The Summit League Tournament continues on Sunday in what should be a quality game between the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and Oral Roberts Golden Eagles. This matchup pits the No. 5 team against the No. 4 team in the conference. It’s an unlikely game in the sense that North Dakota did not look like a team worthy of the No. 5 seed in the conference tournament early on. They were struggling mightily before finding some kick in their step to make a small comeback in the second-half of the regular season.
The Fighting Hawks started out brutally with a record of 1-8 through their first nine games. Then the offense started figuring it out, and the wins started to come for North Dakota. They managed to salvage their season with a record of 9-16, which isn’t tremendous by any means. However, when you look at the ugly start that North Dakota had, they were playing like a team that appeared destined for dead last in the Summit League. That was hard to do with the Denver Pioneers playing in the Summit League.
Along with finishing ahead of Denver, they also were in front of four other teams to finish fifth in the Summit League. The Fighting Hawks are coming off wins in three of their previous four games. That includes two wins over South Dakota, 85-67 and 85-81, and a recent 81-69 win over Nebraska Omaha on February 20 to close out the regular season schedule. It’s been an impressive turnaround for North Dakota, so even if they don’t go deep into the Summit League Tournament, there is something for them to build on next year.
Oral Roberts had the more successful campaign with a record of 13-10 in the regular season. When they get hot from the field, the Eagles can be a tough team to stop from rolling. As wide open as the Summit League is, with South Dakota State the only team with more than 15 wins on the season, it’s there for the Eagles to win. If Oral Roberts wins the Summit League, it wouldn’t come off as too surprising. Not a sharp shooting team like the Eagles. Head below for our free North Dakota vs. Oral Roberts pick on March 7, 2021.
North Dakota Fighting Hawks vs. Oral Roberts Golden Eagles Summit League Tournament Betting Odds:
North Dakota vs. Oral Roberts Prediction:
If Oral Roberts is going to win the Summit League, they are going to have to shoot the lights out and put up a lot of points on the scoreboard. Their defense is not reliable enough to grind out wins. One bad shooting performance could set them back because the defense likely isn’t going to do enough to make up for that. However, it has been rare that Oral Roberts has not shot the ball effectively.
They’ve been one of the best teams at connecting from beyond the arc and at the free throw line. When it comes to college basketball, there are a lot of teams that are useless from the charity stripe. The teams that can make their freebies are in a much better position. Oral Roberts is shooting 81.3% from the line, with only one team in the country better than the Eagles shooting free throws. They are also terrific from the perimeter, with a three point percentage of 39.2% for eighth in the NCAA.
It has added up to 82 points per game for the Eagles. That is good for 13th in the NCAA. They’ve been on fire as of late, too. Oral Roberts is shooting 47.2% in their last five outings, along with 89.4 points per game. Fortunately for the Fighting Hawks, the Eagles are susceptible to a lot of points on the other side of the floor. Through their last five performances, they’ve conceded 81.4 points per game. Overall, Oral Roberts is 296th with 75.9 points against per game.
The North Dakota offense has been significantly better than they were through the opening stretch of the season. They are back on track, though, with at least 80+ points scored in seven of their previous eight games. The Fighting Hawks might be 245th in the NCAA with 68.9 points per game, but this has been a different team since the end of January.
Teams are shooting 47.2% and 39% for three against North Dakota, both near the end of the line. In other words, North Dakota has to stay hot offensively, because Oral Roberts is likely to exploit their perimeter defense. I like a high-scoring contest, with the OVER likely the right play.