Monday, August 30, 2010

Summit League Schedule Scrutinization: IUPUI

For the next few weeks, we'll be scrutinizing over the schedules announced by the various Summit League schools. Generally, they'll appear in alphabetical order with an array of thoughts on the teams and their opponents. The general idea behind this comes from a similar feature on, where writer Zach Hayes kindly encouraged us to adopt some pieces of the format for use here, though you'll find plenty of Summit League flair in the words below.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

General Theme: For the second straight season, IUPUI Head Coach Ron Hunter has turned to neutral-site tournaments to help fill out his men's basketball schedule. Last year, the Jaguars played in the Glenn Wilkes Classic, which added four games to their schedule. This year, they'll participate in the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic, which for the most part takes place one state to the east in Oxford, Ohio. From this alone, they get a game at Gonzaga and three games against respected mid-major programs in UW-Green Bay, Miami (Ohio), and San Diego State. The IUPUI squad also gets two games out of the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic, though the teams have not been announced yet. Credit Hunter for hunting down these tournaments as they provide a hungry mid-major program like IUPUI the opportunity to complete the non-conference schedule a bit more easily. While they do sacrifice some independence in the process, they'll at least get to reap the benefits of coming together with others for a common cause.

Travel At A Glance: Much of the travel in the non-conference schedule has a Midwest-focus, which is solid for Hunter and the rest of the Jaguars. Two west coast trips (once to Spokane, Washington and then to Las Vegas for the tournament) will inflate the line-item for travel, but the games played there should be great for the team's RPI, strength of schedule, and other indicators. Still, the Jaguars will be doing a lot of traveling as they return many games to teams which visited The Jungle in 2009-10.

Easiest Game: IUPUI plays against a lot of decent-to-strong mid-majors, thus none of these games particularly stand out for easiest game consideration. For that reason, we'll stick with the non-DI games which should give the Jaguars some time to test out many of their new faces. The team had a very short bench last season, and with the departure of strong players like Robert Glenn and Billy Pettiford, many new guys will need to step up. These games will provide them with that chance.

Toughest Game: The only top-tier Big Ten team the Oakland Golden Grizzlies won't face this year is Ohio State. The Buckeyes return nearly every key piece from last year sans Evan Turner but get a boost in the paint with the arrival of highly-touted freshman Jared Sullinger (people are predicting Greg Oden-like status for this young dude). IUPUI will get the task of figuring out how to stop Sullinger and the rest of the guys from tOSU. Sadly, Mark Titus won't be there to reciprocate any one-armed embraces.

Most Likely Upset: The Jags' best shot of a marginal upset will come against San Diego State. Head Coach Steve Fisher has built a strong program there in San Diego, enough so that this could be considered an upset for IUPUI.

Most Challenging Non-Conference Stretch: The team from Indy will play three straight road games in December at Ohio State (12/9), at Ohio (12/12), and at Duquesne (12/18). Each game presents its own hurdles, with the OSU game obviously standing out as the toughest. Coming away from this stretch with one win should be expected but two will be challenging.

Most Challenging Conference Stretch: The Summit League portion of the schedule for IUPUI is rather balanced. Consequently, there are no three-to-four game stretches which really jump out as incredibly tough. Good news for the Jags.

Best Individual Match-Up: Mark your calendars for when the Jaguars take on the Golden Eagles of Oral Roberts to see IUPUI's Alex Young battle against ORU's Domonique Morrison. The two juniors are coming off of great sophomore campaigns in which both earned First Team honors in The Summit League. ORU has a more balanced scoring attack than IUPUI, so while Young may be the more prolific scorer of the two, Morrison can still put up big numbers with the best of them. If it weren't for that guy up in Rochester named Kito, these two would garner first consideration for conference player of the year in 2010-11.

Most Anticipated Home Game: IUPUI doesn't have too many watchable home games in the fall semester, that is until Oral Roberts comes to town for an early-season Summit League game. The two teams will meet at The Jungle on Saturday, December 4. The Jaguars will be looking to prove they haven't taken a step back after last year's dominating season, while the Golden Eagles will attempt to establish themselves as the number one team in the conference pecking order with an early win on the road. Due to the previously-mentioned lack of early home games, one can be sure that the Red Zone will be rockin' and ready to help cheer the Jags to victory.

Concluding Thoughts: It seems as though every coach has his own philosophy when it comes to putting together a schedule. Ron Hunter has relied on multi-team tournaments to fill out his schedules recently, which is great for getting guaranteed games but unfortunate for fans looking to attend home games. Despite this fact, he'll have his IUPUI team playing a lot of quality opponents in preparation for conference play. And that's the most you can ask for from a schedule at this level.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summit League Schedule Scrutinization: IPFW

For the next few weeks, we'll be scrutinizing over the schedules announced by the various Summit League schools. Generally, they'll appear in alphabetical order with an array of thoughts on the teams and their opponents. The general idea behind this comes from a similar feature on, where writer Zach Hayes kindly encouraged us to adopt some pieces of the format for use here, though you'll find plenty of Summit League flair in the words below.

Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne (IPFW)

General Theme: Coach Dane Fife and the rest of the IPFW coaching staff put together an incredibly balanced schedule for the 2010-11 season. The non-conference portion is particularly righteous, with a solid mix of home and away games as well as high-majors and mid-majors. There's still the curious case of SIU-Edwardsville, a team with which the Mastodons will play a home-and-home within the same season for the second straight year. That said, the schedule is still rather spectacular if you ask us. Major props to IPFW for securing back-to-back home games against Toledo (a MAC school) and UT-Martin (of the Ohio Valley) in the fall semester.

Travel At A Glance: Travel will not be an issue for IPFW this season as most of its non-conference road games are within the Midwest. The lone outlier is a November trip to face the University of North Dakota. We're not sure why a team would willingly travel there when it's already mandated for the NDSU/SDSU trip, but perhaps Fife is just getting a leg up on the rest of the conference coaches for when UND inevitably joins up. The best part about the travel side of things comes in the first week of the season which will see the Dons make a short trip to Cincinnati for games against both of the city's teams, Xavier and Cincinnati. Seriously, this pairing is pure genius because both are solid programs which will have great RPIs by year's end and they're in the same city!

