Jackrabbits locking up top two-seed

The South Dakota State men’s basketball team went 1-1 last week after falling to the Fort Wayne Mastodons 91-79 Thursday, Feb. 18 and defeating the Western Illinois Leathernecks 87-67 Saturday, Feb. 20.

With the loss to Fort Wayne, they fell to second in the Summit League behind the Mastodons. The Jacks will have two home games this week as they take on North Dakota State Thursday and Oral Roberts University Saturday.

The Jacks looked to be locked into the two-seed for the conference tournament as they would need Fort Wayne to lose both of their games this week and win both of their games to win the regular season championship.

 NDSU comes into the matchup with SDSU with a record of 8-6 in the Summit League, putting them fourth in the standings. The Bison could move up to third if they beat SDSU and Denver this week but could also fall to the sixth seed if everything goes wrong this weekend. 

 The Jacks fell to the Bison in their previous meeting in Fargo 68-57, a game where they shot 35 percent from the field and 20 percent from three. SDSU will probably be looking to show the Bison who they really are in the return meeting as the 57 points they scored in the first meeting was their lowest point total in conference play to this point. 

 As for Oral Roberts, they enter the week with a 6-8 Summit League record and are scheduled to play the University of Nebraska Omaha Thursday.  Currently sixth in the conference standings, the Golden Eagles could move up to fourth or move down to eighth depending on what they do this week.

 The Jacks defeated the Golden Eagles in their last meeting 86-74, a game in which SDSU controlled from the opening tip. Senior wing Jake Bittle made his return to the lineup in the first meeting and SDSU is 6-2 since that meeting while Oral Roberts is just 3-4 but have won each of their last three games. 

 If the Jacks win just one of their final two, they lock up a top two seed. This is big because the top two teams play Saturday night, the first night, of the Summit League Tournament and would then get Sunday off if they were to win their first game.

 Thursday’s game is at 7 p.m. against NDSU and Saturday’s game is at 4:30 pm against Oral Robers. Both are in Frost Arena. The Jacks are looking to extend their home winning streak of 27 games, which is tied for the third longest in the country. The Jacks are also looking to go undefeated at home for the second straight year and the fourth time in the last five seasons.