South Dakota State plays at South Dakota on Thursday night... we have it LIVE at 7:00 on MidcoSN.
SDSU beat USD 86-56 in Brookings four weeks ago. Can the Coyotes keep it competitive this time? Probably. Hopefully.
Disclosure: I am an SDSU grad... sat on the BB bench for 4 years and had a grand time in Brookville. But thanks to my incredible professionalism, undeniable maturity and healthy altruism, I really don't care who wins. Seriously. I just want to see a great game.
Since the blowout in Brookings, the Jacks have gone 5-1 with a loss at Oakland, but a win against Oral Roberts. The Coyotes have gone 2-4 with two of the losses by 2 points, at home against Southern Utah and at Western Illinois.
USD beat UMKC on Saturday so the Yotes have 3 conference wins which equals SDSU's first year win total in the Summit League. The Jacks went 3-15 in 2007-08.
For the Coyotes this time around it comes down to their seniors showing up to the party.
MidcoSN analyst and wicked smart physics teacher Brad Newitt says this about USD:
"Have to have Westbrook and Krogman playing well on the same night, they did it against UMKC on Saturday (CW 28 & LK 23) and won by 16."
Throw super sophomore Trevor Gruis in there, too. All three have to play well on Thursday. Here are their numbers in the 3 USD wins and in the loss at SDSU.
Krogman Westbrook Gruis
At UMKC 16 32 10,10 rebounds
IUPUI 21 32 18,7
UMKC 23 28 13,11
At SDSU 15 (4-11 FG) 9 (6-13 FG) 14,8
After knocking off Oral Roberts last Thursday, South Dakota State is flying high... but that could be their downfall.
Here is Newitt on SDSU:
"Its all psychological for them in this game. They are the better team, they have more talent and more depth. But if they are not ready to compete and play with intensity like they did the first time these teams met, they could get themselves in close game on the road."
That would be sweet because blowouts are boring.
However, I would be stunned if the Jackrabbits don't bring the intensity. Coach Nagy has been telling his guys all year not to worry about offense and instead, take pride in defense and rebounding. State still leads the league in scoring at 79 PPG and the Jacks have allowed just 43 (IPFW), 60 (ORU) and 56 (SUU) in their last three games.
If you believe in the Sagarin ratings, SDSU should win by 11. If you want to see some improved, hungry Coyotes tangle with a pack of fast, nasty Rabbits, tune in Thursday night.