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Oral Roberts earned top seed in Summit League men’s basketball conference tournament

It took 40 years for it to happen once, but Oral Roberts made it back-to-back years that a Summit League team finished off the regular season with a perfect record. The Golden Eagles capped an 18-0 run through their conference slate Saturday with a win at South Dakota State and will be the No. 1 seed at the Summit League Men’s Basketball Championship slated for March 3-7 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.

ORU (27-4, 18-0 SL) earned the top seed for the first time since the 2011-12 season after finishing off the flawless stretch and picking up win No. 27 on the season, which . With both the men’s and women’s tournaments expanding to 10 teams this season, the Golden Eagles will play the winner of the opening first round game, which features No. 8 Denver and No. 9 North Dakota, in Saturday’s first quarterfinal at 6 p.m.

The Pioneers (15-16, 6-12 SL) and Fighting Hawks (12-19, 6-12 SL) get the men’s tournament underway Friday at 6 p.m. CT. DU held the tiebreaker among those two because of its 1-1 record against Western Illinois, who swept UND. Those two split in the regular season and had the same record against the top three seeds.

The Jackrabbits (18-12, 13-5 SL) were the first to accomplish perfection a season ago and earned the No. 2 seed this year. The reigning regular season and tournament champions will play the winner of the second opening round game between No. 7 seed Kansas City and No. 10 seed Omaha in Saturday’s second quarterfinal at 8:30 p.m. The Roos (11-20, 7-11 SL) and the Mavericks (8-22, 4-14 SL) will close out opening-day action in Sioux Falls with an 8:30 p.m. CT tip off Friday.

North Dakota State (14-16, 11-7 SL) earned the No. 3 seed in dramatic fashion Saturday, marking the fifth straight season the Bison have been a top-four seed in Sioux Falls. Boden Skunberg hit a jumper at the buzzer to lift the Bison past Western Illinois 71-69 in their regular season finale.

NDSU has advanced to the title game in each of the four previous tournaments and start another title-game quest against No. 6 seed South Dakota on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. The Coyotes (12-18, 7-11 SL) earned the right to play on Sunday and avoid an opening-round game thanks to a win over Kansas City Saturday in Vermillion.

South Dakota won the tiebreaker between Kansas City because of a 2-0 record against St. Thomas during the regular season. The Coyotes and Roos split their head-to-head series and had identical records against the top four seeds.

No. 4 seed Western Illinois (16-13, 9-9 SL) faces No. 5 seed St. Thomas (18-13, 9-9 SL) in Sunday’s first quarterfinal at 6 p.m. CT. The Leathernecks and Tommies split their regular season series, but Western Illinois earned the higher seed based on its 2-2 record against South Dakota and Kansas City, while the Tommies were 1-3. Both teams fared the same against the top three seeds.

The Leathernecks’ No. 4 seed is the program’s highest since WIU was the No. 2 seed in 2013, while St. Thomas is making their tournament debut after joining the League prior to the 2021-22 academic year.

Monday’s semifinals are slated for 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. CT. The first one will feature the winner of Saturday’s first quarterfinal (ORU/G1 Winner) facing the winner of the Western Illinois-St. Thomas tilt. The late semifinal will feature the winner of Saturday’s second quarterfinal (SDSU/G2 Winner) playing the NDSU-South Dakota winner at 8:30 p.m. CT. 

Friday’s first round games, all four quarterfinals and Monday’s semifinals will be televised on Midco Sports and streamed on Midco Sports Plus and ESPN+. Tuesday’s championship game is set for 8 p.m. CT and will be televised live on ESPN2 and available on WatchESPN.com or the ESPN app.

All men’s and women’s games at The Summit League Basketball Championships can be viewed live across multiple platforms ranging from cable television to handheld devices. The coverage by Midco Sports and ESPN platforms marks the 14th consecutive season that both the men’s and women’s tournaments will be broadcasted
in their entirety.

For complete information on this year’s tournament, visit The Summit League’s Men’s Basketball Championship Central webpage.