Jacks draw Quinnipiac in NCAA Tournament first round


Landon Dierks, Sports Reporter

NCAA Tournament brackets have been revealed and South Dakota State is headed east.

The Jackrabbits earned a 6-seed in this year’s field and will play their first-round game in Syracuse, New York, against Quinnipiac University.

Located in Hamden, Connecticut, Quinnipiac (26-6) earned its spot in the field by winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and heads into the NCAA Tournament on a 21-game win streak.

Coming off back-to-back years with a tournament win (including a run to the Sweet 16 as a 12-seed in 2017), the Bobcats will be upset-minded against a Jackrabbit squad that earned the highest seed in program history behind a 26-6 campaign of their own.

This matchup, as many have for SDSU this season, will likely be decided by which team defends better.

Quinnipiac was the best defensive team in the MAAC, allowing an average of just 50.5 points while scoring 65.3 points per contest this season. The Jacks were similarly effective on defense, giving up 62.5 points while scoring 80 per game.

It’s no secret who drives that high-scoring SDSU offense — it’s senior guard Macy Miller.

Her 24 point per game average in the Summit League tournament led the Jacks to their ninth conference tournament title in 11 years and came just days after being named the Most Valuable Player at the Summit League tournament.

Miller won’t be the only conference tournament MVP on the court.

For the Bobcats, senior forward Jen Fay leads the team in scoring (12.1) and rebounding (6.7) average and is fresh off winning the Most Valuable Player honors at the MAAC tournament.

As the leader of the Bobcats’ conference title run, Fay upped her averages to 16.3 points and 8.3 rebounds. Her tournament was capped by a 25-point performance in the title game where she made five 3-pointers.

The winner of the game will face off against the winner of the Fordham and Syracuse.

ESPN2 will carry the Jackrabbits’ first round matchup with tip scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, March 23.