Will talent translate to a tournament appearance?


Mangan And Anderson

With the win over Oakland on Jan. 31, the Jackrabbit men moved into a tie for fifth place in the Summit League standings. Chris Mangan and Zach Anderson debate if the Jacks will make the Summit League tournament and if they have a chance at winning a few games in the tourney, if not making a deep run.

Zach Anderson: I think the SDSU men have enough talent to win enough games to make the Summit League Tournament and at least win one game in the tournament. With an overtime loss to Summit League leader NDSU, the Jacks proved they can compete against the top of the conference. Also, the Jacks beat Iowa State earlier this year, a team that only lost to top-ten ranked Oklahoma on Jan. 31. Also on Jan. 31, the Jacks beat Oakland in overtime in Frost Arena. The Jacks have what it takes as long as they can win a few more games to close out the season.

Chris Mangan: There is no question the team has the talent to get there and win a game, but they need to prove they can win away from Frost Arena. Right now, the Jacks haven’t proved they can win a Summit League game away from Brookings. Sure, the Jackrabbits were able to beat Iowa State, but Iowa State is not a good team at all. I’m not trying to take anything away from that win because it was their first win against a BCS school, but it doesn’t mean anything in conference play. The wins you mentioned against Summit League schools came at Frost, where they should win. The Jacks aren’t a good road team; they got blown out at IPFW 100-66. Five of their final seven Summit League games are on their road; the Jacks haven’t won a road game against a conference foe in two years.

ZA: The Jacks can pull out a win against either IUPUI, who they beat by 20 at Frost Arena, on Feb. 5 or Western Illinois, who the Jacks beat by nine back on Jan. 8, on Feb. 7. They should win the next two home games against Southern Utah and UMKC, which would put the Jacks in good shape when they head to Fargo to take on NDSU. SDSU draws a trip to Centenary for the final regular season game so if the Jacks are fighting to make the tournament, they should get a little help with an easier match-up against the Gents.

CM: The games on the road are winnable, there is no doubt about it, but they haven’t proven they can win away from Frost. The Jacks have had easy games on the road against Southern Utah and UMKC but lost both games. Right now, they are sitting at 5-6 in the conference, good for a tie for fifth. They are a game out of third but at the same time, two games away from being in ninth and missing the conference tournament all together. I don’t like the chance of the Jacks making a deep run in the tournament if they go in as the eighth seed because they will likely have to take on NDSU or Oral Roberts. In order for them to make a deep run, I feel they need to be in the top six.

ZA: The Jacks lost by two points to UMKC and by five in overtime to Southern Utah; they just need to find a way to put teams away and win the close games. Those games should be easier since they will be played at Frost, where the Jacks are currently 8-3. I agree that beating NDSU in the first game of the Summit League Tournament doesn’t spell success because the Bison are looked at as one of the favorites to win the Summit League Tournament and make it to the NCAA Tournament. If the Jacks can find a way to win a few of the road games coming up, then they might be able to get a higher seed and get at least one win in the Summit League Tournament, which will be played at the Arena in Sioux Falls.