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NCAA Tournament Bracket Research: Looking at the Summit League

South Dakota State Jackrabbits Clinched Summit bid

NCAA Basketball: South Dakota State at Kansas Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is the best weekend of the calendar year (this is fact, not an opinion). Dozens of college basketball games with teams and players trying to make themselves a household name, even if for just the weekend. Small schools from smaller conferences get their shot at knocking off schools with more established basketball pedigrees. This is going to be a series where we take a look at 22 conferences and the schools most likely to represent them in the NCAA Tournament. Consider this early bracket research to find that Cinderella team that busts everyone’s bracket...except yours.

Summit League

Last Year’s NCAA Participant: South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Prior Years Upset Team: One of the most famous NCAA Tournament game-winning shots comes to you courtesy of the Summit League, via Bryce Drew and the Valporasio Crusaders (now in the Missouri Valley) as a 13-seed over Mississippi. Prior to that 1998 win, there were a handful of 14 and 13-seed wins. But since that dramatic shot, the only Summit League win was 12-North Dakota State over 5-Oklahoma in 2014.

South Dakota State

KenPom Rank: 75
Off Efficiency: 114.7 (44)
Def Efficiency: 104.2 (145)
eFG%: 54.5% (41)

Why are the dangerous: The Jackrabbits are making their third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 5th of the last 7 seasons. Likely looking at a 12-seed in this year’s tourney and certainly capable of getting a win.

It all starts with their junior forward, Mike Daum. The kid averages almost 24 points and just over 10 rebounds per game while hitting 42% of his threes. Put a couple of other double-digit scorers who can hit from three and you have a potent offensive team.

And as a team, they don’t beat themselves by not turning the ball over and getting rebounds. You’ll have to earn it on every possession with this team and with the right matchup you may see a Summit upset by the Jackrabbits.