South Dakota (0-0) vs. Southern University (0-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 14, 6:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Arena Auditorium (15,000) -- Laramie, Wyoming. Television: None. Home Record: South Dakota 0-0, Southern 0-0. Away Record: South Dakota 0-0, Southern 0-2. Neutral Record: South Dakota 0-0, Southern 0-0. Conference Record: South Dakota 0-0, Southern 0-0. Series Record: First- ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The South Dakota Coyotes finally get their 2012-13 schedule off the ground as they take on the Southern Jaguars at Arena Auditorium in Laramie, Wyoming as part of the Global Sports Showcase.
A member of the Summit League, South Dakota finished last season with a record of only 10-18 overall and was 5-13 in league play. The team had quite a bit of trouble away from home, winning only three times in 14 opportunities, although there were no neutral-site outings which is the case this evening.
As for the Jaguars, they already have a pair of games in the books and unfortunately both of those outings resulted in setbacks. Southern matched up against Iowa State on the road on Friday and was dropped in an 82-59 final, and two days later the squad actually made things interesting against Nebraska in Lincoln, but still fell in a 66-55 decision.
These two teams, meeting for the very first time, will swap partners with Wyoming and NC Central over the next two days, with each team facing off with the other three schools involved in the event.
South Dakota head coach Dave Boots, now in his 25th season with the program, has a long road ahead of him with four starters missing from last year's group, and a total of seven letterwinners in all. The Coyotes are in rebuilding mode for sure, even though few will probably admit that, with just one returning player who scored in double figures last season. Trevor Gruis is still a great player to have, after putting up 11.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest in 2011-12, but the junior will need some of the new faces to step in and play big immediately. There are a number of freshmen who were scoring machines in high school, such as Casey Kasperbauer and Eric Robertson, but it remains to be seen if those guys can elevate their efforts to the college level.
Against the Cornhuskers, Southern fell behind immediately and trailed 9-0 just over four minutes into the meeting, which means from there the teams were pretty much equal in their output. Although he shot just 6-of-15 from the floor, Derick Beltran was the most productive player at the offensive end for the squad with 17 points, in fact he was the only starter to score double digits in the outing. Reserve Yondarius Johnson accounted for 13 points in 20 minutes of action as the squad hit on just 39.6 percent from the floor and 10- of-17 at the free-throw line. Against Iowa State, Beltran erupted for 26 points which means he is averaging 21.5 ppg through the first two, the only one in double figures unfortunately. Aside from the team shooting only 12- of-42 (.286) beyond the arc, the other major concern has to be their efforts on the glass where they've been out-worked by an average of 17 boards per contest.
It will be interesting to see how the Coyotes handle having so many new players to incorporate into the program, and while there will certainly be many bumps along the way, the team will win some games here and there, but just not tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern University 68, South Dakota 59
11/14 11:16:28 ET