Know Your Enemy: Previewing SDSU’s Title Clash With South Dakota

Kerri Young dishes to a teammate against Omaha. Sharing the ball was been a key piece to SDSU’s first two Summit League Tournament wins. 

SIOUX FALLS — For the third time in the last four years, South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota will do battle for the right to call themselves Summit League Tournament Champions and move on to the NCAA Tournament. 

SDSU’s 76-60 win over the University of Nebraska-Omaha following USD’s 78-61 win over Oral Roberts University clinched a rematch from last year’s title game and set up a third meeting between the two teams. 

The Coyotes came away with wins in both regular season meetings, taking the first contest by a final score of 63-58 in Brookings and following it up with an 80-75 win in Vermillion. Both games were close throughout and with just 10 points separating the two teams through two games, the third meeting will likely come down to making a play late in the game. 

USD is currently riding a 16-game winning streak, last losing at Oral Roberts on January 6, the same Golden Eagles team the Coyotes made quick work of on Monday. 

The two teams have mirrored each other through their first two games of the Summit League Tournament. SDSU won its first game by 20 points while USD won its first game by 19. The Jacks won their second game by 16 while the Coyotes won their second game by 17, so they’re dead even in point differential. 

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: the difference of the game is going to be who scores more point and/or who keeps the other team from scoring. Here’s a breakdown of how the two teams compare in those area: 

* SDSU ranks first in the conference in points allowed per game, giving up just 59.4 points per game. On offense, they rank third in scoring, putting in 70.2 points per game. 

* USD ranks first in scoring offense, putting up 79.5 points per contest. On defense, they are fifth in points allowed, giving up 64.6 points per game. 

Looking at those numbers, SDSU is the superior defensive team, giving up just under five points less per game than USD. Likewise for the Coyotes on offense as they average just over nine points per game more than the Jackrabbits. That gives USD a slight four point advantage in terms of averages. 

Not a very wide margin of error for either team.

Something odd to keep an eye out for involves USD’s best player, senior guard Nicole Seekamp. 

Seekamp, the Summit League Player of the Year, is going for her third tournament Most Valuable Player award, as well. However, it has been seven years since the tournament champion featured the league POY on its roster. 

This dates all the way back to the 2008-09 tournament when SDSU’s Jennifer Warkenthien took home POY honors and the Jacks won their first tournament championship. 

Also worth noting, it’s entirely possible Seekamp takes home tournament MVP honors again this year (31 points and 10 assists through the first two games). When she has won her previous two tournament MVP awards, USD was the runner-up to SDSU in the tournament. 

Something else to watch for is that the Jacks are sharing the ball at an incredible rate in the tournament. With the 24 assists on Monday, SDSU has totaled 40 assists on 58 made field goals through the first two games. Over two-thirds of their shots have come from passes leading to the made shot. 

The action tips off at 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon from the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls. The game can be seen on ESPNU