South Dakota State (6-2) at (14) Minnesota (8-1)
Tuesday, December 4, 8 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Williams Arena (14,625) -- Minneapolis, Minnesota. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: SDSU 4-0, Minnesota 5-0. Away Record: SDSU 0-2, Minnesota 1-0. Neutral Record: SDSU 2-0, Minnesota 2-1. Conference Record: SDSU 1-0, Minnesota 0-0. Series Record: Minnesota leads, 15-0.
GAME NOTES: The South Dakota State Jackrabbits will try once again to pick up their first road victory of the season as they tangle with the 14th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers at Williams Arena on Tuesday night.
Since suffering early losses to Alabama (70-67) and Hofstra (66-63), South Dakota State has reeled off five straight victories, highlighted by a pair of wins in the 2K Sports Classic in Hempstead, New York over Marshall (78-77) and the University of the District of Columbia (96-48). The Jackrabbits closed out a perfect three-game home stand this past Saturday with a 78-63 victory over Omaha for their first Summit League win of the season.
Minnesota has risen to No. 14 in the AP Poll by winning eight of its first nine games, with its only loss coming to Duke in the Battle 4 Atlantis over Thanksgiving weekend (89-71). Since that defeat, the Gophers have beaten quality programs Memphis (84-75), Stanford (66-63) and Florida State (77-68), and their 87-59 win over North Florida on Saturday made it four wins in a row.
The Gophers have been victorious in each of the 15 meetings with the Jackrabbits. The teams have met in November or December in each of the past eight seasons.
The Jackrabbits held a commanding 28-point halftime lead against Omaha and never looked back, shooting 32-of-67 from the field (.478) while forcing 22 turnovers. Leading the balanced scoring attack was Jordan Dykstra, who shot 7- of-11 from the field in netting 17 points. Tony Fiegen tallied 16 points and nine rebounds, while Nate Wolters and Brayden Carlson scored 13 points apiece. Putting up points has not been a problem for SDSU this season, as it shoots better than 47 percent from the floor in averaging 76.5 ppg. Wolters has been one of the best guards in the country, as he not only scores 20.8 ppg on 49.1 percent field goal efficiency, but he grabs 5.9 rpg, dishes out 6.1 apg and comes up with 2.4 spg. Dykstra (12.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg) makes an impact in the frontcourt, and Fiegen (9.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Carlson (9.0 rpg) are also big factors in the Jackrabbits' game plan.
Minnesota has been one of the nation's more balanced teams, as it shoots 46.9 percent from the floor for nearly 76 ppg, while holding opponents to 35.9 percent field goal accuracy and 60.7 ppg. It was business as usual for the Gophers in the 28-point victory over North Florida, as they shot 45.2 percent from the floor while forcing the Ospreys into more turnovers (22) than they had field goals (20). Rodney Williams put together a solid all-around game with 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two blocks. The performance wasn't far off from his nightly average, as he scores 14.1 ppg on nearly 60 percent from the field while also registering 6.2 ppg, 2.3 apg and 1.6 bpg. Andre Hollins nets 12.8 ppg and dishes out a team-high 3.7 apg, while his brother Austin nets 11.6 ppg and logs more than two steals per contest. Joe Coleman rounds out the double-digit scorers with 10.1 ppg.
South Dakota State is rounding into shape and it will undoubtedly be one of the teams to beat in the Summit League this year, but a road game against a ranked foe will prove to be a difficult task for this small program. Minnesota has been solid in all aspects of the game and that should continue here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Minnesota 76, South Dakota State 68
12/04 10:54:00 ET