Oct 16, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT
All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. Check back throughout the day, as we’ll be posting three or four preview items every day.
To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To see the rest of the Conference Previews we’ve published, click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.
The seemingly always underrated Summit League saw four teams play in the postseason in ’12-13, along with conference tournament champion South Dakota State producing a NBA Draft second round pick in senior guard Nate Wolters.
The Jackrabbits (NCAA), their conference tournament finals opponent North Dakota State (CBI), Western Illinois (CBI) and Oakland (CIT) all saw postseason play and while the Grizzlies have departed for the Horizon League — and Wolters for the Milwaukee Bucks — they are replaced by defending WAC regular-season champion and new Summit League title threat Denver.
The Pioneers (22-10, 16-2) won an NIT game last season over Ohio and return a former all-WAC performer in senior 6-foot-6 forward Chris Udofia. The stat-sheet stuffing forward is an instant Player of the Year threat in the league but Udofia and the Pioneers will have to unseat conference preseason favorite North Dakota State and Taylor Braun.
The 6-foot-7 senior Braun leads the Bison (24-10, 12-4) as a versatile forward with range and he heads an experienced group that includes six seniors and five returning starters.
North Dakota State and Denver are the top two threats but South Dakota State looms at third place as a real contender as well. The Jackrabbits are coming off of consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and return three experienced starters leading with senior forward Jordan Dykstra.
Western Illinois, IPFW and Nebraska Omaha come in as the next three teams that could each surprise if inexperienced pieces play well and South Dakota and IUPUI round out the eight-team conference that also loses UMKC to the WAC.
In: Denver (WAC)
Out: Oakland (Horizon), UMKC (WAC)
PRESEASON SUMMIT LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Taylor Braun, North Dakota State
The efficient, do-it-all, 6-foot-7 forward returns for his senior season and fills up the stat sheet in nearly every category while shooting the ball at a high level. A model of consistency, Braun put up nearly identical statistics during his sophomore and junior seasons while averaging 30 minutes a game.
FOUR MORE NAMES TO KNOW:
- Chris Udofia, Denver: All-WAC performer is a stat-sheet stuffer coming off of offseason hip surgery.
- Jordan Dykstra, South Dakota State: Experienced senior forward takes over for the Jackrabbits following departure of Nate Wolters.
- Marshall Bjorklund, North Dakota State: Senior All-Summit forward was second in nation in field goal percentage last season, shooting an astounding 67 percent.
- Justin Simmons, Nebraska Omaha: League’s returning leading scorer (16.7 ppg) can fill it up from the outside (40 percent from three).
ONE TWITTER FEED TO FOLLOW: @summithoops
1. North Dakota State
3. South Dakota State
4. Western Illinois
6. Nebraska Omaha
7. South Dakota
- Tradition of success through change raises expectations at Xavier 1
- Sweet 16 Preview: The top 16 players left in the tournament 10
- Sweet 16 Preview: The x-factor in each game this week 1
- Ranking the Sweet 16 matchups 8
- Kentucky’s John Calipari is the National Coach of the Year, and it’s not close 36
- Sweet 16 Power Rankings: Reseeding the NCAA tournament field 15
- Ben Howland to become the next Mississippi State head coach 6
- Kentucky’s John Calipari is the National Coach of the Year, and it’s not close (36)
- You Make The Call: Did No. 11 UCLA beat No. 6 SMU on a goaltend or a blown call? (VIDEO) (32)
- Updated tournament records: Five ACC, three Pac-12 teams headed to Sweet 16 (22)
- Reports: Indiana coach Tom Crean said ‘you suck’ to referee after loss to Wichita State (19)
- West Virginia freshman on Kentucky: ‘They’re going to be 36-1′ (19)