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SDSU Head Coach, Scott Nagy, leads a rising program into The Barn

It will be a chess match tonight. All about pace and performance.

The Dakota State University teams are starting to be recognized nationally, while recruiting primarily in the Midwest.  They aren't getting any Mr. Basketball players.  They aren't even getting what some would call "sloppy seconds".  Amazingly, South Dakota State has had three 20-win seasons in its last four years.  In the excluded season, they won 19 games.  During those four seasons, SDSU went to March Madness twice and last year they finished in the second round of the NIT.  

Where are they at this year?

Record: 7-1

Biggest win this season: @ TCU

Largest margin of victory: 27 points (Wayne State)

Go to scorer: The open man, Deondre Parks, George Marshall, Mike Daum

Players from Minnesota on roster: 2

Quick game notes for tonight:

When: 7pm CT

Where: Williams Arena

TV/Radio: ESPN 3 , ESPN 1500

Their lone loss this season came against a team Minnesota has already beaten, UMKC.  SDSU is a team that runs a much more effective halfcourt offense than UMKC.  Although UMKC won a relatively low scoring game against SDSU, they were able to hold the Jackrabbits under 40% from the field.  SDSU is averaging nearly 48% from the field on the season, so this UMKC loss may have been more of a fluke than anything.

Keys to the game:

  • Dictate the pace
  • Guard well on the perimeter
  • Play defense until the shot clock expires
  • McBrayer must play suffocating defense like he is capable of
  • Dorsey must limit turnovers
  • Grabbing the long rebounds off 3s
  • King must be willing to takeover

SDSU has a balanced scoring attack with an emerging freshmen in the middle, Mike Daum, whom will be guarded primarily by Jordan Murphy or Joey King.  This may be another game where we don't see Bakary Konate or Gaston Diedhou leave the bench in the second half.  The Jackrabbits currently have two players over 6-foot 6 that are recording more than 10 minutes per game.  That's Ian Theisen and Mike Daum, interestingly enough, the two players seem to be eating at each other's minutes.  There should be a lot of 3s launched tonight and the Gopher's guards will have to be ready to secure the long boards rather than just standing and watching.

If King can bounce back from a poor shooting night and draw out Daum or Theisen to the 3-point line tonight that should really expose the Jackrabbits inside.  SDSU Head Coach Scott Nagy only wants to play his bigs over 6-foot 6 about 42 minutes per game, essentially only one those bigs on the floor at one time.  If that changes tonight it is to the Gophers advantage.

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