College Men

Men's preview: Summit League

IUPUI senior Michael Davan
IUPUI senior Michael Davan ( Courtesy IUPUI Athletics )

Thursday, February 16, 2012

IUPUI’s trip to Kiawah Island, S.C., in November very nearly marred a stellar fall season.

The Jaguars finished 10th of 21 teams that week -- its seventh start in a nine-week stretch -- and plummeted in Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.

Head coach John Andrews suspects his teams might have just been a little tired. After all, he didn’t intend to play such a hectic fall schedule. When the Wolf Run Intercollegiate dropped from IUPUI’s usual fall lineup (that tournament was not played this year because the NCAA Central Regional was played there last spring; it will return next fall) Andrews sent a round of emails, hoping to fill the hole with a start with tournaments hosted by Michigan, Michigan State or Charleston Southern. He got invitations to all three, which sent IUPUI’s fall tournament total to seven -- a number reached by only a handful of teams in the country

“I couldn't figure out which one we shouldn’t play in so we played in them all,” Andrews reasoned. “I was trying to get six tournaments and we ended up with seven.”

Regardless of that final tournament, IUPUI's three victories in the previous six starts (at the Fossum Invitational, the Butler Fall Invitational and the UD Invitational) shows that this Jaguar team is as deep as Andrews has seen in his 12 seasons at IUPUI. There are seven players on the roster fighting for the top five spots, and aside from senior trio Michael Davan, Ben Engle and Michael Powell, Andrews isn’t quite sure how the starting lineup will shake out.

“The other two spots, I have four really good players and they’ll fight for those two spots every week,” Andrews said. “It will be a very interesting scenario as the season winds down.”

IUPUI has six spring tournaments lined up before the Summit League Championship, where three returners will go up against defending champions UMKC -- a team that returned all five of its top players from last spring.

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Top of the class: IUPUI

Best player this fall: Michael Davan, IUPUI

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Past champions

2008: Western Illinois

2009: Oral Roberts

2010: Oral Roberts

2011: UMKC

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Conference capsules

IUPUI (Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: No. 117)

Jaguars won a conference-best three times in the fall, including a victory at the season-opening Fossum Invite.

Missouri-Kansas City (No. 155)

Highlight of the fall was a victory at the 12-team Kansas Invitational, in which the team rallied from a nine-shot deficit. That was its first victory at a tournament hosted by a school from a major BCS conference.

Southern Utah (No. 179)

Thunderbirds nearly pulled out a victory at the Battle at the Tetons, finishing second, at which Nic Booth and Jeff Evans each finished in the top 4.

Oral Roberts (No. 180)

Golden Eagles unable to take that next step and contend consistently, settling for a fall-best fourth at the Fairway Club Invite.

South Dakota State (No. 181)

Flashes of good play for the Jackrabbits, but no better than fifth (twice) in five starts.

Western Illinois (No. 194)

Fighting Leathernecks finished near the middle of the pack at each tournament they entered; best result a T-6 at the Kansas Invite.

Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne (No. 207)

In October, the Mastodons captured the Cleveland State Invitational, which was shortened to 18 holes because of weather.

Oakland (No. 217)

After encouraging start, a 3rd at the Fossum, Golden Grizzles unable to get in contention the rest of the fall.

North Dakota State (No. 260)

Even though Bison were unable to get a team title, both Trent Olson and Nate Varty picked up individual wins.

South Dakota (No. 272)

Three finishes were 10th or worse, but Coyotes were runner-up in their second event at Erv Kaiser.

Conference championship

April 16-17, Primm Valley GC, Primm, Nevada

Lance Ringler's prediction

IUPUI. The Jaguars had a great fall, placing in the top six on five different occasions - including winning three times. One of those victories came at The Fossum, hosted by Michigan State. IUPUI is the favorite in this league and should be everyone's pick this spring.

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Complete coverage

Wondering how your favorite conference is shaping up headed into the spring season? Who is our favorite to pick up the automatic qualifier? Check out our conference-by-conference break down with our complete coverage page here.

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