(3) Baylor vs. (14) South Dakota State Preview
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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(3) Baylor Bears
There are only a couple teams in the country who can claim to be anywhere near as athletic as the Bears. Scott Drew has done a fine job rebuilding the program and turning it into an attractive destination for top-flight recruits. Sophomore forward Perry Jones III is a match-up nightmare with the potential to dominate every time he steps out on the floor. He doesn’t do so regularly yet, but luckily he has a quality surrounding cast to help pick up the slack. The emergence of Pierre Jackson at the point has been vital for the Bears. They were in desperate need of a facilitator to get the ball into the hands of their talented scorers like Jones, Quincy Acy, Quincy Miller and the sharpshooting Brady Heslip. Baylor’s 1-4 record against the RPI Top 25 is concerning and should be noted when filling out your bracket. Tough defensive teams could give them some serious trouble as they are prone to turning the ball over.
(14) South Dakota State Jackrabbits
For the first time in school history the Jackrabbits are in the NCAA Tournament after winning the Summit League’s postseason tournament and nine of their last 10 games. The tourney will serve as the platform for junior guard Nate Wolters to get the national recognition that he didn’t get during the regular season despite his stellar play. Wolters is one of the highest scorers in the tournament, notching 21 points a contest while also leading his team in rebounding (5.2), assists (6) and steals (1.7). As a team, the Jackrabbits score 78 a night, which was the 13th best in the country, while giving up 67. They’re lethal from beyond the arc, making eight a game at a 39 percent clip. The Jackrabbits were 3-1 against the RPI Top 75 with their best win coming against Oral Roberts. They dropped five games to teams outside of the Top 100, including two games to teams outside the Top 200. While the Jackrabbits will need Wolters to play his best basketball ever, it’s important for him not to force the issue and let the game come to him.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: Baylor. The Bears’ athleticism is going to be too much for the Jackrabbits to handle.
Who do you think is going win? Chime in by leaving a comment below!