Easiest Game: Tennessee-Martin was terrrrible last season, just a year after triple-double threat Lester "Done Ruthless" Hudson left for the NBA (as an aside, Hudson will be sharing backcourt duties with John Wall this season - mid-majors represent!). If you've read anything about IPFW lately, you'll know the school is very proud of its winning record last season, a first for the program in the DI-era. If the Mastodons have indeed arrived like they want us to believe, they'll need to thoroughly dispatch the Seahawks when they come to Fort Wayne.

Toughest Game: On the road against Purdue in late December. IPFW gets the Boilermakers a month after the Golden Grizzlies and will have an even tougher time staying competitive with them. Purdue's three-headed monster of seniors will be looking to decimate their last remaining non-conference opponents in anticipation of the Big Ten schedule.

Most Likely Upset: I think IPFW has a legitimate shot to dispose of Toledo when they arrive at Memorial Coliseum. It may not seem like a typical upset, but if IPFW is able to consistently challenege MAC squads, then the program is going in the right direction. Aside from this game, I could see the Dons giving Cincinnati a run for its money in their early-season match-up.

Most Challenging Non-Conference Stretch: As we keep saying, this schedule is extremely balanced. It's difficult to pinpoint a stretch of games in the non-conference portion as particularly tough because of said balance. With that said, the duo of games in Cincinnati will be tough as Xavier returns the core of its Sweet Sixteen team and the Cinci Bearcats have Yancy Gates patrolling the paint. Following that trip with a visit to North Dakota makes this stretch even more of a challenge.

Most Challenging Conference Stretch: In a true sign of the program's progress, IPFW beat South Dakota State last season in Fort Wayne and Sioux Falls and only lost by one point in Brookings. They also beat North Dakota State on the road and at home. Combined, the Mastodons went 4-1 against the Dakota States. Impressive, to say the least. Despite this success, the toughest stretch still has to be when they travel to the Dakotas in the dead of winter for games at NDSU and SDSU. Prior to that trip, IPFW will face Oakland at home, though the Grizzlies always bring a solid cheering crew along from Rochester which cancels out any home-court advantage.

Best Individual Match-Up: The Mastodons are expecting big things from big man Trey McCorkle this season. The solid 6'10" junior is poised for a breakout year after earning some significant minutes during Summit League play in 2009-10. His best game was against Oakland in Rochester on Senior Night where he dropped 25 points along with 6 rebounds on the Grizzlies. OU won the game (and Keith Benson had 32 points in addition to fouling out), but to this day McCorkle's numbers still jump out of the box score (and I don't remember much of that performance due mostly to the fact I was caught up with the emotions of watching JJ and D-Nel for the last time at the O'Rena). For this reason, we're going with McCorkle versus the tandem of Will Hudson and Keith Benson.

Most Anticipated Home Game: IPFW fans may disagree, but that game against Toledo is looking mighty attractive. In the grand scheme of college basketball, Toledo is considered a solid, middle-tier program. Look no further than the fact they hired away Tod Kowalczyk last spring from UW-Green Bay where he had finished second and third in the Horizon League the past two seasons, respectively. Many would look at that as a lateral coaching move, but Toledo plays in the MAC and the MAC has football, which ultimately means it has more resources at its disposal. The MAC may be down in basketball recently, but it's still great when a Summit League team, especially one in the Midwest, can get a school from the conference for a home game. And it's in the fall semester, so it's a major plus for IPFW students to be able to watch some college basketball before the holidays.

Concluding Thoughts: The Mastodons will have an experienced backcourt leading them in their quest for a second-straight winning season. However, they'll also need contributions from a few JuCo transfers and incoming freshmen to help replace some of the scoring and rebounding lost with the departures of Deilvez Yearby, Nick Daniels, and Antwone Snead. What's clear with this schedule is that Coach Dane Fife has given them the balance needed to establish themselves early on in preparation for the conference season.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Summit League Schedule Scrutinization: Centenary

For the next few weeks, we'll be scrutinizing over the schedules announced by the various Summit League schools. Generally, they'll appear in alphabetical order with an array of thoughts on the teams and their opponents. The general idea behind this comes from a similar feature on, where writer Zach Hayes kindly encouraged us to adopt some pieces of the format for use here, though you'll find plenty of Summit League flair in the words below.

Centenary College

The sad walk is something the Gents will do often

General Theme: What sticks out most about the Centenary men's basketball schedule for 2010-11 are the road games. This is typical of teams at this level, though Centenary has it particularly rough this season. The team has just two non-conference home games, and the real kicker is that they have to return those games this season. The Gents first game of the season is at Memphis which probably will not end very well, nor will very many other games. Despite some hope around the blogosphere, Centenary is going to have a very, very long season.

Travel At A Glance: Although many of the team's games are on the road, most of them are close enough to Louisiana that the school won't have to shell out too much money on travel. The only trip that will kill their travel budget comes at the end of the non-conference season when the Gents make their way to Milwaukee to face Marquette followed two days later by venturing out to Wyoming to face the state's namesake. That trip will not be fun.

Easiest Game: Every single game will be incredibly challenging for Centenary this season. The new coach may find some hard workers to fill out his squad in 2010-11, but these guys just won't be Division I talents.

Toughest Game: Playing Marquette at the Bradley Center in mid-December will be brutal for Centenary. MU is bound to be rolling by that time, ready to give the Gents a drubbing.

Most Likely Upset: Sticking with the prevailing theme, any win for Centenary could be considered an upset this season. Even a Division II team like Arkansas-Monticello will play hard against Centenary, especially since they take them on twice.

Most Challenging Non-Conference Stretch: @Marquette on December 18 followed by @Wyoming two days later on the 20th. The Gents play a Louisiana-Monroe they beat last season but this time it's in Monroe, and Centenary's roster has been completely overhauled since 2009-10. This stretch of games will certainly take a lot out of the Shreveport-based team.

Most Challenging Conference Stretch: @Oral Roberts on 1/22, @IPFW on 1/27, and @Oakland on 1/29. Oral Roberts projects to be in the upper echelon of The Summit League this season, as usual. Going on the road to beat them will be nearly impossible, and followed by two games in the far north against an improving IPFW squad and the reigning champs in Oakland U. Did I mention all of these games are on the road?

Best Individual Match-Up: Centenary has lost a lot of players since announcing its transition to Division III athletics, therefore we'll know more about the team's personnel once the season starts. While they did just announce the last four additions to the team, the only familiar name this season will be junior Maxx Nakwaasah.

