WEEKLY NOTEBOOK: No. 1
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Eight of the nine Summit League teams will tip-off their respective seasons on the opening night of the college basketball season. Two of those contests are part of the newly-formed Summit-WAC Challenge that gets underway this season. Summit League preseason favorite South Dakota State plays host to Grand Canyon, a team picked to finish second in the WAC, while North Dakota State travels to WAC preseason favorite New Mexico State to open its season.
John Konchar and his Purdue Fort Wayne teammates open the campaign at one of college basketball's most-storied venues as the Mastodons play UCLA inside Pauley Pavilion. Omaha also has a matchup against Power 5 foe as the Mavericks travel to Minneapolis to take on the Golden Gophers.
Western Illinois and seven-footer Brandon Gilbeck venture to Omaha to take on Creighton in a game to be televised nationally on Fox Sports North. Oral Roberts also opens up on the road with a clash against Missouri Valley Conference foe Missouri State.
Denver and league newcomer North Dakota both get to open the season with home tilts. The Pioneers take on Maine, while the Fighting Hawks being their Summit League era against Northland College.
UPCOMING SCHEDULE (TV/Streaming) | game times local to site
Tuesday, November 6
Purdue Fort Wayne at UCLA (Pac-12) | 6 p.m. PT
Grand Canyon at South Dakota State (MSN/E3) | 7 p.m. CT
Oral Roberts at Missouri State (E3) | 7 p.m. CT
Omaha at Minnesota (BTN+) | 7 p.m. CT
Maine at Denver (Altitude) | 7 p.m. MT
Northland College at North Dakota (FCS/E3) | 7 p.m. CT
Western Illinois at Creighton (FSN) | 7 p.m. CT
North Dakota State at New Mexico State (FSA+) | 7:30 p.m. MT
Wednesday, November 7
York College at South Dakota | 7 p.m. CT
Thursday, November 8
Earlham at Purdue Fort Wayne | 7 p.m. ET
Alabama State at South Dakota State (MSN/E+) | 7 p.m. CT
Friday, November 9
Buena Vista at Omaha | 12:30 p.m. CT
Southwestern (Kan.) at Oral Roberts | 7 p.m. CT
Saturday, November 10
North Park at Western Illinois | 2 p.m. CT
Bemidji State at South Dakota State | 4 p.m. CT
North Dakota at Milwaukee | 6 p.m. CT
Sunday, November 11
UC Santa Barbara at North Dakota State (MSN/E+) | 1 p.m. CT
Oral Roberts at TCU | 4 p.m. CT
Purdue Fort Wayne at Ohio State# (BTN) | 4 p.m. ET
Monday, November 12
Northern Arizona at South Dakota (MSN/E+) | 7 p.m. CT
Denver at Kansas State (E3) | 8 p.m. CT
Noting The Pioneers
• Third-year head coach Rodney Billups has collected 31 wins so far in his DU tenure. Those are the most by any Pioneer coach through two seasons in the program's Division I era (since '98).
• Senior Joe Rosga is the team's top returning scorer after averaging 16.1 ppg en route to earning All-Summit League First Team honors a season ago -- his 90.1 percent clip from the foul stripe led the Summit and was 13th nationally.
• Billups added grad transfers Ronnie Harrell, Jr. (Creighton) and Tory Miller-Stewart (Colorado) to help bolster his team's depth and replace a pair of double-digit scorers that graduated (Daniel Amigo; 15.3 ppg, and Jake Pemberton, 11.1 ppg).
• The big bodies of Harrell (6-foot-7) and Miller-Stewart (6-foot-9) should help on the glass.
• Twelve DU games will be televised on Altitude Sports & Entertainment with five on Altitude and seven more on Altitude 2.
Noting The Fighting Hawks
• Head coach Brian Jones has been transitioning nearly his entire tenure at UND and this year will be no different. The Summit League will be the fourth conference for Jones since he took over the program prior to the 2006-07 season (North Central Conference (DII); 2006-08, Great West; 2009-12, Big Sky 2012-2018).
