2024 Summit League Tournament Preview, Picks, and Best Bets

2024 Summit League Tournament Preview, Picks, and Best Bets

Since 2012, the Summit has been dominated by three schools. The last team not named Oral Roberts, North Dakota State, or South Dakota State to win was Oakland in 2011. This year, there will be more parody as the teams in the top four all have a chance to win. Three teams have 10 or more wins, and two teams are coming in on five-plus-game winning streaks. We are in for a treat in Sioux Falls, considering how competitive this tournament will be. Here is my 2024 Summit League Tournament preview, picks, and best bets!

The only teams to have to play an extra game are the 8 and 9 seeds. This is your standard conference tournament. There is no re-seeding or playing on campus sites. All games will be held at Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. These are the best types of tournaments, where you can make a case for four, maybe five different teams.

Can South Dakota State win their second title in three years? Will North Dakota State make six straight championship appearances? Let’s discuss.

2024 Summit League Tournament Preview, Picks, and Best Bets

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2024 Summit League Tournament Preview, Picks, and Best Bets

Favorite: South Dakota St +175

The Jackrabbits clinched their sixth regular-season title in the last eight years. This year was a little more competitive than the previous, but their 7-2 finish in February helped cement their ninth regular-season title.

They enter on a five-game winning streak with an average margin of victory north of ten. Despite all of this, I think the Jackrabbits will be vulnerable in Sioux Falls.

Outside of South Dakota, the other teams in their half of the bracket have competed well against the Jackrabbits. Oral Roberts and North Dakota State each split their season series with them, while St. Thomas lost both games by a combined six points.

They are not a deep team (310th in bench minutes), and while they shoot the ball well from deep, 52% of their points are from two-point range. If Oral Roberts can get by South Dakota, I think they present issues for the Jackrabbits.

The biggest size favorite, the Jackrabbits, will be in the first round. After that, I don’t have them laying more than 4 against any of the remaining teams, barring an upset.

Their path will not be easy, and if they make it to the championship game, I think the team that gave them their last regular-season loss will be waiting and ready to win their first Summit League title.

Best Bet: St Thomas +250

St. Thomas’ unique combination of being good on the offensive end and just as good defensively sets it apart. They are first in offensive efficiency and second in defensive efficiency in the conference.

Their two-point defense needs to be better, especially when they play South Dakota State, but they do have several key advantages in their opening game versus North Dakota State. Taking care of the first game and gaining momentum for South Dakota State is the first order of business.

The biggest advantage for the Tommies is that they are elite at forcing turnovers. They forced 25 in the two meetings, which led to numerous easy baskets.

Another advantage is their ability to lock down the three-point line. They are second in the conference, allowing opponents to shoot just under 34% from deep. Bison shoot around 37% from deep, which was their average in both games versus St Thomas, but they had an outlier 50% shooting night from deep, which is unlikely to happen again.

Controlling the glass is vital for St Thomas, and the proof is in the numbers. They were -21 on the glass in their second game versus the Bison and lost by six. In the game they won, they were only -3 and won in a rout.

Protecting the paint and limiting second-chance points is critical when they play the Jackrabbits, who live in the paint.

The Tommies have won five of their last eight, and despite being swept by the Jackrabbits, they were highly competitive. I think the third time will be a charm. If they pull the small upset in round two, they are likely to be favored in the championship, which will allow us to lock in a profit on the other side.

Darkhorse: UKMC +650

No team is hotter coming into Sioux Falls than the Roos. They have won six straight (four on the road), including wins over South Dakota State, Denver, and North Dakota.

Their path is perfect as they will avoid South Dakota State until the championship and St Thomas, which swept them in the regular season.

They will likely be a short three-point favorite against Denver, but they have dominated the Pioneers this year, winning both games by an average of 14.5 points.

I don’t think they have an issue getting to the semifinals, where they have had success against either team that wins.

Their depth sets them apart in a setting like this. They rank 103rd in bench minutes, and the next closest is outside the top 200. Their offense is not pretty, but what they do best is limit the opposing team’s offensive strengths.

They are first in all key defensive metrics, including three-point defense, effective field-goal percentage, and turnover percentage. During their five-game winning streak, they have held four opponents to under 70 points.

Their defense and ability to rebound will make offense easier for them. Avoiding two teams they have not had much success against is a huge advantage for me.

You also can’t put a price on a team playing this well late in the season, and not against bottom feeders, they have beaten some of the top teams during this stretch.

I think they cruise versus Denver and will likely be a short favorite in the semifinals, regardless of the opponent. This is all you can ask for from a dark horse, but don’t be surprised if you look up and they are in the championship game rather easily.

 

Even More College Basketball Content

SGPN has you covered with all the best college basketball content. Our team of degens, experts, and handicappers have been diving deep to know all the teams in advance of March Madness.

So, who are you going to roll with as we get into the Conference and NCAA Tournaments? Some Johnny-Come-Lately Corporate Gambling Shill, or the Degens.

We are LIVE every night at midnight Eastern, breaking down EVERY SINGLE GAME. Ride with Degen Nation, and SGPN will not let you down.

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