Jacks slated to face Texas in NIT opening round

Trenton Abrego, Sports Reporter

For the first time in history, the South Dakota State Jackrabbits and the Texas Longhorns will meet on the hardwood court.

It’ll be the second time in school history that the Jackrabbits will be in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT).The first time came in 2015.

In the NIT, the Jackrabbits own a 1-1 record with the win coming against Colorado State and the loss coming against Vanderbilt. It’ll be the first time since 1986 that the Longhorns (16-16, 8-10) will make an NIT appearance.

The Longhorns were hopeful that they would hear their names called on Selection Sunday. That wasn’t the case. ESPN’s Bracketology had Texas just outside of the field of 68 teams and placed the Longhorns on the “First Four Out.”

Texas was eliminated from the Big 12 Tournament after a 65-57 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks in the quarterfinals.

Shaka Smart, the ex-Virginia Commonwealth University coach who took the then relatively unknown Rams to national prominence in the 2011 Final Four run, is in his third year as the Longhorns’ head coach.

Texas has four scorers that average at least 10 points per game.

Kerwin Roach II leads the scoring charge for the Longhorns and averages 14.7 points per game.

Dylan Osetkowski, Jaxson Hayes and Matt Coleman III are the other three scorers who average more than 10 points per game.

Osetkowski, the 6-foot-9-inch fifth-year senior forward, leads the Longhorns on the rebounding charge with 7.4 rebounds per game.

As a team, the Longhorns shot 34 percent from the 3-point arc and are led by Jase Febres, who has made 76 shots from beyond the arc.

The game is slated to start at 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 19, in Austin, Texas. The game will be televised on ESPN.