• The Fighting Hawks made the move to the DI level prior to the 2008-09 season and were an Independent for that first season.
• UND is no stranger to the teams on the I-29 corridor - having spent time in the NCC with Omaha, South Dakota, South Dakota State and North Dakota State.
• The Hawks return three of their double-figure scorers (Marlon Stewart; 11.7, Conner Avants; 11.6, and Cortez Seales; 10.7) from last season's 12-20 squad, who was just a year removed from 2017 Big Sky regular season and tournament titles.
Noting The Bison
• Head coach Dave Richman has a lot of fire power to replace in terms of offensive production following the graduation of Paul Miller (First Team All-Summit; 19.5 ppg) and A.J. Jacobson (9.5 ppg).
• Richman does return Tyson Ward, who was second on the team in scoring (11.8 ppg) and named to the Preseason All-Summit League Second Team. The 6-foot-6 guard also led the team in rebounding (5.9/g) and was second in assists (2.6/g).
• Cameron Hunter put together a solid freshman campaign for the Bison, averaging 9.2 ppg en route to earning All-Summit League Newcomer Team accolades.
Noting The Mavericks
• Derrin Hansen is the longest-tenured among The Summit League coaches, entering his 14th season at Omaha.
• Hansen's 2018-19 version will be spearheaded by senior guard Zach Jackson, who averaged 17.6 ppg and 6.4 rpg a season ago. Those efforts helped him earned All-Summit League Second Team recognition and a spot on the Preseason All-Leage Team.
• Jackson is one of three double-figure scoring returners for Hansen to utilize. Flanking Jackson in the backcourt will be junior J.T. Gibson, who played in all 31 games, starting 12, and finished with a 10.2 ppg clip.
• The Mavs also expect to receive a boost from a healthier version of Mitch Hahn, who was slowed by a mid-season injury. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 11.7 ppg and 7.1 rpg in 15 games (all starts) a season ago.
Noting The Golden Eagles
• Second-year coach Paul Mills will have to replace a trio of double-figure scorers from a squad that went 11-21 a season ago. That trio includes Summit League Sixth Man of the Year Alberts Owens (11.5 ppg) and Transfer of the Year Austin Ruder (10.9 ppg).
• What Mills does have back is the powerful inside force of Emmanuel Nzekwesi. The 6-foot-8 forward was ORU's top scorer (12.7 ppg) and rebounder (7.2 rpg) as a sophomore.
• Junior Sam Kearns is another key piece that returns for Mills after a successful first season in Tulsa. He averaged 10.4 ppg and 4.1 apg (second in the Summit), while also knocking down at least one 3-pointer in ORU's final 30 contests.
Noting The Mastodons
• Do-it-all guard John Konchar is the rock of the Mastodons' roster.
• Konchar has started 109 of 110 games in his career and has been a three-time All-Summit League First Team performer as a freshman, sophomore and junior.
• A year ago, Konchar averaged 14.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg and a league-high 4.8 apg. He was named a Lou Henson Mid-Major All-American as a junior.
• What the Mastodons will have to a find a way to do is replace the 22.6 ppg that Bryson Scott poured in as a senior. That was the second-best average in the league.
• Expected to provide some of that production is transfer Marcus DeBerry, who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 10.3 ppg as a sophomore at Northern Arizona.
Noting The Coyotes
• The Coyotes will be under the direction of the only first-year head coach in The Summit League. Alum Todd Lee takes over after five years as the associate head coach at Grand Canyon and inherits a program that went 26-9 a season ago.
• One part from that team that will be missing is First Team All-Summit League perfomer Matt Mooney, who grad transferred to Texas Tech after averaging a team-best 18.7 ppg a year ago.
• What Lee does have back is a veteran duo at forward in Trey Burch-Manning and Tyler Hagedorn that were both recognized on the All-Summit League Preseason Team. Burch-Manning averaged 8.7 ppg and a team-best 6.7 rpg in 2017-18, while Hagedorn is the team's top returning scorer (13.0 ppg) and also pulled down 5.9 rpg, while blocking 28 shots.
