Between now and when league play resumes we'll be taking a look at how each team fared in non-conference play in our "Non-Conference Wrap Up" series.
Non-Conference Win/Loss: 5-4 (3-4 against Division I)
Current KenPom rank: 254th nationally (9th in league)
Laudable Trait: The Coyotes made 52 percent of their two-point shots, largely due to the fact that all five starters had two-point percentages above 50 percent. That figure should stay consistent into league play now that highly-accurate forward Ricardo Andreotti is back in the line-up.
Lamentable Trait: Despite the team's solid accuracy inside the arc, the players have a tendency to prefer taking shots beyond the arc -- 38 percent of their field goal attempts come from downtown -- despite the fact they're a below average shooting team from the perimeter. One result of such a perimeter-orientation is that they haven't been drawing a lot of fouls. When you shoot a respectable 74 percent from the line, it would make sense to attempt to make more trips there, which can't be done as often when shooting so much from deep.
Best Win: South Dakota went on the road to face defending Ohio Valley Conference tournament champion Morehead State and won in a 58-possession affair. To put that in perspective, the Coyotes usually average about 70 possessions per game. They had to play at MSU's pace, but they came away with a grind-it-out styled win.
Worst Loss: Ten days after they downed Canisius by 12 points in New York, the Coyotes dropped the return game in Vermillion by 10 points in overtime. Canisius was 1-8 before picking up that win on USD's home court. Ouch.
Top Performer: Senior Louie Krogman. The speedy guard probably takes a couple more three-pointers than necessary, but aside from that he's been very solid for Coach Dave Boots. He's connecting on a high percentage of two-pointers for a 6-foot-1 guard, picking up a few steals, and assisting at a nice rate. Most impressive, he rarely turns the ball over and he refrains from committing fouls.
Player To Watch In League Play: Sophomore Trevor Gruis. A solid post-player, Gruis averaged 11.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in non-conference play. Once he gets comfortable playing against opposing Summit forwards, Gruis could boost those averages by as much as three or four units per category.
Overall Assessment: Guys like Westbrook and Krogman have more or less done what has been expected of them. The key for South Dakota going forward is to get consistently strong performances out of Gruis and to see if one or more of the role players can emerge as a legitimate scoring option. Andreotti, who missed the team's first two league games, could be the missing piece that helps USD stay competitive.