PREMIER Center Could Be Instrumental in Expanding South Dakota’s College Basketball Horizons
The hoopla has died down a bit from college basketball’s whirlwind tour through Sioux Falls. We should take a peek down the road and think future potential.
Selfishly as a South Dakota native, I would like to see the institutions within the state’s borders do well. A very key ingredient seems to be the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.
Starting at the top, neither the Jacks nor ‘Yotes men’s teams are Kentucky beaters yet. A reasonable short term goal would be a 12 or 11 seed in the NCAA tournament.
South Dakota State made the tournament twice in 2012 and 2013 earning a 14 seed and a 13 seed in the process. The odds of advancing against the competition are steep against a third or fourth seeded team.
North Dakota State who dispatched the Jacks in the 2015 title game reached this goal last year. As a 12 seed, the Bison beat Oklahoma last year to win their first ever tournament game in Division 1 play.
So why would the PREMIER Center be so important? This building that provides the setting for the Summit League tournament is an invaluable recruiting tool. By virtue of their proximity, Vermillion, Brookings and Fargo (much as I loathe having to mention them) can point to the atmosphere and fervor of the conference pinnacle.
A number of South Dakota boys players that would have previously escaped to the power conferences could be convinced to stick closer to home. Or you have the Nate Wolters type who get overlooked by their counterparts in the region who come into South (sigh) or North Dakota with something to prove.
It would be nice to dream of “One Shining Moment” at the Big Dance. Reality says you have to learn the steps before you command the spotlight.