The 13th-seeded South Dakota State men’s basketball team (25-9) will play No. 4 Michigan (26-7) in the South Region in Auburn Hills, Mich. The teams will play at 6:15 p.m. Thursday at the Palace of Auburn Hills, about an hour’s drive from the Michigan campus. The show will be broadcast on CBS.
After learning that Sunday night, CBS selection show analyst Doug Gottlieb had a prediction. He shared it with a nationwide TV audience.
“Don’t be surprised if the Jackrabbits really push Michigan, or maybe pull off the upset,” Gottlieb announced.
That created about as big of a stir in Brookings as last year when Gottlieb’s CBS teammate Seth Davis predicted SDSU would beat Baylor during the 2012 selection show. SDSU made a great showing in its first men’s Big Dance, falling to Baylor 68-60.
Gottlieb also pointed out the SDSU-Michigan game will feature “two of the elite point guards in the country.”
SDSU senior Nate Wolters, the Summit League player of the year, is averaging 22.5 points and 5.6 rebounds with 181 assists, 52 steals and 4 blocks. He is shooting 49 percent (231-470) from the field including 39 percent (62-158) from three-point range and 81 percent (174-216) from the line.
Michigan sophomore Trey Burke, the Big Ten Conference player of the year, is averaging 19.2 points and 3.1 rebounds with 222 assists, 53 steals and 16 blocks. He is shooting 48 percent (229-478) from the field including 40 percent (65-162) from three-point range and 79 percent (111-140) from the line.
Jacks head coach Scott Nagy said he knew the Jacks would draw a great team. “I think it is a decent match-up for us,” Nagy told Brookings Radio sports director Dellas Cole. “We are going to have to play great offensively and we are going to have to be great on defensive.”
SDSU junior starter Chad White of Madison, whose brother Mitch White is a starter for Northern State, said he likes the matchup with the Wolverines. “They like running and so do we, so it will be a fast-paced game,” White told Cole. “We will match up well with that.”
SDSU starters Brayden Carlson of Brookings and Wolters of St. Cloud, Minn., both told Cole that previous postseason experience will help the Jackrabbits. “Last year was a whirlwind experience,” Wolters said. “It was nothing like we had experienced before. So we should be more prepared this year. I remember the week before, it was just kind of chaos the whole week, but this time things will be a little more back to normal and we’ll just be ready to play a basketball game.”
The Michigan-South Dakota State winner will advance to face the winner of No. 5 seed Virginia Commonwealth University and No. 12 seed Akron on Saturday for a spot in the South Region semifinals in Arlington, Texas, at Cowboys Stadium.
Michigan is 2-0 all-time against SDSU. The Wolverines beat the Jacks 104-66 on Dec. 3, 1988, and 95-55 on Dec. 11, 1957.
Other games with regional ties include No. 11 Minnesota (20-12) vs. No. 6 UCLA (25-9) on Friday in the South Region and No. 8 Colorado State (25-8) vs. No. 9 Missouri (22-10) on Thursday in the Midwest Region. Colton Iverson of Yankton is a 6-foot-10, 261-pound senior for Colorado State. He is leading the Rams with 14.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
The tourney will start tonight and Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio, on truTV. North Carolina A&T (19-16) will play Liberty (15-20) at 5:40 tonight followed by St. Mary’s (27-6) vs. Middle Tennessee State (28-5) at 8:10 p.m. LIU-Brooklyn (20-13) will play James Madison (20-14) at 5:40 p.m. Wednesday followed by LaSalle (21-9) vs. Boise State (21-10) at 8:10 p.m.
Tickets: gojacks.com or 1-866-GoJacks (465-2257).
The SDSU women will find out where and who they will play in their tourney at 6 tonight on the women’s selection show on ESPN.
Location: Ann Arbor.