Summit League Preview: South Dakota State at Omaha
Nobody's hotter in the Summit League right now than South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits are sporting a league-high four game win streak, and have moved from the bottom half of the standings to a two-way tie for second place with a month the play in the regular season.
Week six finds SDSU on the road for games at Omaha and Western Illinois.
The latest Jackrabbit victories came at home, beginning with a 28-point rout of then first place Fort Wayne at Frost Arena.
Against the Mastodons, SDSU shot 56 percent in the first half, got a couple of early 3-pointers from Jake Bittle, outscored IPFW by ten in the paint, and only turned the ball over three times in the first 20 minutes, going up by 13 and never looking back.
Head coach Scott Nagy told me improved defense was the key to the turnaround against a Fort Wayne team that beat the Jacks by seven last month in Indiana:
Two days after the Fort Wayne win, the Jacks welcomed last place IUPUI to Frost Arena and got out quickly against the Jaguars, thanks to great balance and ball movement.
In all, 12 different players scored the game for the Jacks, who ended up wining by 24.
Coach Nagy was relieved his team did not overlook a program whose last Summit League win came in December of 2012:
This week's road trip starts Thursday in Omaha against a Maverick team that came to Brookings last month and beat SDSU 80-71.
In that game, UNO shot 57 percent, and did a lot of damage thanks to a series of ball screens that gave the Jackrabbit defense fits.
Coach Nagy says his team has to do a better job defending in this game:
Tipoff is 7:00pm Thursday in Omaha.