SDSU men looking for tourney upset over BaylorSouth Dakota State University students and alumni are hoping the Jackrabbits can pull off an upset in their first appearance in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in school history.
BROOKINGS (AP) — South Dakota State University students and alumni are hoping the Jackrabbits can pull off an upset in their first appearance in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in school history.
SDSU will be playing Baylor on Thursday in Albuquerque. N.M. Baylor is seeded third and SDSU 14th, but both teams have 27-7 records and the Jackrabbits have a couple of upsets already this season.
“We did it against Washington, we can do it against Baylor,” student Kyle Bis said, referring to a 92-73 SDSU win in Seattle in mid-December.
Players also are expressing confidence.
“It’s a great opportunity just to be in and playing Baylor,” said guard Griffan Callahan, SDSU’s lone senior. “We’re going in thinking we can win. They’re a college basketball team just like us. We’ve got to think about it like that.”
CBS analyst Seth Davis predicted a Jackrabbits upset during the tournament selection show, much to the chagrin of SDSU coach Scott Nagy.
“Oh my goodness,” Nagy said. “That’s great for national TV, but Baylor’s sitting there, listening to that. That doesn’t help us at all.”
The SDSU women also have made the national tournament, leading to exciting times on campus and in its extended community.
“I was talking to a classmate of mine — when we were going to school here, we never dreamed that this would happen, people are going to be picking SDSU over Baylor in their brackets,” 1998 SDSU graduate Perry Wiechmann said.
John Andrews, a 2002 graduate, told The Associated Press that some doubted whether SDSU could succeed when the school announced it was moving up from NCAA Division II and the old North Central Conference to the Division I level. SDSU is in its fourth year of eligibility since becoming a full Division I member, and earned an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament by winning the Summit League postseason tournament.
“When I was in high school, we’d go watch Jackrabbit games when they were in the midst of the NCC glory years, with all South Dakota kids,” Andrews said. “When the announcement came, I think a lot of people thought the success would suddenly end. Now, this year, we’ve proven that a South Dakota team with local kids can do it.”