Thursday, January 13, 2011

Week 3 In The Summit League: Crazy Stats (And More!)

Back in non-conference play, we found out that there were going to be a lot of teams contending for the top few spots in The Summit League this season behind Oakland. Through three weeks of league games, the race to the middle in The Summit League is as hazy as expected, with Oakland winning and Centenary losing seemingly the only absolutes. Week three further clouded the 2 through 7 race thanks to some unexpected heroics, dizzying three-point shooting, and plenty of interesting storylines.

Introducing ... Mike Felt
In North Dakota State's first ten games, freshman Mike Felt scored 30 points total. In the eleventh game, against UMKC, the 6-foot-3 guard went 3 of 4 from deep in just 17 minutes. With seemingly a new level of confidence in Felt's ability, NDSU coach Saul Phillips let the sharp-shooter loose on Oral Roberts and Centenary. He responded by going for 43 total points on 11 of 17 three-point shooting! It was enough to earn him Player of the Week in The Summit League, a rather telling distinction for a young man who could barely find playing time in earlier contests. Felt is actually in his second-year with the NDSU program, but his first season was cut short due to injury which resulted in a medical hardship waiver. As a result, Summit League teams will have to deal with this dude's wet jumper for the rest of this season and the three following it. But Felt isn't the only second-year freshman turning heads with his triples...

Travis Bader Has Something To Say About That
Bader, as Oakland fans know well, has been a monster from beyond the arc this season, dating back to his confidence-oozing performance under the big lights at West Virginia. This past weekend the redshirt freshman went 10 of 18 from deep on his home court, a line which is at least comparable to Felt's insane coming out party. Both of these cats are shooting at a rather impressive rate for first-timers, and they are doing it all in a fairly unassuming fashion. Just take a look at these guys; they look more like your friendly neighbor kid than deadly basketball assassins:

For what it's worth, I can't wait to see these guys play opposite one another. Bader is a regular rotation player with Oakland, and Felt is proving to his coach that he has a skillset that demands he be on the court. Superhoop showdown!

Oral Roberts Decimates The Three-Point Line
If you perused the box score of the Oral Roberts/South Dakota State game from Saturday night, hopefully you didn't glaze over the three-point statistics. A depleted Oral Roberts squad, which on its best night probably shouldn't be able to take down the Jackrabbits IN BROOKINGS, had its best night. As a team, the Golden Eagles went 14-17 from downtown for an 82% total on the night. Three players were perfect, and Ken Holdman, the same guy who had connected on only one of six attempts all season, went 4 of 7. It was a bizarro statistic that may never happen again, but the bottom line is that it gave the Golden Eagles a much-needed victory over a solid SDSU team that figures to be in the mix in The Summit League all season. That's a positive for ORU, especially considering how the game against NDSU on Thursday got out of hand after Coach Scott Sutton was ejected in the last minute. As you can see, he wasn't exactly a happy camper.
You can read more about Sutton's ejection here. And for his team's sake, we hope the referee in question doesn't find himself calling many ORU games in the future.

Nate Wolters Kills It, Even When His Team Loses
Against Oral Roberts, Nate Wolters had 32 points, 5 assists to 2 turnovers, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals in a losing effort. The sophomore point guard did such damage on 12 of 16 shooting, a tally that included 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. On the season, Wolters is connecting on 44.5% of his twos and 53.2% of his threes, the latter of which is not some astronomical figure based on a small sample size; the dude will take a three when it's there. At his current pace, Wolters will end the season as the league's leader in scoring and assists, impressive marks that should make Player of the Year voting interesting come March.

IPFW Downed Despite Trey McCorkle's Best Efforts
IPFW has managed to win a lot of games this season through its solid team defense and the offensive prowess of its senior leaders, Ben Botts and Zach Plackemeier. I've always felt, though, that the missing piece to longer-lasting success was a dominant Trey McCorkle. At 6-foot-10, he's one of the biggest fellas in the conference, yet he has, at times, failed to stay out of foul trouble and has struggled to become a force on the glass. Partly as a result, the Mastodons have a 50.4% rebounding rate, good for second-to-last in the league. Well against IUPUI on Saturday, McCorkle went hard in the paint, grabbing four offensive rebounds on his way to nine combined on both ends of the floor. Yet despite his best efforts, the Jaguars still came away with a win. What do I know? Well, I know that even though Trey's team lost, he still wins in my heart for rocking the neckbeard.

Speaking Of IUPUI...
The Jaguars had just 14 turnovers in their two games this past week. Their 13.7% turnover rate in conference games is first in the league. While they may be undersized in the post, the Jaguars have a group of ball-handlers who are smart with the ball. That's a trait that will keep the team in the mix.

Withholding Judgment, For Now
UMKC played just one game this week, a home battle with travel-partner Southern Utah. There wasn't much defense played in the game (1.31 points per possession for UMKC and 1.20 for Southern Utah), but the Kangaroos came out on top in a match they had to win to prove they're not on the conference tournament bubble. UMKC got it done behind monster efforts from seniors Jay Cousinard and Spencer Johnson, as one might have expected. Cousinard scored 32 points on 11 of 16 shooting while Johnson chipped in with 21 points and six rebounds. Still no sign of fan favorite Kirk Korver.
Massive Massey
Matt Massey, the enigmatic Southern Utah forward, has put together a string of impressive scoring performances for the Thunderbirds. He notched 24 points on 10 of 13 shooting in a loss to UMKC, by far his best game all season. It would appear that he has finally found some consistency which is a trait he has lacked during his time in Cedar City.
Where Was Matt Lander Against Oakland?
Here's your interesting stat about Western Illinois: Matt Lander played just 16 minutes against Oakland on Saturday night. I was at the game and couldn't help but wonder where the WIU leading scorer was in the second half. Lander has played over 30 minutes in every game except the season opener, and he had scored in double-digits in every contest up until the Oakland game. While WIU wasn't really in the game at half-time, I'm still left wondering why Lander didn't see the court again. We can only hope that he's not injured like the rest of his teammates. Sadly, after checking WIU-area outlets The Hawkeye and the McDonough Voice, there remains no update about Lander's status. If your Summit League school has a solid beat writer, now would be the time to thank them for their work. Not all Summit League news coverage was created equal.

And Then There Were Two
As of this post, just Centenary and UNC Greensboro remain winless in the Division I college basketball ranks. Both teams will be in action on Thursday night. Let's go Gents!


  1. It's interesting to note the slight difference in which Felt's off hand is more active on the ball than Bader's is. Both though look to have A grade shooting strokes. By the book.

  2. Centenary is the only team with 0 wins, due to the fact that UNC Greensboro won last night 75-74 against Appalachian State.