Most Anticipated Home Game: This has to go to the team's last game of the season at the Gold Dome against IUPUI. The match-up will be the Gents' last as a Summit League team, so one can only hope the arena there will be packed with supporters. A win would be an amazing way for the school to leave the conference, especially against a strong team in IUPUI.

Concluding Thoughts: We're not in the business of making any firm predictions here, though it's probably safe to say that Centenary will struggle mightily this season. A last place finish in The Summit League would not surprise anyone. Hopefully the Gents can keep their confidence and composure through what will be a long season against a lot of quality competition.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Skills Camps, NBA Draft Results, And What It Could Mean For Keith Benson

As we look ahead to the 2010-11 season, there is no doubt one of the most intriguing storylines around Oakland basketball will be redshirt senior Keith Benson's professional prospects. Benson is coming off a junior season that saw him win Summit League Player of the Year and declare for early-entry in the NBA Draft only to withdraw his name after a thumb injury prevented him from participating in information-gathering workouts. While Benson was projected as a second-round pick this summer by many outlets, there is no telling what the workouts would have done for his chances at a first-round pick. Now, he'll spend another season in an Oakland University uniform attempting to impress scouts with his individual game while still trying to lead his team to a second consecutive NCAA Tournament bid. It should be a fun ride.

Even though Benson will determine his own NBA fate through his play on the court this season and afterward at team workouts, the pre-draft combine, and assorted meetings, it's interesting to look into some of the other aspects that can be used in predicting a prospect's chances. Previously, we dove into some analysis on the draft possibilities of four-year seniors and big man availability in 2011, and how these factors could influence Benson's chances of finding himself in the first round of next year's NBA Draft. Today, we're looking at what participation in summer skills camps can tell us about a prospect's chances of being drafted. And the results, for Benson, are promising!

During the summer of 2009, Keith Benson was invited as one of the nation's top big men to participate in Amar'e Stoudemire's Skills Academy, a camp sponsored by the NBA player and his shoe company, Nike. While at these sessions, big men from colleges as well as high schools have the opportunity to learn "big man" skills from those with professional experiences. For a school like Oakland University to have a player invited to one of these camps is a big deal, for the simple fact it never happens. While it's impossible to know exactly what moves or advice Benson received at this camp, one can reasonably deduce that being there added to his skillset and played at least a minor role in him earning conference honors, not to mention competing at a high-level against several great opposing big men throughout the season.

One of the camp's participants, former Kansas player Cole Aldrich, was one such center who Benson performed well against in 2009-10; in fact, at this point his performance opposite Aldrich is part of Oakland U basketball lore (he went for 20 and 6 while holding Aldrich to 4 points on 2/10 shooting from the field). In the end, though, Aldrich got paid by declaring and staying in the draft, ultimately landing with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round. A look at Benson's fellow Stoudemire Academy attendees in 2009 reveals that they also fared well when it came time for draft night.

Excluding a few of the guards listed on the Amar'e roster, there were ten players who participated in the 2009 camp. From those ten players, here is a brief breakdown on the fates of each:
  • Only two were entering their senior seasons, and both of these players - Jerome Jordan out of Tulsa and Dwayne Collins from Miami - were both second round draft picks. Jordan was selected by the Bucks but was acquired by the Knicks as the third part of a trio of second-rounders hoping to make the Knicks squad. His Summer League performances left a lot to be desired, and it looks like he will be heading to Serbia shortly. Collins was the last overall pick by the Phoenix Suns, and he was unable to play in the Summer League. He has since signed to play in Italy next season. Overall, the word is that being a senior going into the camp means you'll get drafted but only in the second round where roster spots are far from guaranteed.
  • Of the five junior participants, four declared early for this year's draft, though only two had enough information to guarantee they'd be first-round locks. And boy did it work out for those two guys. Cole Aldrich and Larry Sanders landed with the Thunder and Milwaukee Bucks, respectively. These guys will be in the line-ups for their respective squads in 2010-11.
  • The other juniors were Benson, Purdue's JaJuan Johnson, and Virginia Tech's Jeff Allen. Benson and Johnson both looked into staying in the draft but ultimately backed out. Johnson's decision looks great as he returns to a Purdue team expected to compete for a national title, and he just recently nabbed one of 10 spots on USA Basketball's Men's Select Team which played scrimmages against the USA Basketball team consisting of NBA ballers. Pair this with the fact that Johnson is already projected to be a high second-rounder in 2011 and we have everything we need to know Johnson will be drafted next season.
  • Jeff Allen is definitely capable of putting up big numbers in the ACC, yet over the course of his junior season he averaged 12 points and 7 rebounds. He's also undersized for the NBA at just 6'7", though he is a solid 250 pounder. Allen would likely need a monstrous season not unlike what DeJuan Blair put together two years ago at Pittsburgh to prove he has what it takes to compete in the NBA. He may work himself into the draft, but he's not as sure a thing as others on this list.
  • The last three players at the camp were all going into their sophomore seasons: Georgetown's Greg Monroe, Cincinnati's Yancy Gates, and Wake Forest's Tony Woods. Monroe's story is well known as he was a lottery pick in this season's draft. Gates is an undervalued player who played second-fiddle to Lance Stephenson's hype at Cincinnati last season. While he's just 6'9", he's a huge dude who can cause trouble in the paint - in fact, when I watched Cinci last season to see Stephenson, I often came away more impressed by Gates. Presently, DraftExpress has him as a late second-rounder, but he has a whole season to work his way up as a workhorse in a Big East lacking the kind of big-time big-men it's had in recent seasons.
  • The poor-man of this bunch is Tony Woods. The 6'11" big man only played about 13 minutes a game last season, failing to achieve a single double-double throughout the year. We feel for Woods because all-everything guy Al-Farouq Aminu was busy scoring tons and cleaning up the glass on the reg. Now, though, Woods will have a chance to take some of the spotlight in Winston-Salem. Scouts love him because of his NBA body and athleticism, now he'll have to give new WF coach Jeff Bzdelik a reason to love him right now, in the college game. The jury is not out of Woods, and for all we know he could become yet another person out of this camp to be drafted.
  • Overall, the Amar'e Stoudemire Skills Academy has a perfect 5/5 record when it comes to eligible participants from 2009 getting picked in the NBA Draft (we would still need 3-4 years to see how many of these talents actually stick). Using early predictions for 2011, it is entirely possible that 8 out of the 10 participants will have been drafted by an NBA franchise when all is said and done.
Studying the successes of these athletes post-Stoudemire Academy surely points in a positive direction for Keith Benson. While we're not saying that being a participant at this summer camp causes one to become an NBA draft pick, there is enough evidence to suggest that there is at least a minor correlation. For Benson, this means that he has as great a chance of hearing his named called next June in New York City as any of these past participants. Now whether his name is called by David Stern or Adam Silver is up to Benson with his play in 2010-11. We can only hope that a spectacular season from OU's senior center will also mean plenty of wins for the Golden Grizzlies and hopefully a trip back to the NCAAs!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summit League Logo Battle: South Dakota State

