There are only two basketball teams in the country without a conference loss. One is Murray State, a team that would almost certainly receive a general offer if it lost in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament.
The other is South Dakota State, which is 27-4 overall and 18-0 in Summit League play. But unlike Murray State, the Jackrabbits have no room for error in the conference tournament if they want to make it to the NCAA Tournament.
SDSU was No. 71 in the last NET ranking. The next highest ranked team in the Summit League is ranked 147, so this is a one-bid league. That doesn’t mean the Summit League should be taken lightly, though. Last year, Oral Roberts made a run to the Sweet 16 as the No. 15 seed. Could South Dakota State — or any of its conference rivals, ORU included — make it a similar race?
The Summit League Tournament begins Saturday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with the top eight teams in the 10-member league vying for a coveted spot in the NCAA Tournament. The championship will be played on Tuesday evening.
Here’s what you need to know before betting on BetMGM.
Summit League Ranking
1. State of South Dakota (18-0 in conference, -175 to win at BetMGM)
2. State of North Dakota (13-5, +500)
3. Oral Robert (12-6, +600)
4.Kansas City (12-6, +1400)
5. South Dakota (11-7, +1600)
6. Western Illinois (7-11, +1600)
7.Denver (7-11, +15000)
8.Omaha (4-14, +50000)
South Dakota State (-175): South Dakota State hasn’t lost since Dec. 15. Since then, the Jackrabbits have won 18 straight to become the first team to go undefeated in the Summit League. SDSU is the best 3-point shooting team in the nation by a significant margin. Jackrabbits shoot 45% ranged. No other team is shooting 40%. Baylor Scheierman, a 6-foot-6 guard who leads the team in scoring, rebounds and assists, is shooting 46.8 percent from deep. Three other major contributors have better percentage, including two starters (Alex Arians and Charlie Easley) who are shooting better than 50 percent on 150 attempts combined. Oh, and SDSU also has Douglas Wilson, a 6-foot-7 senior who won the 2020 Summit League Player of the Year.
North Dakota State (+500): The Bisons enter the tournament having won 10 of their last 12 games. NDSU is led by the 1-2 punch of Rocky Kreuser and Sam Griesel. Kreuser is a 6-foot-10 fifth-year senior who leads the team in points (15.8 ppg) and rebounds (8 rpg). While Kreuser has been the team’s most consistent player, the 6-foot-6 Griesel has scored at least 20 points in four of NDSU’s last five games. During that span, Griesel is shooting 51% from the field. NDSU has lost both of its matchups to SDSU this season, but both of those games were decided by just four points.
Oral Roberts (+600): ORU had a similar regular season in 2021 before defeating SDSU and NDSU in the conference tournament and continuing that epic run in March Madness. That run included upset wins over Ohio State and Florida and a two-point loss to Arkansas in the Sweet 16. Max Abmas and Kevin Obanor were the two stars of ORU last season. While Obanor transferred to Texas Tech, Abmas is still in the fold and can carry a team single-handedly. Abmas is averaging 22.7 points per game, but has topped the 30-point mark six times and has a career-high 42. Beyond Abmas, ORU has seven players who average between 6 .8 and 12.1 points per game. This team is dangerous.
A long plan to consider
Kansas City (+1400): As the No. 4 seed, UMKC would face South Dakota State if they overtake South Dakota in the quarterfinals. UMKC won both meetings with South Dakota during the regular season and faced South Dakota State in the regular season finale on February 26. Is it exaggerated to think that the UMKC could pull off some upheavals? The Roos have won 11 of their last 14 games and have one of the league’s leading scorers in Evan Gilyard II.