by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, March 7, 2014
I’m using my ratings and Bill James’ log5 formula to estimate the chances of each participating team advancing to a particular round of its conference tournament.
Location: Sioux Falls, S.D. (Sioux Falls Arena)
Dates: March 8-11
Chance of bid thief: zero
Current kPOY: Taylor Braun, North Dakota State
Semis Final Champ 1 North Dakota St. 100 71.2 46.9 3 South Dakota St. 83.7 58.1 27.3 2 IPFW 86.0 34.9 11.4 4 Denver 65.6 21.7 10.8 5 South Dakota 34.4 7.1 2.8 6 W. Illinois 16.3 5.4 0.9 7 IUPUI 14.0 1.6 0.1
The Summit League tourney is a tidy seven teams since they exclude Nebraska-Omaha who is not yet eligible for the NCAA tournament as they make the transition to Division I. I kind of prefer the SWAC’s innovative approach of letting all of its conference teams participate and sorting out the automatic bid later. More fun for everyone.
The result is that North Dakota State gets a first-round bye, giving them a slightly better chance of winning this event. This is the swan song for the senior trio of Taylor Braun, Marshall Bjorklund (the Norse god of shooting percentage), and TrayVonn Wright, who have combined for just shy of 4000 points during their time in Fargo. Maybe they would have preferred an extra game. Especially if it came against lowly IUPUI.
You know what the Summit teams are pretty good at? Making free throws. Five of the top 37 free throw shooting teams are Summit teams. (Unfortunately, one of them is uninvited Nebraska-Omaha.) So if you think you have to make your free throws to win big games, well, maybe you’ll like the Summit League champ to win a few NCAA tournament games. That is not exactly a smart thing to think, though.
The South Dakota schools get semi-home status due to their proximity to the tournament site.