BANKER (South Dakota St. vs. North Dakota St.)
South Dakota state is always a very solid mid major program out of the Summit conference out west and this year is no different as they are off to an 11-4 start. South Dakota state is an offensive minded team who has played a very tough schedule to this point as has fared well. They have impressive wins over Washington State, SF Austin, Nevada, and George Mason. Their losses this season have come against Alabama, Missouri state, and 2 puzzling losses to Washington and Idaho. South Dakota state is team who is going to beat you with their offense.
They play at a fast paced and always have a very solid high-powered offense. This season the jackrabbits are 18th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency, 9th in effective field goal percentage, and 3rd in 3-point percentage so they can really light it up from the outside and take over games in a hurry. They are also very balanced on offense as well and do not require one player to do too much. They have 3 players who average double figures in scoring with Freidel (18/3/2), Wilson (15/5/2), and Scheierman (14/9/4).
These three are their 3 headed monster per day but they also get solid contributions from the rest of their team as well as they have 5 other players that average between 6 and 9 points per game. They face a solid North Dakota state team in a rivalry game, but NDSU hasn’t played a very tough schedule at all. North Dakota states most impressive win to this point is probably either Tarleton state or Indiana state which isn’t saying much. They got blown out by Arizona, Creighton, and Montana state who all have explosive offenses similar to South Dakota state. Bottom line for me is that I don’t believe North Dakota state has the firepower or overall talent to keep this game close. Score Prediction: 82-74 South Dakota State.
Michigan is a team who came into this season with a ton of expectations and hasn’t really lived up to the hype so far. They come into this game with a 7-4 record with losses to Arizona, seton hall, Minnesota, and North Carolina. They face a UCF team who has exceeded expectations to this point with an 8-2 record including an impressive road win over Miami but other than that, UCF has played a very weak schedule.
They’ve only played 2 other power 5 teams other than Miami and lost both of their contests against Oklahoma (by 3) and Auburn (by 17). Overall, I think Michigan has more talent and has played the harder schedule, so I believe they are more prepared for this game. I think we’re getting a discount on Michigan here because of their struggles against some top teams. Score Prediction: 74-65 Michigan.
Utah Valley is a solid mid major program who has emerged over the last few seasons as being a very good team. This year is no different as well as they are off to a 9-3 start with no bad losses. They’ve fallen to Boise state, Southern Utah, and Wyoming and were underdogs in each of those games as well. They have also notched impressive wins against BYU, Washington, Nicholls’s state, and Pepperdine. They face an Abilene Christian squad who is another solid mid major but similar to UCF mentioned above, they have played a very weak schedule.
They lost to Texas am in an OT game and Utah by double digits and have since reeled off 9 wins in a row but who have they played? They faced 4 non division 1 opponents, and only faced 2 division 1 opponents with a winning record. The combined record of the division 1 teams they’ve won against is 14-32 (excluding non-D1 teams) so they’ve faced a weak schedule. Utah valley has played well at home and think they’ll defend home court again here as well. Score Prediction: 68-64 Utah Valley.