When it comes to The Summit League, we have some of the best nicknames in all of college sports. And what better way to embrace our team monikers than to take a look at their visual equivalences: the team logo. For all of our analyses, we used the primary logos for each team listed on the venerable website (Please note that any digs thrown at the schools are just for fun and do not necessarily represent our true feelings about them!)

Program: South Dakota State

Nickname: Jackrabbits

Origin of Nickname: There are two theories as to how South Dakota State ended up with the jackrabbit as its nickname. One goes that a local newspaper writer described the football team as being quick as jackrabbits, knowing the townsfolk would appreciate it as Brookings was known for the speedy animals. Another says that a group of students changed the name of the yearbook to The Jackrabbit, hoping to leave a lasting impact that resulted in athletics teams picking up the name as well. (h/t:The Summit League)

Philosophical Take: The jackrabbit illustrated here is leaping forward at a rapid pace, not unlike the basketball program under Coach Scott Nagy. During his tenure in Brookings, he has led the SDSU program through reclassification to Division I and finally had a breakthrough season in 2009-10. The jackrabbit is eager to propel itself to higher ranks because it knows it is carrying the entire state of South Dakota on its back. The great people of the Mount Rushmore State are incredibly dedicated supporters, as evidenced by its hosting and subsequent attendance at the Summit League Tournament each season, and they're hungry for winning basketball. This hunger is perhaps another reason why the jackrabbit has such an intimidating demeanor as its readying itself to pounce on its prey just as SDSU and the state it gets its name from are prepared to show their might in the realm of college basketball fandom.

Final Judgment: This is the best logo in The Summit League. When I started this series, I called it a "Battle" because it was supposed to be a ranking of sorts of all the logos in the conference, though I found out it was more fun analyzing them from goofy angles and creating new versions. Really, though, it was always leading to South Dakota State. The idea to look at logos in The Summit League started all the way back in 2008, when the identity blog Brand New took an uncharacteristic look into the new logo for SDSU. As an avid reader of that blog, I was first thrilled to see them discussing sports logos, then couldn't believe it when it was about a Summit League team. It's been a long time coming, but to this day the Jackrabbits logo is by far the best executed in this conference. The designer somehow made a jackrabbit look scary and intimidating; the type used for "Jackrabbits" is fitting and gives one the information needed to know the full nickname; and the placement of South Dakota State University ties it all together in an egdy font that fits well for an athletic logo.

How We'd Fix It: The only thing that could use a touch-up on this logo is the blue outline surrounding "Jackrabbits." It's just a little too heavy for our tastes.

Thanks for reading this series on Summit League logos. We hope it was some combination of informative and humorous. Hopefully none of the schools hate our guts for some of the philosophical analyses, as it was all done in fun. For more, please check out the links below.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Breaking Down Attendance Figures In The Summit League

In sports we often measure the interest people have in a team with attendance figures. If a team is consistently selling out its arena, it's deemed a success. If the bleachers or plastic-backed chairs are empty, the team looks pitiful. A winning team, the conventional thinking goes, will attract more people to games. Lose, and your turnstile figures plummet. More often than not, this philosophy holds up for every sport on all levels. But for small college basketball programs, it's not always as easy as "win and get the people in."

There could be numerous reasons as to why mid-major programs struggle to have packed audiences game-in and game-out. The simple fact that marquee teams - the ones whose name alone may draw in the casual fan - rarely play away from home during the non-conference season is one such. Another may be conference affiliation; after all, even if your team is winning on a consistent basis, is it really worth it to go to a game against the conference doormat? A more dominating reason, perhaps, is that most people just don't follow what's going on at this level. For them, storylines involving the Lakers and Colts and Longhorns of the world are more appealing than those from the Jackrabbits and Thunderbirds and Kangaroos with which we are acquainted.

Looking at attendance averages from the 2009-10 season in The Summit League, this analysis tends to hold up well. Of the 10 conference members, only two had an average attendance equaling half of their arena's capacity. Even with that said, those two should be looked at closely. IUPUI, which averaged 1,316 attendees per game, only fits 1,215 in its Jungle gym. The inflated figure probably includes "home" games played at Conseco Fieldhouse, not unlike how OU's work when including matches at The Palace of Auburn Hills. While the Jaguars should be commended for fielding a team strong enough to pack its gym for every game, it should be noted that their modest capacity gives them a leg-up in this discussion.

Like IUPUI, Oakland University had a stunning occupancy rate of 91% for the season, a number calculated from the O'Rena's listed capacity of 3,000. However, anyone who follows the Golden Grizzlies knows the team regularly has crowds of more than 3k, and the all-time attendance record is upwards of 4,000. Using a modified capacity of 3,500, OU still fills 78% of seats per game; at 4,000 it drops to 68%. No matter the case, Oakland ranks second in The Summit League.

