SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Summit League Tournament returns to Sioux Falls later today. All 10 schools are in the Conference Championships this year, so an extra day of games has been added.
However, this isn’t the first change to come to the tournament. In this week’s Flashback Friday, we take you back to 2009 when the Jackrabbit women got ready for their first home-state advantage.
Being the top seed for this weekend’s Summit League Championships offers very little in the way of guarantees for the SDUS women. And that’s because the last time the number 1 seed actually won the tournament was 1998.
“I think that speaks to just how difficult it is. I think that’s why they call this time March Madness, you really have no idea what’s going to happen. Any team could have a good night, any team could have an off night. So, seeds right now don’t mean as much as how you go out and play.”
Nevertheless, SDSU is playing some of their best basketball at the perfect time. The Jacks haven’t lost a game in 2 months, and they believe their record in Summit League play gives them an edge this weekend.
“It helps to know that we’ve beaten every team in the conference at least one time. We’re pretty confident, but we know it’s going to take a lot more effort than it would during the regular season because the conference tournament is a whole different story.”
This story will unfold in their home state. With the Sioux Falls Arena hosting this year’s championships, the Jacks believe they’ll get an additional boost.
“You can’t get any better than our local fans. They’ve been great here at Frost, and I think that the Sioux Falls Arena will be an extension of what we feel when we play here at Frost Arena.”
“Kind of like having, you know, the 6th man on the floor with you. It’s going to be great to play in that environment with all those fans and all those people cheering for the Jacks.”
Yet regardless of facts, fans, or history, the expectation remains the same. And head coach Aaron Johnston says his team is prepared.
“The expectation of us to win I don’t think really adds to it. Because we were to win the regular season and we handled that pressure. We’ve been ranked since the middle of December and it seems like we’ve continued to add to that. This team’s just done a great job of handling it. We’ve got great seniors, great leaders, and they’ve really approached this season with a good attitude.”
The Jacks are hoping that attitude propels them past this weekend and into the NCAA tournament. In Brookings, David Brown, KELOLAND Sports.
The Summit League Tournament tips off with the women’s bracket. Game 1 will see St. Thomas take on Western Illinois at 12:30.
We’ll have coverage of the tournament throughout the day both online on our Summit League Tournament page, and on air.