If The Jackrabbits Want To Repeat As Summit League Champs They Need To Win Saturday In Fargo
Something's gotta give in Fargo Saturday as the two best - and two hottest - teams in the Summit League go head-to-head.
First place North Dakota State has won four straight, but just a game behind them in the standings is a South Dakota State team that has a conference-best six game winning streak.
SDSU's last two wins came on the road last week, starting with a 17-point win at Omaha against a team that won by nine with the teams met last month in Brookings.
In the rematch, the Jacks kept up their recent torrid pace of rebounding and tough defense, limiting the Mavs to 30 percent shooting in the first half and outrebounding UNO by 21.
Jake Bittle keyed the SDSU attack early, with nine of his team's first 17 points. Head coach Scott Nagy says there's still one area of Bittle's game he needs to work on:
Two days later against Western Illinois, the Jacks struggled early with the physical play of the Leathernecks, but senior Jordan Dykstra stepped up with a big second half to help SDSU win by 12 in Macomb.
The South Dakota State defense was effective in shutting down freshman Garret Covington was scored 24 against them in the first meeting, but that left the door open for Mike Miklusak, who had ten first half points:
All eyes now are now on the match-up with the Bison in Fargo Saturday. SDSU and NDSU are the top two rebounding teams in the Summit League, while the Bison allow the lowest field goal percentage in the conference.
The Jackrabbit offense did shoot 50 percent in an eight point loss to NDSU at home last month, but were outshot by the Bison who hit for 56 percent that day.
NDSU was also plus ten on the boards in that game, a number the Jacks need to reverse to have a chance to move into a first place tie with two to play.
Despite just having one opponent on the schedule this week, coach Nagy says the preparation for Bison isn't much different:
Tipoff is 2:00pm Saturday in Fargo.