Jackrabbits get some on-air loveSIOUX FALLS — The South Dakota State University Jackrabbits began getting some on-air love Thursday evening a good 20 minutes before tipoff of their NCAA tournament debut against Baylor.
SIOUX FALLS — The South Dakota State University Jackrabbits began getting some on-air love Thursday evening a good 20 minutes before tipoff of their NCAA tournament debut against Baylor.
TruTV studio analyst Seth Davis stuck by his Selection Sunday upset pick before game time, waving a bright gold circular Jackrabbits logo while pleading with the team not to make him regret his pick.
“Guys, do me a favor. Just make it a game, all right? Just make it a game,” Davis urged. “Don't lose by 40 here.”
The shout-out is just a taste of the newfound publicity shining down on South Dakota State with its first-ever trip to the big dance. The Jackrabbits earned the automatic berth to the NCAA tournament March 6 by capturing the Summit League championship with a win over Western Illinois.
The broadcast gave a peek in-to the Jackrabbits locker room for a pregame inspirational speech from longtime coach Scott Nagy, who urged his players to fight for every possession.
“You've been prepared, right? And you know you're loved,” Nagy said. “Play like you're loved tonight, loose as you can play. You are loved.”
Earlier Thursday, it was Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers hyping SDSU on his Twitter account.
The NFL star tweeted to his more than 560,000 followers that he picked South Dakota State as one of his first-round upset picks. His other was Long Beach State.
South Dakota State's mascot has also been getting online publicity, honored in two separate Fox Sports website rankings.
One created a mascot Final Four and then gave Jack the championship crown over the Syracuse Orange, the St. Mary's Gael Force One and the Florida Gator. In a separate Fox Sports online ranking, the Jackrabbit came in seventh out of the 68 mascots for the tournament.
“Creativity. Spunk. Backwards ‘90s-style hat,” the website said. “South Dakota State's furry faithful has it all.”