Reaching the midpoint of the Summit League conference schedule, the University of South Dakota men’s basketball team experienced what it takes to win conference games.
Unfortunately for USD, a strong conference win has all to often been followed by a weak performance and a conference loss.
Sitting right in the middle of the pack in the Summit League standings at 4-5 in the conference, the Coyotes have and understand what it takes to play with the best teams in the conference. The next step is now playing at the level consistently, which has not come easy for USD this season.
Almost every conference win has been followed with a disappointing loss. The most recent example happening in the Coyotes past two games, an impressive 97-78 win at Oakland was followed up by a 90-95 home loss to Omaha.
USD has proven they match-up well with SDSU at the DakotaDome, winning the past two games against the Jackrabbits. In order to make a run towards a top seed in the Summit League tournament, USD will need a DakotaDome performance against SDSU and not one like the beat down they suffered at Frost Arena last season.
The biggest hope USD has in making an impact down the final stretch of this season is the high level of offense the team has been playing at.
Leading the conference in scoring by averaging 79 points per-game and three-point shooting (46 percent), the Coyotes have been lighting teams up on the attack. Senior point guard Juevol Myles, sophomore guard Brandon Bos and standout freshman guard Casey Kasperbauer lead the high scoring Coyote backcourt.
Such strong guard play has helped open the lane for junior center Trevor Gruis, who is USD’s second highest scorer, behind Myles, with 11.6 ppg.
These next two conference games will show both fans and fellow Summit League opponents whether or not USD should be a team to fear come tournament time on March 9 in Sioux Falls.
In its first year of NCAA tournament eligibility, USD has the potential to make a run come March and steal a bid to the Big Dance, but only if the team can learn to string together some strong performances. This weekend would be the perfect place to do just that.