Aside from those two cases, it seems the occupancy rate for most schools in the conference suffers because their arenas are simply too big. IPFW and UMKC's 13,000 and 9,200 seat mammoths, respectively, are considerably big for two schools hanging around .500 every season. On the other hand, WIU's ability to fill only 19% of its 5,000+ seat Western Hall is more than likely due to its poor record over the past few years. There is a reason the teams at the top of this list are those competing for the conference crown every year. Other thoughts on these figures, in bulleted form:
  • In this analysis, the biggest surprise has to be Southern Utah. Centrum Arena can hold 5,300 according to the team's website, and the team managed to average 2,098 fans per game, good for a rate of 40%. Basketball is king in Utah (and SUU has an advantage at home), but I will admit that I never suspected SUU to have this much support considering their recent performances on the court. I have lobbied in the past for SUU to move on to a better-fitting league, but this bit of information shines some light on the otherwise gloomy program.
  • Oral Roberts blows every other Summit school out of the water with its 4,662 person average per game. And that is for an arena that can hold up to 10,575 fans! ORU set the standard for play on the court for much of the middle of the past decade, but their fan and community support continues to be the bar today. If ORU ever makes a serious move to leave The Summit League, their ability to attract large audiences will surely be one reason why.
  • OU fans have long wondered whether the O'Rena is a big enough arena for the team, especially considering the progress the program has achieved as of late. This data proves that it is a good fit, for now. If anything larger were ever proposed, I'd like to see it be in the same vein as Frost and Bison Sports Arena, the homes of the two Dakota schools. Even with averages close to OU, each school is capable of selling out their roughly 6,000 seats for big games. It'd be pretty incredible if OU could draw 5,000-6,000 people per game for an entire season, but if the program had an arena that size, it'd be easier to market Rochester as a destination for the kind of opposing teams that could bring in the extra fans needed to make it viable.
  • Western Illinois is currently stuck on the steepest incline in its uphill battle to find relevance in The Summit League. Reading about their basketball history is downright sad, but fortunately, they have a great coach in Jim Molinari and seem to be attracting players that fit well with his system. One can only hope they are able to attract bigger audiences this year, if not only to give the players some fans to play for.
  • Poor Centenary. It is difficult to determine what Centenary's legacy will be in this conference, if any. It's both sad (long-time DI school) and a relief (lots of money for travel) to see them leave, but if it had to happen, it would have been great to go out with a bang. Their 881 average, however, shows they will not.
As the table shows, the conference as a whole had a total average of 2,137 attendees per game, good for approximately 45% of seats sold. While The Summit League isn't challenging the Missouri Valley Conference in this statistical department anytime soon, it's not quite terrible. With improved stability and competitiveness, the league should see this number jump up over the next few seasons.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Deciphering Laval Lucas-Perry's Game

The big news over the weekend was of the transfer of Laval Lucas-Perry to Oakland from the University of Michigan. The 21-year-old guard comes to Rochester with a scattered college basketball history which includes a five game stint at the University of Arizona and the one-and-a-half seasons he played with the Wolverines. Due to the fact he has already redshirted as a transfer student, Lucas-Perry will sit out the 2010-11 season for the Golden Grizzlies and lose a year of his eligibility. He'll then play out his one and only season in black and gold in 2011-12 as a senior.

Lucas-Perry brings with him to Oakland a bit of baggage, mostly resulting from his mysterious departure from Michigan. Off-the-court issues aside, LLP also underperformed while at Michigan, though Oakland fans will surely remember the three-point show he put on against the Grizzlies in 2008-09. In an effort to learn more about what the Flint-native did between that Oakland game (which was his first as a Wolverine) and now, we reached out to a few folks with an intimate knowledge of UM basketball. Their thoughts on the embattled guard's strengths, weaknesses, psyche, and overall talent are below.

Dylan Burkhardt of the venerable had this to say of LLP's game:
Laval was an enigma during his two years in Ann Arbor. He was so up and down that is was frustrating to watch. His surprisingly good performances almost all single-handedly won Michigan games. The problem is that so many other games he would be almost invisible on the court.
Offensively he prefers to shoot, about 2 out of every 3 of his field goal attempts were from three point range, but he shot only 29% from distance last year. He has worked on becoming a point guard but didn't really make that shift in Ann Arbor. A lot of his struggles are mental, that much is clear as you could see his confidence disappear game by game. Laval isn't a great defender, mostly because he has the habit of picking up cheap fouls. He is a capable athlete for the Summit League though and should be fine. Hopefully Laval can land on his feet at OU. It seems like it should be a good fit and he might be able to find that confidence and put together a great season.
Maize n Brew Dave of, SBNation's Wolverines blog, had this to offer on LLP:
It's tough trying to describe LLP's game. Not because he didn't play or because there's too much to get into. It's because LLP was just so maddeningly inconsistent. LLP was mostly a perimeter player who would occasionally go to the hole, but would look for the outside shot the majority of the time. If he possesses a mid-range jump shot, he never displayed it at Michigan, and for the most part he was a "live by the three die by the three" kind of player. As you can probably guess, that meant his on court lifespan was fairly short. LLP is an adequate defender, but not the type of player I'd want in crunch time defending anyone with a jump shot.

Here's the thing: I don't think he was a good fit for John Beilein's system so it's really hard for me to fairly evaluate him for any other type of system. The one thing I will say is that his jump shot is not good, from anywhere. If he can develop any kind of mid-range game I think he'll be able to contribute. But if he starts chucking threes that never find the net, I can't say that he's going to improve. Hopefully a year in a different system where he can get to the hoop a little more will help him contribute to the Grizzles. The biggest thing for Laval is confidence. If he's confident, he can be a good player.
Ryan Pravato, who spent some time as the Summit League correspondent for Rush The Court and has contributed UofM articles to, finalized the picture of Laval:
LLP probably will be a slightly worse version of Larry Wright. He is a very streaky shooter, definitely a shooting guard in a point guard's body. At the end of last season his confidence was shot, and in basketball (especially being a shooter) that's not good at all. He will either thrive at OU or continue just to be a mediocre/situational bench player at best, hard to see an inbetween for a guy with a limited skill set. If he ever gets that shooter's confidence back he can be an asset.
In reading the thoughts from several people who have spent much time analyzing Lucas-Perry, it is clear that he's suffered from inconsistency as a guard, largely due to lacking that mental confidence which strong shooters desperately need. If there is anything we know about Coach Greg Kampe's handling of shooters, it's that he continues to tell them to shoot. We've seen guys like Blake Cushingberry and Larry Wright slump in the past, only to rebound well after Kampe instructed them to "keep on shooting." Lucas-Perry has the chops to make a difference for Oakland in his one season, but the level of his impact will assuredly rest on how well he is shooting, especially from deep. Hopefully a year of practicing with the guys will help him find what he needs to prove his doubters wrong in 2011-12 while leaving college basketball with a renewed legacy.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summit League Logo Battle: IPFW

When it comes to The Summit League, we have some of the best nicknames in all of college sports. And what better way to embrace our team monikers than to take a look at their visual equivalences: the team logo. For all of our analyses, we used the primary logos for each team listed on the venerable website (Please note that any digs thrown at the schools are just for fun and do not necessarily represent our true feelings about them!)

