The 2021 Summit League Men's Basketball Championship will take place from March 6th through March 9th at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The top eight teams in the conference have qualified for the tournament so that means that the Denver Pioneers did not make the trip to Sioux Falls. The Pioneers must now explore and make new discoveries on how to play better basketball next season.
Which team is ready to climb to the top in the Summit League? Let us take a look at the tournament schedule in order to find out. All times are listed in Central Standard Time (CST). The quarterfinals and the semifinals will air on ESPN+. The Summit League title game will be televised on ESPN2.
Quarterfinals -- Saturday, March 6th
Game 1: #1 South Dakota State Jackrabbits (15-6) vs #8 University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (5-19) -- 5:45 PM.
Game 2: #2 South Dakota Coyotes (13-10) vs #7 Western Illinois Leathernecks (7-14) -- 8:45 PM.
Sunday, March 7th
Game 3: #4 Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (13-10) vs #5 North Dakota Fighting Hawks (9-16) -- 5:45 PM.
Game 4: #3 North Dakota State Bison (13-11) vs #6 University of Missouri-Kansas City Roos (11-12) -- 8:45 PM.
Semifinals -- March 8th
Game 5: Winner of Game 1 vs Winner of Game 3 -- 5:45 PM.
Game 6: Winner of Game 2 vs Winner of Game 4 -- 8:45 PM.
Championship -- March 9th
Winner of Game 5 vs Winner of Game 6 -- 8 PM.
A wrinkle in the scheduling of the Summit League Tournament is that the #1 seed and the #2 seed will receive a day of rest if they are able to take care of business on Saturday. Having the best two regular season records could lead to a rest advantage in the semifinals on Monday against a team that would have won on Sunday.
Something that is quite quirky with the quarterfinals is that all of the games could be billed as The Dakotas vs the World in which a team from either North Dakota or South Dakota is going up against a team that is outside of the Dakotas. The teams in the Dakotas have the #1, #2, #3, and the #5 seeds in this tournament. Who would have known that the newest hotbed of basketball talent is in North Dakota and South Dakota?
The top four teams are the favorites in this tournament. South Dakota State looks to put up points quickly with four starters that averaged double-digits in points. They live up to the Jackrabbits nickname by averaging almost eighty points per game.
South Dakota has the highest-scoring duo in the Summit League in Stanley Umede (21.4 ppg) and A.J. Plitzuweit (19 ppg). I dare you to try to pronounce their last names.
North Dakota State always seems to be in the mix, and this season is no exception with three players that averaged double-digits in points.
Oral Roberts Golden Eagles have the conference's leading scorer in Max Abmas (24.7 ppg) and have the conference's leading rebounder in Kevin Obanor (10 rpg). These types of individiual efforts are some attributes that can give a team momentum in a tournament format.
The winner of the Summit League has generally given opposition some trouble in the first round. The League's most famous upset was when North Dakota State upset Oklahoma in 2014.
Schedule is from TheSummitLeague.org. Image is from Pixabay.