SDSU men are a hot upset pick



It’s March and that means that everyone is an expert.

A faction of the American population will fill out their NCAA brackets before Thursday’s first tip and beginning of play for the field of 64.

That is not new.

What is new is the local Jackrabbits men’s basketball team is now part of the fun. Although not a favorite to make the Final Four in New Orleans, it is a rooting interest for students in Brookings.

The excitement has not been contained to the state borders, either. Immediately after SDSU’s South Region was announced on Sunday, CBS Sports analyst Seth Davis picked the Jackrabbits to pull the upset over the third-seeded Baylor Bears.

“Oh my goodness,” head coach Scott Nagy said. “That’s great for national TV, but Baylor’s sitting there, listening to that. That doesn’t help us at all.”

Jordan Dykstra, a sophomore forward for the Jackrabbits, said Davis’ prediction adds a little pressure for the Jacks to come out on top but he’s confident in his team’s ability.

“That’s pretty confident of him to say that,” he said. “We have a little bit of a bulls-eye now with Baylor trying to beat us, but it’s a testament of what Nagy and the coaching staff has done here to build the reputation of our program that Seth Davis would pick us to win.”

But Davis’ pick is in the minority and many other television personalities predict the Bears will be a legitimate threat to reach the Final Four. That doesn’t mean that Baylor coach Scott Drew wasn’t somewhat offended to be so quickly dismissed by the selection show analyst.

“They barely had a chance to say our name before we’re getting beat,” Drew said.

Of course, the predictions aren’t limited just to the Internet.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Jacks were getting just under four percent of the picks from the national bracket challenge featured on SDSU didn’t pick up any more traction amongst prognosticators on either, with 3.2 percent predicting the yellow and blue to prevail. For what it’s worth,’s “Game Predictor” gives the Jackrabbits a 22-percent chance of winning.

There’s another system that has already been right twice with the Jackrabbits this season. Ken Pomeroy, a well-respected basketball guru who runs the website correctly predicted at the beginning of the year that the Jacks would finish their home schedule undefeated, which they did. He correctly predicted the Jackrabbits would have the best chance of winning the Summit League championship, which they did. His Log5 formula, which was created by the legendary statistician Bill James, predicts the result of a game based on the rate at which one team wins and how often their opponent wins games. SDSU’s chances to advance to the third round are 26.5 percent, but if the Jackrabbits beat the Bears, the Jacks’ chances to reach the Sweet Sixteen move to almost 50 percent.

The students at SDSU are more optimistic about the men’s chances in the NCAA Tournament.

Joshua Johnson, a senior agricultural education major from Harrisburg predicts the Jackrabbits will make it past the Bears.

“It’s great publicity and it gives us an atmosphere of being a big-time school,” he said. “We don’t often get that national spotlight and a great chance to show the nation that we have a lot of school pride. We’ll be rooting for them all the way.”

To top that, Johnson had the women going further.

“I think they can to go the Sweet Sixteen. You have to be hopeful and I think they have a good chance,” he said.

Sophomore Grey Jensen of Watertown said the men could win their first two games. The political science major said it’s cool to have both teams make the tournament.

“If they win, I would be ecstatic,” he said.

He won’t be the only one.