You never get a second chance to make a first impression, right? But often, the second look is the most (or at least more) accurate.
I saw Denver play at South Dakota in the Summit League opener. USD won 59-54. Denver was not awful, but they were...... just there. Brett Olson made some shots and had 22, but nobody else left an impression... good or bad. Just blah. Chris Udofia is a pre-season All American, but he looked lost.
BUT THEN... I saw Denver last night at Omaha and Denver was great. Their half-court offense is a spread em out and cut em up style and they killed Omaha with it. Udofia sits at the top of the circle and it all flows around him. He's a great passer. If they don't get you with a back cut layup they will make you think they're going to get you with a back cut layup and then find Olson or Marcus Byrd or Bryant Rucker wide open at the 3-point line. And they can shoot. Rucker and Byrd were both 4/5 at Omaha. They were 10/19 on threes as a team. They shot 72% in the first half and 62% for the game.
So, OK... Denver is pretty good. For now. Yoo nevuh know whut yuh gunna get, I guess.
Take South Dakota. The Coyotes won their first three Summit League games... all at home, but still.
AND THEN... they went to Western Illinois on Thursday and the Leathernecks pounded em 79-61. Western shot 62% and made 7/10 threes. Garret Covington, their star freshman, had 21 and they handled the Yotes 34-19 on the boards. Trevor Gruis only had 5 points and 1 rebound for USD. (He averages 14/9.)
Just another example, I suppose, of the combo of playing on the road AND having a bad night. Not good. BUT... good for Western Illinois and head coach Jim Molinari. It was his 300th career win.
Western Illinois will host Denver on Saturday afternoon and THAT should be good.
South Dakota plays at Omaha on Saturday... and Omaha fits our little theme, here. The Mavs were outstanding in a win at South Dakota State last Saturday... but were nowhere near as good last night at home against Denver. They made every timely shot and answered every Jackrabbit run last Saturday, but missed layups and clanked threes and got outrun by the Pioneers. Omaha senior John Karhoff was really good in both games, but he got zero help from his friends in the 74-60 spanking by Denver.
In essence, almost every team in the league has been a Dow Joneser (credit-Dicky V) so far... up one day and down the next and not even the smartest guy in the room knows exactly why.
PROGRAMMING PLUG-----We have North Dakota State at South Dakota State LIVE on MidcoSN at 4:00 on Saturday. The Bison have probably been the most consistent squad so far... lots of seniors. They lead the nation in Field Goal shooting right now at 51.4%. SDSU better be hungry cuz NDSU will be in the first meeting between the two since the Jacks won 73-67 in last year's Summit League tournament championship.
Hope to see you then.