Noting The Jackrabbits
• The Jacks have won three straight Summit League tourney titles all from a different seed.
• A year ago, SDSU was the No. 1 seed after finishing 13-1 in league play and setting the program's single-season record for total wins with 28. The Jacks earned the No. 12 seed in the West Region.
• Senior Mike Daum has a chance to become the first player in Summit League history to capture four Tournament MVP honors after securing his third in last season's event.
• Daum was named to the Karl Malone Preseason Watch List, which is an award given annually to college basketball's premier power forward, and the NABC National Player of the Year Watch List during the preseason.
Noting The Leathernecks
• Sophomore Kobe Webster was second among Summit League rookies in scoring last season (15.9 ppg) and that earned him a spot on the All-Newcomer Team. He also led WIU in assists (3.5/g) and was part of a quartet that started all 28 games.
• Head coach Billy Wright has three members of that foursome back to help anchor his 2018-19 squad, including 7-footer Brandon Gilbeck.
• Gilbeck landed on the All-Summit League Preseason Second Team along with Webster after leading the league in blocks (72) last year. He also added 10.8 ppg and a team-best 7.1 rpg.
• The third returning starter is C.J. Duff, who chipped in with 8.1 ppg and connected on 35 3-pointers as a sophomore.
DID YOU KNOW
• A record three Summit League players (SDSU's Mike Daum, Purdue Fort Wayne's John Konchar, and South Dakota's Matt Mooney) were named to the Lou Henson Award All-America team by CollegeInsider.com in 2017-18.
• For the third consecutive season, The Summit League equaled its all-time high with five National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) all-district selections (Daum and Mooney were first teamers, Konchar, his Mastodon teammate, Bryson Scott, and NDSU's Paul Miller were on the second team).
• The Summit was represented across three different postseason tournaments for the fourth straight season. SDSU reached the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year, the longest streak since 2008, while a pair of league squads (Purdue Fort Wayne in the CIT and South Dakota in the CBI) hosted postseason first-round games, the highest total since 2014.
• Daum, Konchar and Denver's Joe Rosga were all First Team All-Summit League performers in 2017-18 and the duo of Daum and Konchar are looking to be named to the first team for the fourth consecutive season.
• Daum could become just the second player in Summit League history to earn three consecutive Player of the Year honors (Caleb Green, Oral Roberts; 2004-07). He averaged 26.0 ppg and 12.5 rpg in league play a year ago and equaled the league record with seven Player of the Week accolades.
• SDSU's 20-game home winning streak was the longest in the nation at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season.
• The Summit League announced during late October that its television partner, Midco Sports Network, will televise a record 105 men's and women's basketball games during the 2018-19 season. The regional network will carry 45 men's regular-season games and all four quarterfinals and both semifinals at The Summit League Championship in Sioux Falls (March 9-12).
• MidMajorMadness.com selected Mike Daum as its Mid-Major Preseason Player of the Year and Summit League Preseason Player of the Year
• MidMajorMadness.com selected Ronnie Harrell, Jr., as its Summit League Newcomer of the Year
• MidMajorMadness.com selected Denver as its "Dark Horse Team" in the Summit League. The Pioneers were picked to finish third by the league's head coaches, but grad transfers Harrell, Jr., and Tory Stewart-Miller (Colorado) expect to provide an added punch to a roster that includes All-Summit League first-teamer Joe Rosga
• South Dakota State finished fourth in the final CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll from 2017-18 and the Jackrabbits open the 2018-19 season in the No. 5 slot
DAUM LANDS ON PAIR OF NATIONAL PRESEASON WATCH LISTS
South Dakota State senior Mike Daum found his name on a pair of illustrious preseason watch lists in late October and early November. He was one of 20 players named to the NABC Division I Player of the Year Watch List and one of 20 power forwards named to the Karl Malone Watch List, which recognizes the nation's top players at that position. Daum was one of five finalists for the Malone Award in 2017-18.