Load your finger pistols, don the acrylic paint and hoist up that Ned Flanders fathead with pride; the Summit League Tournament has arrived! This weekend, the men and women Golden Eagles will each have a chance to gain an NCAA berth and compete for a national title. To do this, they must win three consecutive games in a single-elimination tournament against the Summit League’s finest. Here is a breakdown of the matchups:
First Round: No. 1 ORU vs. No. 8 IPFW
The first matchup for the Golden Eagles men’s team is the Mastodons (elephant). If history is any indication, ORU has the upper hand. The Eagles are 10-3 all time versus the Mastodons who, outside of Frank Gaines (21 PPG, 5.8 RPG), really possess no threat to ORU offensively.
Prediction: ORU 84, IPFW 75
Championship prediction: ORU vs. Oakland
To get to the championship game, the Grizz have to beat No. 2 South Dakota State, but I’m picking Oakland because of how dangerous they are come playoff time. Oakland is No. 10 in the nation in scoring, not to mention league-leading scorer Reggie Hamilton (25.5) is a player who, like Dominique Morrison, is capable of carrying his team to victories. If these these two teams should clash, it would be a match for the ages.
Prediction: ORU 90, OAK 87
First Round: No. 2 ORU vs. No. 7 Western Illinois
The first matchup for the Lady Golden Eagles is the Leathernecks, who, as a team, do not matchup against ORU favorably. Aside from having the fouth-leading scorer (Kevi Luper 23.9 PPG), as a team ORU averages more assists (15.4) and points (73.2) than WI. ORU also has two players in Jaci Bigham and Georgia Jones who average over four assists per game; Western Illinois has zero.
Prediction: ORU 80, WI 70
Championship prediction: ORU vs. S. Dakota St.
The last time the Lady Eagles faced off against SDS, it was ugly. ORU shot 32 percent and was obliterated 51-70. However, after losing the game, the Eagles went on a five-game winning streak to close out the season and earn the No. 2 seed in the tournament. The Lady Eagles will have to play well to oust the Jackrabbits, whose defense has held opponents to a suffocating 57.1 points this season. However, if the Eagles can get hot and score, the Jacks only average 67.0 PPG.
Prediction: ORU 70, SDS 65