Summit League League Championship Game: South Dakota State-Western Illinois Preview, Prediction, Point Spread, TV Info

The Summit League Championship Game tips off Tuesday night, with the host South Dakota State Jackrabbits looking to earn the automatic bid by knocking off the Western Illinois Leathernecks.

Summit League Championship Game Info

  • Location: Sioux Falls Arena in Sioux Falls, S.D.
  • Time: 9:00 ET
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Point Spread: South Dakota State -9.5
  • Over/Under: 120.5

South Dakota State-Western Illinois Preview

SDSU went 13-3 in conference play, finishing in second place behind Oral Roberts, who Western Illinois upset in Monday’s Semifinal matchup.

The Jackrabbits swept the season series against the Leathernecks, with the most recent victory coming by 17 points on the same floor where these teams will meet tonight.

When SDSU Has The Ball

If for no other reason, you should tune in to watch South Dakota State junior Nate Wolters, who averages 21.5 points, 6.1 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.7 steals.  He is one of the country’s most efficient players and is among the nation’s leaders in usage rate, assist rate, and turnover rate.


Nate Wolters hopes to lead South Dakota State into the NCAA Tournament. (Image via

Four SDSU players shoot over 40 percent from beyond the arc, which has helped propel them to the top of the Summit League in offensive efficiency.  Western Illinois ranks third in defensive efficiency, thanks in large part to a league-best turnover rate, but that will be tested against a South Dakota State squad that rarely turns the ball over.

When Western Illinois Has The Ball

Western Illinois boasts three double-digit scorers led by Ceola Clark III and Obi Emegano, and post man Terrell Parks has played well in the tournament and shoots nearly 62 percent from the field.  However, the Jackrabbits finished atop the league in defensive efficiency and should provide plenty of resistance on the defensive end.  In conference games, SDSU ranks first in defensive rebounding percentage and second in both effective field goal percentage defense and opponents’ free throw rate.

South Dakota State-Western Illinois Prediction

Don’t expect this to be a high-scoring affair, as the Leathernecks play at the slowest pace in all of college hoops.  South Dakota State is superior on both ends of the floor though, and I expect them to secure the automatic bid in front of a partisan home crowd.

About Andy Bottoms

While Andy was born and raised in Indiana, he would like to point out that he grew up shooting hoops in his driveway and not against the side of a barn like you see in all the March Madness promos or in the middle of a field like Jimmy Chitwood. Andy ranks among the top bracketologists according to the Bracket Matrix and has provided his projections to Fox Sports for the past three seasons. When not compiling excuses for missing work during the NCAA Tournament, Andy enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He is a proud IU graduate and co-hosts The Assembly Call postgame show following every IU game. Twitter: @AndyBottoms


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