Jackrabbits needed another trademark win

Marcus Traxler

Marcus TraxlerAssistant Sports Editor

There were specks of blue amongst the crowd of 13,302 mostly maroon and gold fans on hand at Williams Arena on Dec. 23, and for good reason.

SDSU likely brought it’s best team since moving to Division I to Minneapolis for a meeting with No. 16 Minnesota.

The only problem is that the Gophers have assembled their best team in recent years, enough to prevail double-digit winners, 85-73.

Clint Sargent and Nate Wolters shot the ball well from deep and the Jacks won the rebounding battle for the game against the much larger frontline of Minnesota. The game was tied with 6:30 left before errors on both ends of the court allowed the Gophers to pull away late in the game.

The hardest part to grasp is how well the Jackrabbits played against this caliber of team. SImply put, the Jacks did some things better than they have all season, namely rebounding and free throw shooting.

Don’t get me wrong, SDSU won’t be settling for a moral victory for their performance against the 10-1 Gophers, which now marks six straight seasons whereMinnesota have beaten the Jacks at the Barn.

There is however, a sense that SDSU is on the verge of defeating the border foe in the near future and beating a Top 25 caliber school. A win against a team that is a name in college basketball could do wonders for a school that could use any national notoriety.

Minnesota was the toughest test of the non-conference schedule and might be the best team the Jackrabbits will play all season. Unless a Summit League team somehow finds its way into the national Top 25, it was likely the only ranked opponent SDSU would play for the year.

SDSU played a favorable schedule during non-conference play that was filled with home games, exactly what would help a young team adjust to the ebb and flow of a college basketball season. In fact, I loved what the team did to schedule the quality of teams that came to Frost Arena earlier this year.

However, you can schedule all the quality opponents you want. Eventually you have to beat them. The game against Minnesota had that feel to it.

The Jacks are past the point of just going and playing someone to collect a check, regardless if it was good matchup or not. It is time to be able to go and defeat a strong squad on the road. A win at Iowa and a strong showing at Minnesota should be the start of SDSU being able to go on the road and playing well against a power conference team.