The following entry in our Summit League Logo series is a guest post by Danny M. Danny was featured previously in our Student Section Chronicles for Oakland U as a Grizz Gang leader, and previously covered Southern Utah in a logo piece here. He is a loyal Grizzly and, as we find out below, full of clever thoughts when it comes to logos in this conference!

Program: IPFW

Nickname: Mastodons

Origin of Nickname: Perhaps only in The Summit League could there be a team whose nickname story contains an animal which hasn’t existed for 10,000 years, a farmer named Orcie, Angola (the city, not the country), and number 69 (the highway, not the, well you know) In all honesty, it is a pretty cool story: basically a farmer found some mastodon bones, and IPFW was the only entity which seemed to want them. The university subsequently turned the skeleton into a science exhibit and the prehistoric creature into its mascot. (h/t: The Summit League)

Philosophical Take: When schools make the transition to DI, or even just a new conference, they often shed their old identities like an Australian Sheppard in the spring. Traditionally, the City of Fort Wayne has been known as a "City of Churches," with of course most of those churches being of the Judeo-Christian variety. Now I realize there is no company line on this whole creationism thing, but there is no doubt that a public university using a creature from prehistory as its mascot in a city with copious amounts of churches pushes some buttons among the believers. As far as we know, there are no teams called the Tyrannosaurus Rex's in the state of Alabama, or Megalodons from the state of Mississppi. For some, "Go Mastodons" is the equivalent of saying "Go Unicorns," forgetting the fact that there is a 13.53% chance that at some point there actually may eventually be a team called the Unicorns in The Summit League, considering the conference has every other ridiculous mascot covered (we're looking at you, UMKC). This is an obvious push back against the status quo of the city. With a vivacious young coach at the helm, this program is beating back against the paradigms of old.

Final Judgment: We love all of this "fight the man" and "moving forward stuff," but in the words of YouTube Rainbow Guy: what does it mean? The school with the oldest mascot and youngest coach has been surprising people with its competitiveness since the program entered The Summit League, and we can say from experience that their fan attendance and involvement has progressed in the three years that pilgrimages have been made from Rochester to Fort Wayne for the OU-IPFW game. They have donned a new colloquial name for the team: The Dons (see what we...ok, never mind). This new, unique direction thing seems to working for them, proving that maybe sometimes you have to look to 10,000 years ago to be progressive.

How We'd Fix It: All this positivity is getting a little noxious, and with all the good things being said about this mascot and team, there are still some areas which could be improved. They seem to be stuck in the old school of thought that mascots must be cartoony. The "mastodon" looks more like an elephant from the zoo than a monster out of pre-history. In fact, the ele-don (we can't keep a clean conscious and still call this thing a mastodon) looks like it just got out of bed, looking sleepy and still having a bit of bed-head in the back. Completely un-terrifying, which is completely un-mastodon like. These things were 14 foot long-10 foot high, tusk-bearing mounds of terror. Okay, so they were herbivores, but they were still giant! We need a real mastodon, not Babar's cousin. Thinking a bit outside the box on this one, we decided to go with a triumvirate of Mastodons, opposed to one, mainly because if there is one thing more terrifying than one mastodon, it is three of them. We also chose to go with the sleek, slanted IPFW text to juxtapose the bruiting slowness of the mascot. Finally, we partied like it is 2002, bringing back the black outline to the text, simply because black outlines make everything look good.

Rough Sketch-Up:

See our other Summit League Logo posts thus far: Centenary College, IUPUI, Southern Utah,UMKC, North Dakota State, Western Illinois, Oral Roberts, and Oakland.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

OU's Backcourt As Example Of Positional Flexibility

One of the major questions going into the 2010-11 season for the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies centers on how Coach Greg Kampe will handle the point guard position after losing four-year starter Johnathon Jones to graduation. In a recent video interview with The Oakland Press, Coach Kampe noted that he would be using a point guard by commission approach early on, primarily putting the ball in the hands of Larry Wright and Ledrick Eackles in an effort to run sets for scoring guard Reggie Hamilton. The arrival of 2010 recruit Ryan Bass may also have an impact on the point guard position, but given the talent in front of him, it is more than likely we'll see Wright, Eackles, and Hamilton acting as the primary ball-handlers and creators this season.

What is interesting about this trio is that none of them are true point guards, in the historical understanding of the position. While Johnathon Jones could score, often at will (and boy do we have fond memories of those moments!), there is no doubting his primarily role was as a creator and ball-handler on the offensive end. To go along with other intangibles, Jones had that certain "it" quality that goes along with being a pure point guard. For the triumvirate taking over Jones' reins this season, it is more difficult to put a pure point guard label on them. In fact, these players are combo guards in the sense that they are scorers first and foremost, but their lack of height makes it difficult to pigeonhole them as shooting guards only. Needless to say, there could be some uncertainty on the part of OU fans when it comes to point guard duties heading into the 2010-11 season.

Given how solid Johnathon Jones was for four years, Oakland fans' apprehension is not unwarranted; however, it may also be unnecessary. There is excitement in many basketball circles around the idea of positional flexibility, or a concept where teams do not fill out their rosters in the conventional sense. As Drew Cannon of Basketball Prospectus points out, mid-major programs like Oakland can use positional flexibility to their advantage:
Take a player like Drake’s recently-graduated Josh Young. He's lightning-quick and a big-time scorer, but Young was slotted as a tweener. Too small to defend the 2, but also didn’t handle the point on offense. What I’m saying is that we should start understanding that all of the above is OK. Josh Young was a high-major scoring talent who played defense well enough to guard a high-major 1, but he fell through the cracks, so to speak, to the Missouri Valley because those characteristics didn’t slot into a traditional "position." High-major schools didn’t like him at the 1, and they didn’t like him at the 2. So they didn’t like him.
Essentially, Cannon is showing that mid-majors can recruit really great players who may not fit in a traditional role and thus fall off the radar for big-time programs. At the mid-major level, these players simply use what skills they have to play at the function of need (as in scorer, creator/handler, rebounder and not point guard, forward, center), where said function can flex pending the player's offensive and defensive skill set. This idea is something that the Oakland men's team can take advantage of next season with Wright, Eackles, and Hamilton.

