You know the game is big when it has a name and when South Dakota State and The University of South Dakota play anything these days it’s the South Dakota Showdown presented by South Dakota Corn.
Today is the 207th meeting between the Jackrabbits and Coyotes and to give you an idea of how intense this rivalry is, both schools are still debating the outcome of a game back in March of 1915. That’s hard core.
These two teams are coming in fresh off two vastly different games Thursday night. SDSU (11-5 overall/2-1 in the Summit League) went on a tear in the first half at Kansas City, led by Jordan Dykstra’s 4 3-pointers, capping the 1st 20 minutes with an 18-0 run to lead by 29 at the break, en route to a 77-61 win.
USD (6-10/2-2) saw the roof cave in on them in the 1st half at home against North Dakota State Thursday. The Bison scored on their first 10 possessions, shot 80% in the 1st half and were up 16-2 after six minutes, en route to a 92-66 beat down of the Coyotes.
Some things to watch in this one today:
This is the sixth straight road game for Jacks, who haven’t played at home since December 9th. Will road fatigue be a factor?
It could be a historic day for Jacks senior point guard Nate Wolters. He needs just 15 points (6 below his average) to become the school’s all-time leading scorer, breaking Mark Tetzlaff’s mark of 1,931 points from 1981-85.
3-point shooting could be a key at the Dakota Dome, State’s Jordan Dykstra and the U’s Casey Kasperbauer each hit five Thursday night.
USD needs to do a much better job inside today. The Coyotes were outscored 46-22 in the paint against NDSU, 13-3 on second chance points. USD’s is getting outrebounded by an average of 5 per game, that’s 305th out of 345 teams in the nation.
The two teams spit last season, each winning on its’ home floor. The Jacks held the Coyotes to just 24% shooting in the first half in Brookings, leading by as many as 37, before cruising to an 86-56 win. USD won in Vermillion less than a moth later with a strong first half of its’ own. USD held SDSU to 30% shooting in the first 20 minutes, including 0-8 on 3-pointers, opened up a 21 point lead and held off 10 State 3’s in the second, to win 72-68.
The Coyotes will need a strong first half today, they’ve won all four games this season they’ve led at the break, but are 1-9 when trailing. The Jacks are 8-2 when leading after 20 minutes.
Tipoff is 4:05pm in Vermillion.