NCAA Tournament Preview: (12) South Dakota State vs. (5) Ohio State
Getting to the NCAA Tournament is becoming a fairly common occurrence for the South Dakota State men's basketball team. But as the Jackrabbits prepare for their sixth trip to the 'big dance', they're still missing one very important thing - a win on college basketball's biggest stage.
This year, SDSU (28-6) enters the 68-team field as a #12 seed in the West Region, where they'll open with Ohio State, Thursday (March 15) afternoon, in Boise, Idaho.
SDSU won the Summit League regular season title outright for the first time and captured the Summit League Tournament championship for the third straight year.
The Jacks are #1 in the NCAA in defensive rebounds per game (30), #8 offense (85 points per game), in the top 15 in three-pointers made per game (11), free throws made (566), and three-point percentage (40%). and in the top 25 in three-pointers attempted (896) and fewest turnovers (340).
Junior forward Mike Daum is second in the NCAA in defensive rebounding (9 per game), third in double-doubles (21), sixth in points per game (24), and ninth in total rebounding (353).
SDSU's season featured non-conference wins over Ole Miss and Iowa.
The Buckeyes (24-8) are the number-five seed. They were upset by Penn State in their opening game of the Big Ten Tournament.
OSU is in the top 25 in the nation in field goal percentage (49%). Junior forward Keita Bates-Diop led the Big Ten on the defensive glass and ranked 20th in the nation in that category. He also led the Buckeyes in scoring, averaging 19 points per game. Three other players, senior forward Jae'Sean Tate (13 points per game), junior guard CJ Jackson (12 points per game), and freshman forward Kaleb Wesson (11 points per game), average in double figures.
Tipoff is 3:00 PM (CDT), Thursday in Boise.
I talked with SDSU head coach TJ Otzelberger about the match-up with the Buckeyes: