2012 NCAA TOURNAMENT • Jackrabbits’ dance cut short in losses to Baylor, Purdue


 Close can’t cut it.

On two occasions, the Jackrabbits played with the nation’s top basketball teams before ultimately succumbing to their more talented foe at the NCAA Tournament.

The men’s team took to The Pit in Albuquerque, and both the SDSU faithful who headed to New Mexico and the casual onlookers got behind the tournament first-timers. The Jacks jumped to an early lead on third-seeded Baylor, making folks around the nation turn their heads to see if a team from South Dakota could really play so well in the Big Dance. The feeling wouldn’t last, and the Jackrabbits’ late rally fell short, with SDSU dropping a 68-60 decision to the Bears.

The Jackrabbits’ women — the tournament veterans — headed to Purdue two days later to meet the Boilermakers. The Big Ten champions got out to a terrific start. SDSU was able to avoid the early disaster and rallied before halftime. In their fourth appearance in as many chances, the Jacks’ never withered, instead falling victim to a terrific shooting performance from Purdue’s Courtney Moses in a 83-68 SDSU loss.

Both squads will feel the sting of an oh-too-close loss when it counted, but gauging the amount of support and energy in Brookings and around the state, many are looking to relive the experience 12 months from now.