Preview: South Dakota State at Murray State
Two of the top senior guards in college basketball will go head-to-head on national television tonight as Nate Wolters and South Dakota State play Isaiah Canaan and Murray State in a BracketBuster match-up on ESPN2.
Wolters is the number three scorer in the nation (23 points per game); Canaan is 10th (21 points per game). Both were the pre-season Players of the Year in their respective conferences (Summit League and Ohio Valley), and both are on numerous watch lists for post season awards.
These two teams are similar as well. SDSU (21-8) sits atop the standings in the Summit; MSU (19-7) is first in the OVC's East Division. Both score about 73 points a game and give up 66. Both have talented forwards to compliment their star guards. The Jacks Jordan Dykstra has seven doubles-doubles this season, while the Racers Ed Daniel is 9th in the nation in rebounding (10 per game), and has 13 double-doubles this season.
The common bonds don't end there. Each team won a BracketBuster game last season - SDSU beat Buffalo, MSU topped Saint Mary's. Each team is also coming in after playing double overtime games Wednesday night - the Jacks lost their game at Cal State -Bakersfield, the Racers won their game at Morehead State.
Murray State's CFSB Center has been a tough place for opposing teams since it opened in 1998. In the last 15 seasons, the Racers are 181-30 on their home floor, 9-2 this season. The Jackrabbits are 6-8 away from Frost Arena this season.
Defense and rebounding will be the keys in this one. Each team is holding opponents to under 44 percent shooting this season. South Dakota State is 14-3 when holding teams to less than 45 percent shooting; Murray State is 17-4. On the boards, the Jacks have won 15-of-19 when winning the rebounding battle; the Racers are 12-3.
After tonight's game, it's one final regular season game for SDSU, next Thursday at Omaha. A win against the Mavericks will clinch at least a share of the Jackrabbits first ever Summit League regular season championship and secure the top seed at next month's Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls.
Tipoff tonight is 7:00pm.