Using Drew Cannon's scheme for a backcourt, there exists a "point guard" person who serves as a creator and handler on offense and guards small and quick players on the defensive end. For Oakland, this was always Johnathon Jones. But next season, the job of creator and handler will fall on all three players. Truly, creating and handling will be done by commission. However, on the defensive end, look for Ledrick Eackles to serve as a chief defender of the opposing team's point guard. When Eackles is on the bench, Hamilton will likely fill this role due to his smaller stature and quickness. This leaves Wright, then, as the primary defender of opposing shooting guards as he is the tallest of the three and sizes up the best against the position.

Where things would get really interesting for Oakland is at the "shooting guard" function. Here, we have someone who serves as a so-called "scorer-creator/handler." If there was never a word to describe combo guards like Wright, Eackles, and Hamilton, then Cannon just invented it with this description. Unlike the point guard function, all three of these guards can fulfill this hybrid position extremely well. While it's debatable whether or not having all three on the court at the same time is appropriate (see how this worked for the Detroit Pistons last season), even just two of them can cause fits for opposing guards. With Kampe running plays designed for all three, and especially Hamilton, the OU guards have the potential to prove that positional flexibility can work, even with the lack of a true point guard.

We'll wait to make any predictions until we actually see this in a game, but there exists a great opportunity for Wright, Eackles, and Hamilton to do something unseen when it comes to three different guards all filling a similar, though unique, role on offense. If for nothing else, it will be an interesting case study for proponents of positional flexibility to use when discussing the handling of guards.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summit League Logo Battle: Oakland

When it comes to The Summit League, we have some of the best nicknames in all of college sports. And what better way to embrace our team monikers than to take a look at their visual equivalences: the team logo. For all of our analyses, we used the primary logos for each team listed on the venerable website (Please note that any digs thrown at the schools are just for fun and do not necessarily represent our true feelings about them!)

Program: Oakland University

Nickname: Golden Grizzlies

Origin of Nickname: Golden Grizzlies was chosen in 1997 as Oakland University transitioned to Division 1 athletics. The nickname replaced Pioneers because the university wanted a name that would inspire a mascot to be animal-based, tough, unique, have regional ties, be collegiate, have graphic potential and be gender- and race-neutral." The Grizzly managed to accomplish all of these guidelines. (h/t:The Summit League)

Philosophical Take: The Grizz in this image is perched atop the lettering in order to show his prominence in Summit League basketball. Attached to OU, he is the foremost mascot in the conference for a basketball program that contends at the top of the league every season.

Final Judgment: This logo is very solid on all fronts. The grizzly is fierce, strong, and tough, and it's illustrated in a way that makes the face usable for other purposes. It's interesting that the university went with simply "OU" for the primary logo because the name is perhaps not known enough nationally for people to automatically associate it with Oakland University. Additionally, I have never been a fan of the jagged lines separating the black from the gold on the inside of the letters. Perhaps the design firm could elaborate further, but to me it has always looked rather elementary as the lines are unclear and do not seem to represent anything in particular.

How We'd Fix It: As a website dedicated to Oakland University basketball, we're throwing up the white flag for the rest of this piece. We love the logo, and the only thing we'd change would be those jagged lines, but after several attempts to update that part of the logo, nothing looked better than the current version. Perhaps it's just because it's too ingrained in our memories to change.

Stay tuned as South Dakota State and IPFW will be posted soon to wrap up this series.

See our other Summit League Logo posts thus far: Centenary College, IUPUI, Southern Utah, UMKC, North Dakota State, Western Illinois, Oral Roberts, and Oakland.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Details On Johnathon Jones' New Professional Team

When beloved Oakland University point guard Johnathon Jones stepped off the court in Milwaukee after a loss in the NCAA Tournament, many would have said that simply making an apperance in the tournament was a fine way to cap off a stellar four-year career for the Golden Grizzlies. Jones was the kind of point guard every program dreams of having, a coachable player with superior skills in creating for his teammates and the intangibles that made him a leader on and off the court. Throughout his career in Rochester, Jones also put up some impressive numbers, enough that any fan knew he would find a new home after Milwaukee, it was only a matter of where. Now we know.

Oakland's winningest player in program history has signed on to play professionally in Slovakia. He'll be playing for MBK Rieker Komarno out of Komarno, Slovakia in the Extraliga. Now, if you are like me, you are not an expert on Slovakian basketball. Fortunately, Mr. Tomáš Kottra is one such expert. Kottra provides Slovakian coverage for, and he was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about Komarno, Slovakia, and Jones' role on the team.

How competitive is the league that Komarno plays in? Are there any unique facts about the league that we should know?

In past, there were one-two top teams and then the rest, but lately the league became more evened. The season starts on September 25th and for now it looks like more than half of teams have ambitions to reach medals. The league is played two times per week (on Wednesday and Saturday). There are allowed only 3 non-EU players on roster. Just before some time FIBA accepted new rules for European competitions, effective on October 2012, but Slovak Basketball Association is already using them. Now the rules are more similar to NBA ones. The three-point line was moved to 22 feet, [and] they also adopted "Restricted Area" for no charging foul calls. And some other little ones with lines and timing.
How did Komarno do during last season? And is it a team that often signs American players?

Komarno started last season very badly. Roster was not completely filled up, the team was lacking a good point guard. Then, after Christmas break, three new players came to club - TJ Bannister (PG, USA), Jaraun Burrows (PF, BAH) and V. Klar (SG/SF, SVK). The team went up with their performance, made it to playoffs and wanted to go higher, but lost [to] MBK Handlova. Their play was always attractive to watch.

This will be third season with American player on this position for Komarno. The team also signed CJ Jackson this year. He is fourth American in history who signed his contract in Komarno. In general, signing Americans in Slovak league is new trend. In past, foreign players [who] signed here were mostly from former Yugoslavia or neighboring countries. But now, every team tries to sign at least one American. Their performance is almost always above team's average.

What can a point guard like Jones who is a great create/distributor and ball-handler add to Komarno next season?

