The League Slate is our preview series that looks at the conference games of the night. It is posted on the morning of league games (usually Thursdays and Saturdays). Game are listed in order of start time.
League play continues on Friday night with a lot of action occurring in the Dakotas. WIU and IUPUI are also back in action against each other as the squads with just one game this week.
Western Illinois (1-1) at IUPUI (0-2)
7:00 p.m. ET
After struggling in the early portion of the year, the Jaguars have won four straight games and look much-improved since they dropped home games to SDSU and NDSU earlier this month. Meanwhile, the Leathernecks have done well against a limited amount of opponents. The outcome of this game will help us understand more about both of these teams.
--- WIU: Read our "Non-Conference Wrap Up" post on WIU by clicking here. ---IUPUI: Read out "Non-Conference Wrap Up" post on IUPUI by clicking here.
Terell Parks (Western Illinois) vs. Christian Siakam (IUPUI)
We've written about our appreciation for Terell Parks and his outstanding rebounding rates. Well, at this time last year, we might have said the same about Christian Siakam. His production is down this year, though IUPUI hasn't missed it much during its current win streak. Siakam has the pedigree to be a strong player in the Summit League, and Parks will be his first big test of the season as they battle for boards.
IPFW (1-2) at North Dakota State (2-1)
8:00 p.m. ET
--- IPFW: After getting torched by SDSU on Wednesday night, IPFW's league-only stats do not look too pretty. That said, the Dons proved in non-conference play that they can rebound well, particularly on the defensive glass. Now it's time to show they can keep it up in league play. ---NDSU: This squad has the most balanced scoring attack in the Summit League right now. While the Bison lack a go-to scorer at this point, Taylor Braun's first half output against Oakland suggests he is nearing the achievement of such a distinction.
Jonny Marlin (IPFW) vs. Lawrence Alexander (NDSU)
Lawrence Alexander has been the most impressive freshman point guard in the league, but IPFW's Jonny Marlin has also been logging a ton of minutes as a first-year player for the Mastodons. While Alexander is the more likely player to have a solid scoring night, both players have been decent-to-solid passers thus far, if not a bit turnover-prone. These guys will be manning the position for their respective squads for many years to come, so this game will be a great opportunity to see the future of the point guard position in the Summit League.
Oral Roberts (2-0) at South Dakota (0-3)
8:00 p.m. ET
The Summit League's best team, Oral Roberts, heads to Vermillion for the first time to play the conference's worst squad thus far in the South Dakota Coyotes.
--- ORU: The Golden Eagles continue to play at one of their slowest paces in recent seasons, but it's worked wonders, especially on the defensive side of the ball. ORU is just one of two Summit League teams that has held conference opponents to an average points per possession under 1.00. The team also continues to be the best offensive rebounding group in the conference -- rebounding an absurd 51 percent of its misses against league foes. ---USD: For all of their struggles in three league games, the Coyotes have been a great team inside the arc. They've hit 57 percent of their two-pointers and have an enviable free throw rate of 43 percent (and they make 80 percent of their free throws) against league opponents. It will be interesting to see how they perform in this area against an ORU team has allowed a higher-than-average shooting percentage on two-pointers.
Dominique Morrison (ORU) vs. Charlie Westbrook (USD)
These guys may or may not spend the game guarding each other, but they'll be the guys to watch on either team as the most athletic wing players for each. Westbrook brings with him a reputation as an entertaining player from when his team was playing in the Great West, but we have yet to see him really grab the attention of the league. He can learn a lot from watching Morrison, who has been capturing eyes with his game in this league for years now.
Oakland (2-1) at South Dakota State (3-0)
8:00 p.m. ET
--- OU: Very little went right for Oakland in its game against North Dakota State on Wednesday evening. The offense was held to well under a point per possession, and the defense was porous to say the least. That said, the Golden Grizzlies still got to the free throw line at a solid rate. They continue to lead the league in that metric through three conference games. ---SDSU: The SDSU offense is humming along as expected. The team posted a mightily impressive 1.40 points per possession against IPFW on Wednesday. But what's even more impressive is the defensive performance the Jackrabbits put forth. They allowed the Dons just 0.84 points per possession, which would have been their second-best performance in all of last conference season.
Reggie Hamilton (OU) vs. Nate Wolters (SDSU)
They are the Summit League's most prolific backcourt players. They are the floor generals for their teams. They can score at-will. They are among the best point guards in the nation. And they're leading two of the top teams in the league. Tune in.
Southern Utah (1-1) at UMKC (1-2)
8:05 p.m. ET
This is an under-the-radar match featuring two teams that will desperately be looking for a win.
--- SUU: It's still a bit early to say whether or not the Thunderbirds will keep this up, but through two games they've held opponents to 47 percent from inside the arc and 29 percent from outside the arc. Holding UMKC to such a mark from the three-point line would behoove them in this match-up. ---UMKC: The Kangaroos are forcing turnovers against league opponents at a 23 percent clip -- good for first in the league.
Jackson Stevenett (SUU) vs. Reggie Chamberlain (UMKC)
They play different positions, so this match-up is a bit of a cop out. But both players have been very solid in league play, continuing how they performed late last year. If you haven't come to appreciate their scoring prowess as of yet, this will provide a great opportunity to do so. Both players will be on an All-League team by the end of the season.