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South Dakota Gets Ready for Iowa in NIT Opener

Dave Eggen/Inertia
Dave Eggen/Inertia

If the South Dakota men’s basketball team is going to make a deep run in the 2017 National Invitation Tournament, they’re going to have to do it away from home.

By virtue of their eighth-seed in the Iowa quadrant, USD be on the road for the length of their NIT stay, where higher seeded teams host all of the games until the semifinals, which are played at Madison Square Garden.

Road test number one for the Coyotes (22-11) comes against top-seeded Iowa in the opening round of the 2017 NIT, Wednesday (March 15), in Iowa City at 8:00 PM. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Coach Craig Smith’s Coyote team grabbed an automatic NIT bid after winning the school’s first ever Summit League regular season championship, wining seven straight, before falling short in the conference tournament with a semifinal loss to South Dakota State. The Coyotes are one of ten regular season champs in this field.

USD led the Summit League in free throws attempted and opponents field goal percentage during the regular season. Sophomore Matt Mooney was third in the conference in scoring.

Elsa
Elsa

The Hawkeyes (18-14) finished 5th in the Big Ten Conference and lost to Indiana in the conference tournament. Iowa was eighth in the nation in assists this season (17 per game), but one of the worst defensive teams in the country, allowing 78 points per game, and near the bottom in turnovers (14 per game).

Senior guard Peter Jok led the Big Ten in scoring (20 points per game) and free throw shooting. Cordell Pemsl was tops in field goal percentage, Brady Ellingson led the conference in three-point percentage.

Iowa was 0-1 against the Summit League this season, falling 98-89 to Omaha, December 3.

The Hawkeyes will be making their eighth NIT appearance. They’ve advanced as far as the Elite Eight in 2003. Iowa played in the NCAA Tournament each of the last three seasons.

I talked with USD head coach Craig Smith about the match-up with Iowa:

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