South Dakota State at North Dakota State, 8:00 PM Eastern, MidcoSN/espn3
For the past six seasons only two teams from the Summit League have represented the conference in the NCAA Tournament. In 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2017 that team was the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State. In 2014 and 2015 it was it was Bison of North Dakota State. These two teams have dominated the league in recent years and tonight they will be meeting in the first of two regular season matchups — and even more importantly, in the game we have designated the Under the Radar Game of the Day.
South Dakota State enters tonight’s game at 12-5 overall and ranked in the top 100 by KenPom. Their wins include a victory over Iowa in the Cayman Islands Classic. Mike Daum has been a dominant force for the ‘rabbits so far this year, including an amazing stat line two weeks ago in a win over Drake: 35 points and 14 rebounds. He is a legitimate 30 point/10 rebound threat every single night, and when he gets some helps from teammates like David Jenkins and Reed Tellinghuisen, can make this a very tough and very dangerous team. Although the Jackrabbits are not an at-large bid candidate, if they make it to the Big Dance, they are going to be a very scary matchup in the first round.
One team that will be trying to keep the Jackrabbits out of the NCAA Tournament, and take that spot themselves, is the North Dakota State Bison. The Bison enter tonight’s contest at only 8-6 with a KenPom rating of 142, though they have won 5 of their last 6 games with the sole loss coming at Arizona. The Bison feature a more balanced scoring attack, as four players were in double figures in a win on December 21 over UNC-Wilmington. The Bison will need a strong team effort tonight if they want to hold serve on their home court and send notice that they intend to be a factor in this year’s conference race.