfer from Kirkwood Community College, the same  school Wilson transferred from. He is averaging 10.3 in wins and 4.5 in losses


No. 1 South Dakota State vs. No. 8 Omaha (Saturday @ 5:45 p.m.)

This is the first matchup of the year for these teams since their series in January got canceled.

The Jackrabbits are coming in with a vengeance as they have been upset in the first round of the tournament as top-two seeds the past two seasons.

The Mavericks struggled all season and finished 3-11 in conference play. However, their three wins all came in the last two weeks of the season, so they are certainly riding momentum that they have not experienced all year.

SDSU is certainly going to need big games from Scheierman and Wilson after their leading scorer, Noah Freidel, announced he was taking the remainder of the season off to focus on his mental health.

Omaha will also need more players to step up, as their leading scorer, Marlon Ruffin, suffered three facial fractures in their game Feb. 6.

No. 4 Oral Roberts vs. No. 5 North Dakota (Sunday @ 5:45 p.m.)

The Golden Eagles and Fighting Hawks split their regular season series during the season. In their first game, North Dakota won a tight game with a game-winning free throw, while their second game was a 17-point victory for ORU.

Max Abmas is currently the leading scorer in the country at 24.7 for the Golden Eagles.

Meanwhile, Filip Rebraca of UND is leading his team with 17.2. North Dakota got at least one win against every team in the conference except SDSU, so they’ve proven they can match up against almost anybody.

ORU is coming in winning two straight after wins vs. Western Illinois to close out their schedule.

No. 2 South Dakota vs. No. 7 Western Illinois (Saturday @ 8:45 p.m.)

The Coyotes are trending downwards heading into the weekend as they started their conference schedule 9-0 and finished 11-4. They looked like themselves again in a Feb. 27 win over NDSU until A.J. Plitzuweit suffered a severe knee injury in the final minutes of the game. He was their second leading scorer.

Senior Stanley Umude is ninth in the country in scoring and leading the Coyotes with 21.4.

The Leathernecks are coming in hot, winning five of their last seven games after starting out 0-7. USD won both games Jan. 22 and 23, by scores of 65-60 and 84-74.

No. 3 North Dakota State vs. No. 6 Kansas City (Sunday @ 8:45 p.m.)

The Bison and the Roos each picked up a win over each other in January, but the margin was by a total of six points in two games. It is certainly going to be a defensive battle Sunday night to close out the first round.

Kansas City is first in the Summit League in defense allowing 62.3, while North Dakota State is second allowing 67.2.

In their Jan. 30 matchup, Kansas City won with a final score of 49-47, showing their defensive capabilities. NDSU is going to need to get the ball inside as Kansas City plays a unique style of basketball compared to other Summit League teams with their tremendous perimeter defense. NDSU shot 8-for-30 on 3-pointers in their two-game series.


The Jackrabbit women went undefeated in conference play for the first time in school history, winning 18 straight games. They will likely be without Summit League Player of the Year, Myah Selland, after she suffered an injury against NDSU a few weeks ago.

Senior Tylee Irwin has stepped up in a big way, averaging 23 points per game since Selland’s injury and crossing the 1,000-career point milestone in that span. Paiton Burckhard is also ready for a postseason run, averaging 13.0.

X-Factor: Madysen Vlastuin. Vlastuin has had an excellent second half of the season as a true freshman. She most recently had a career-high 11 points in the final game of the regular season. She has seen a big increase in minutes since Selland’s injury.


No. 1 South Dakota State vs. No. 8 Omaha (Saturday @ 11:45 a.m.)

The Jacks went 2-0 vs. the Mavericks in their first matchup, Jacks forward Myah Selland crossed the 1,000-career points milestone. They will be playing without her in the game.

SDSU is riding an undefeated conference season and an 18-game win streak. Omaha, meanwhile, finished their rough season on a good note, winning three of their last four games to close the schedule.

Elena Pilakouta finished her season strong for the Mavericks. She scored 21 points and 24 points in their final two games.

No. 4 Kansas City vs. No. 5 Western Illinois (Sunday @ 11:45 a.m.) 

WIU is coming in with a week off after their final games against Oral Roberts were canceled. Up until that point, they had won three games in a row against Denver and Omaha. The Roos most recently lost two straight games to SDSU. 

Naomie Alnatas is averaging a team-high 16.0 points per game for Kansas City, while Grace Gilmore is leading the Leathernecks with 13.3. Gilmore had one of her best games of the season up against Kansas City. Both teams each picked up a game against each other in the regular season. 

No. 2 South Dakota vs. No. 7 Oral Roberts (Saturday @ 2:45 p.m.) 

The Coyotes went 12-2 in league play, with their only two losses coming from SDSU. They won both games against the Golden Eagles in nearly identical fashion with final scores of 77-54 and 76-54. 

USD has two of the three top scorers in the Summit League in Hannah Sjerven and Chloe Lamb. They are averaging 17.2 and 15.8, respectively.

Tierney Coleman is leading ORU in scoring, but she had her worst performance of the season against the ‘Yotes. She only had three points and shot 1-for-13 from the field. She is going to need to step up if the Golden Eagles want to pull off the upset. 

No. 3 North Dakota St vs. No. 6 Denver (Sunday @ 2:45 p.m.) 

The Bison are having their best season in recent memory, as this is the first time they’ve finished above .500 since the 2009-10 season. They finished 14-8 overall and are hoping to make a run, as they have never made it to the NCAA Tournament since the transition to Division I. 

Although they are having a good year, the Bison have lost four straight games coming in. The Pioneers are hoping for revenge from last year’s Summit League Tournament as they were upset by NDSU when they were the No. 3 seed and the Bison were the No. 6 seed. They split their games in the regular season. 

Where/When to Watch 

  • Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, SD 
  • No Fans 
  • Takes place March 6-9 
  • Women’s Tip-off at 11:45 on Saturday 
  • Men’s tip-off at 5:45 on Saturday 
  • MidcoSN/ESPN+ for all games