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Summit League: Oakland's tries to break title game jinx

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Conference tournament play began Tuesday, kicking off a 12-day mad scramble for NCAA tournament berths. Up next in our previews is the Summit League, headlined by an Oakland team whose 17-1 conference record was the best in league history.

Summit League Tournament

Date: March 6, 8, 9

Site: Sioux Falls, S.D.

No. 1 Oakland vs. No. 8 UMKC
No. 4 South Dakota State vs. No. 5 IPFW
No. 3 Oral Roberts vs. No. 6 North Dakota State
No. 2 IUPUI vs. No. 7 Western Illinois

Favorite: Oakland (23-8, 17-1)

Contenders: IUPUI (22-9, 15-3), Oral Roberts (19-12, 13-5)

Did you know: Late-blooming big man Keith Benson of Oakland only averaged seven points a game in high school, but now he may be the league's best NBA prospect.

Outlook: Oakland, IUPUI and Oral Roberts dominated this conference in the regular season, so it would be shocking if the final of this tournament didn't come down to two of these teams. As the top seed, Oakland gets the easiest path to the title game, where they have lost two of the past three seasons. The Grizzlies beat Oral Roberts twice by a combined five points in the regular season and split with IUPUI, escaping with a three-point win at home and getting rolled by 24 on the road.

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