South Dakota Basketball Teams Look to Make the NCAA Tournament
It's felt like March all season long in college basketball, and yet, today is the first official day of March. There's no doubt that March is coming in like a lion. After all, nineteen, yes, nineteen unranked teams have beat top-five ranked college basketball teams, and March is just beginning.
In South Dakota, March Madness will hit next weekend as the Summit League tournament will come to the Sioux Falls Arena once again.
On the men's side, South Dakota State is the early favorites after clinching the Summit League regular season title last night by beating Omaha. The Jackrabbits finished the regular season with a 13-3 (Summit), and 22-9 (overall) record. Their most impressive win came against New Mexico in December, who were ranked number 16 at the time and are now number 14 in the country.
The Jacks RPI is currently sitting at 75 and will more than likely have to win the Summit to advance to the NCAA tournament. Last year, the Jackrabbit men went dancing, and nearly pulled the upset against Baylor, but the Bears defeated the Jackrabbits 68-60.
The Jacks women are trying to make a fifth straight NCAA tournament, and finished the Summit League regular season with a record of 13-2, and 21-7. The Jacks will be the one seed in next week's Summit League tournament. Their key wins are over Washington State, Nebraska, and Georgetown. Last year, they won the Summit for a fourth time, and lost to Purdue, 83-68 in the NCAA tournament.
The University of South Dakota will have to win the Summit League title to do so. They finished 5-10, and 10-18 on the year to make the NCAA tournament. The Coyotes lost to number two Gonzaga, number 25 ranked Kansas State, and Iowa earlier in the year. Their big win came against South Dakota State at home.
The Coyote women finished third in the Summit League with a record of 10-6, and 15-14. The Coyotes big wins are over Drake, and Seton Hall.
North Dakota State finished the 2012-2013 year with the third best record in the Summit League. The Bison were
11-4, and 21-8. The Bison fell to Indiana and Minnesota. NDSU beat Summit League regular season winner SDSU, 65-62 in December. They also lost to SDSU in the team's second meeting. Their RPI is sitting at 82.
The NDSU women finished seventh in the Summit League with a 6-9, and 10-17 record. The Bison beat Harvard, and South Dakota earlier this year. They finish at home tomorrow against South Dakota State.
North Dakota doesn't play in the Summit League, but are sitting in third place in the Big Sky with a 10-8, and 13-15 record. Montana is in first in the Big Sky, and North Dakota fell twice to the Grizzlies this year.
The women aren't in nearly as good as shape, and boast a 6-12, and 11-16 record, good for a ninth place finish.
Outside of South Dakota, Minnesota and Creighton have the best chance of making the NCAA tournament. Minnesota was a bubble team until this week when they beat number one Indiana at home. The Gophers are sitting at 7-8 in the Big Ten and 19-9 overall. Their RPI is 15th.
Meanwhile, Creighton is in second in the Missouri Valley, and boasting a 12-5 conference record, and 24-6 overall record. They have the 43rd best RPI in the nation.
The Colorado State Rams may also have a shot an NCAA tournament bid. The Rams have big man Colton Iverson from Yankton on their team. Colorado State is 22-6, 9-4, and in second in the Mountain West. They have the 17th best RPI.
It will be an exciting March, and it is always more fun when a local team makes a run at the NCAA tournament.