There are 32 games on Thursday and Friday, one of the most exciting 48-hour segments on the sports calendar.
We won’t be able to get individual previews up for every game, but we’ll cherry pick some of the more compelling matchups during the tournament’s “second” round.
In this post, we preview the South Region’s 3-14 matchup, which some think is an intriguing upset pick, between Scott Drew’s Baylor Bears and the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State.
Baylor-South Dakota State Game Info
- Seeds & Region: #3 Baylor v #14 South Dakota State in South Region
- Baylor-South Dakota State Date: Thursday, 3/15
- Baylor-South Dakota State Tip Time: 7:27 ET
- Baylor-South Dakota State Location: Albuquerque
- Baylor-South Dakota State TV: TruTV
- Baylor-South Dakota State Announcers: Spero Dedes and Bob Wenzel
- Baylor-South Dakota State Point Spread: Baylor -8
- Tickets: Baylor-South Dakota State Tickets
- Tickets: All Albuquerque Sessions
- Tickets: South Regional Tickets in Boston
Baylor-South Dakota State Analysis and Prediction
I really like that on Kenpom, Baylor’s defensive footprint is categorized as “inconclusive.” Is that a veiled way of saying they don’t play any? All kidding aside, Baylor ranks 34th in adjusted defensive efficiency, and the only area they really struggle is keeping opponents off the offensive glass.
South Dakota State’s Nate Wolters is a terrific player, but the Jackrabbits just don’t have the firepower to compete with the likes of Quincy Acy and Perry Jones III inside.
Predicted Winner: Baylor
Baylor Bears Team Capsule
- Conference: Big 12
- Record: 27-7 (12-6 conf)
- Last 10 Games: 6-4
- Record vs. Tournament Teams: 10-7
- Wins vs. Tournament Teams: BYU, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State (2), Saint Mary’s, San Diego State, Texas (2), West Virginia
- Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Kansas (2), Missouri (3), Kansas State, Iowa State
- Player to Watch: Pierre Jackson (5’10” G, Jr.) – 13.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 5.8 apg, 1.7 spg, 43.4 3P%
Baylor Bears Bottoms Line:
Few teams in the country can match Baylor in terms of pure talent, particularly along the front line. However, the Bears went just 4-7 against other teams in the top half of the Big 12, which has some people questioning their toughness as well as Scott Drew’s coaching.
Five Baylor players score at least 9.6 points per game, with sophomore Perry Jones III leading the team in both points and rebounds. PJ3 has been wildly criticized for his lack of intensity and aggressiveness, but he was fantastic in the Big 12 Tournament, which should give him plenty of confidence. Quincy Acy and Quincy Miller join him up from, with Acy a do-it-all competitor whose toughness shines through on both ends of the floor and Miller an impressive freshman with loads of potential.
In the backcourt, juco transfer Pierre Jackson is second on the team in scoring and leads the Bears in assists and steals. He’s made a number of clutch plays this season but can get out of control at times. Brady Heslip knocks down over 43 percent from beyond the arc, and opponents simply can’t allow him to get loose on the perimeter.
Baylor ranks in the Top 15 in offensive efficiency thanks to a strong presence on the offensive glass and impressive shooting both inside and outside of the arc. Defensively, they have solid block and steal percentages, but they have routinely been hurt on the offensive glass and have a tendency to give up points in bunches when things start to go awry.
South Dakota Stake Jackrabbits Team Capsule
- Conference: Summit
- Record: 27-7 (15-3 conf)
- Last 10 Games: 9-1
- Record vs. Tournament Teams: 0-0
- Wins vs. Tournament Teams: None
- Losses vs. Tournament Teams: None
- Player to Watch: Nate Wolters (6’4″ G, Jr.) – 21.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 6.0 apg, 1.7 spg
South Dakota State Bottoms Line:
The Jackrabbits finished second in the regular season but took advantage of a Semifinal loss by Oral Roberts to grab the automatic bid. Led by Nate Wolters, SDSU ranks just outside the Top 25 in offensive efficiency. Wolters does just about everything for this team and is one of the nation’s best under the radar players. His assist and turnover rates are both fantastic, and he does a nice job of getting to the free throw line, where he shoots neatly 79 percent.
Jordan Dykstra is second on the team in scoring and rebounding and is one of four key members of the rotation shooting over 40 percent from long range. Griffan Callahan and Chad White both have extremely high offensive ratings and can drill it from deep.
As a team, South Dakota State ranks fifth in turnover rate, 15th in three-point shooting, and 22nd in effective field goal percentage, with their only glaring offensive weakness a poor offensive rebounding percentage. On defense, the Jackrabbits do a nice job on the defensive glass and don’t put their opponents at the stripe often, but they rank outside of the Top 200 in effective field goal percentage defense and turnover rate. SDSU won by 17 points at Washington in the non-conference season, so they have shown they can compete with major conference teams already. Even if you don’t think they can spring an upset, take the opportunity to check out Wolters.
Related: Jump to our South Region Bracket Breakdown
See our other individual game previews:
- South Region: #5 Wichita State v #12 VCU
- South Region: #4 Indiana v #13 New Mexico State
- South Region: #7 Notre Dame v #10 Xavier
- South Region: #8 Iowa State v #9 Connecticut
- South Region: #6 UNLV v #11 Colorado
- West Region: #5 New Mexico v #12 Long Beach State
- West Region: #8 Memphis v #9 Saint Louis
- West Region: #7 Florida v #10 Virginia
- West Region: #6 Murray State v #11 Colorado State
- West Region: #4 Louisville v #13 Davidson
- East Region: #4 Wisconsin v #13 Montana
- East Region: #5 Vanderbilt v #12 Harvard
- East Region: #6 Cincinnati v #11 Texas
- East Region: #7 Gonzaga v #10 West Virginia
- Midwest Region: #5 Temple v #12 Cal/USF
- Midwest Region: #7 St. Mary’s v #10 Purdue
- Midwest Region: #4 Michigan v #13 Ohio
- Midwest Region: #8 Creighton v #9 Alabama
- Midwest Region: #6 San Diego State v #11 NC State
- Midwest Region: #3 Georgetown v #14 Belmont