A quality PG is very important everywhere. We saw it last year. The team was really under average before TJ Bannister came to play here. He made everybody a better player and we expect the same this year and maybe a bit more. After seeing Johnathon's outstanding statistics, everybody is looking forward to first home matches. Fans here love dunking and alley-oops, which are not very common, so we hope to see some of these again. Johnathon will surely have great partners for this in J. 'Kino' Burrows and CJ. I think he will be great in avoiding turnovers, being dangerous inside scorer, and his passes are gonna be deadly.
Clearly, there seems to be a lot of excitement on the part of the Slovakian writers for the league and Komarno this season. I also reached out to Sham of to see where Slovakian basketball fits in the bigger picture of European leagues, since I found there was not much coverage of the leagues on his website which otherwise never lacks depth. Sham reported that the Slovakian leagues are "basically irrelevant" in Europe. Despite this not so stellar news, it appears that the owners in this country are attempting to bring in better talent to field more competitive teams.

No matter the league, Johnathon Jones is still getting a paycheck to do what he presumably loves doing. He'll likely be playing in front of many eager fans looking for a mixture of great entertainment and competitive basketball. Perhaps most importantly, he'll be spending time in a new country that is bound to provide the 22-year-old with some neat life experiences. Also, there is always the chance he shines in the league and earns a spot in a higher league next year. As an Oakland fan, I'm just happy to see he is getting a shot to play basketball again. The Grizzlies Gameplan will be keeping in touch with Mr. Kottra throughout the season for updates on Jones play in Slovakia.

- Special thanks to Germane who broke the news of Jones' signing on the Golden Grizzlies hoops forum.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Summit League Logo Battle: Oral Roberts

When it comes to The Summit League, we have some of the best nicknames in all of college sports. And what better way to embrace our team monikers than to take a look at their visual equivalences: the team logo. For all of our analyses, we used the primary logos for each team listed on the venerable website (Please note that any digs thrown at the schools are just for fun and do not necessarily represent our true feelings about them!)

Program: Oral Roberts

Nickname: Golden Eagles

Origin of Nickname: The Golden Eagle was first introduced in 1993, presumably the result of an identity-changing phase. The name of the university's mascot, ELI, is an acronym standing for education, lifeskills, and integrity, or the three traits that an ORU student represents. (h/t: The Summit League)

Philosophical Take: According to the ORU mission statement, it is a "charismatic university, founded in the fires of evangelism and upon the unchanging precepts of the Bible." With that said and considering ORU was founded by one of the world's foremost evangelists, there is no doubt that spreading the Gospel is one of the tenets of the Tulsa-based university. For this reason, we believe the animated Golden Eagle is a cover-up for a much larger mission. In fact, this eagle was chosen in an effort to align itself with the bald eagle, the national emblem of the United States. By doing this, the university is sending a symbolic message about its desire to see the US adopt Christianity as its official religion, outlawing the free practice of other religions and those who are non-believers. This would go down as one of the largest forced evangelistic missions ever in this country, and it would all be done under the guise of a pretty little cartoon character. These ulterior motives are what describe the golden eagle's crooked grin.

Final Judgment: Aside from the colors, this logo leaves much to be desired. Basically, it's a cartoon character with a questioning facial expression. Also, who wears vests? I seriously think the idea outlined in the philosophical take is more fitting for this logo than anything remotely connected to sports.

How We'd Fix It: The best thing Oral Roberts has going for itself is that many in the general public know what "ORU" means (unlike, say, the wildly popular "OU"). Because it is relatively well-known in the country as a university and from several appearances by its basketball team in the NCAA Tournament, people generally won't confuse these three letters with another school. It is for this reason that simply ORU will do on any logo version, though it should be the main feature and not relegated to "placement on an out-dated vest" status. After this, all one needs to do is update the feathery creature. I borrowed the bird from Morehead State for the following rendition, if not only to show that a golden eagle can look a lot more intimidating than one might imagine.

On Feathers and Fonts:
See our other Summit League Logo posts thus far: Centenary College, IUPUI, Southern Utah, UMKC, North Dakota State, and Western Illinois.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summit League Logo Battle: Western Illinois

When it comes to The Summit League, we have some of the best nicknames in all of college sports. And what better way to embrace our team monikers than to take a look at their visual equivalences: the team logo. For all of our analyses, we used the primary logos for each team listed on the venerable website (Please note that any digs thrown at the schools are just for fun and do not necessarily represent our true feelings about them!)

Program: Western Illinois

Nickname: Leathernecks

Origin of Nickname: Derived from the U.S. Marine Corps, where legendary WIU football coach Ray "Rock" Hanson obtained hero status as well as the Marine ethic used to build the football program. The bulldog is also a nod to the Marine Corps, which features an English bulldog as its mascot. (h/t: The Summit League)

Philosophical Take: While the football tradition at Western Illinois may suggest something else, this is a basketball website. Therefore, it's only fitting that this logo prominently features purple and yellow in honor of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers. For this basketball program, these colors symbolize the hues of one of the most storied franchises in the sport in an effort to give the players the feeling of legitimacy. After all, when the ballers are so accustomed to losing and losing and losing, the fact they get to wear purple and yellow makes their four-years in Macomb, Illinois a bit more bearable. The bulldog here is visibly angry, most likely due to having to be associated with Western Illinois.

Final Judgment: There are better-looking bulldogs out there, though this one does a decent job of telling the onlooker, "Our mascot is a bulldog, and he's angry." Similarly, the lettering is fine, and I do like how "Western" pops out more than "Illinois." Too often directional schools weaken their cardinal indicators, despite the fact there should be a certain amount of pride in representing that particular area of their state. Overall, this logo is passable, suffering mostly from a lack of anything that gives Western Illinois a true identity of its own.

How We'd Fix It: This logo calls for a total redesign. Because Western Illinois has been in Division I for a very long time, the university couldn't really use reclassification as an excuse to revamp its identity. Instead, they'll just have to use decades worth of basketball futility as the primary driver of change. In order to somewhat please proud alumni, they'll use a variation on the current nickname, changing "necks" to "men" to form Leathermen. This has been done in order to align the program with bikers. Guys who ride motorcycles often ride in groups, or gangs, and most often represent togetherness, toughness, and speed. All of these components also fit well with a basketball program, especially one competing in The Summit League. Additionally, the new nickname could help bring more people to Western Hall for games during biker-theme nights. Anyone who has driven extensively knows that bikers will hit the road to collectively support a cause as much as any other group of people; therefore, biker nights at WIU would surely pack seats, something the program desperately needs to do in order to give the team a cheerful audience to play for.

A Rough Sketch-Up:
See our other Summit League Logo posts thus far: Centenary College, IUPUI, Southern Utah, UMKC, and North Dakota State.