Live from Frost: Jacks to host Buffalo Feb. 18

Hannah Baker

There’s a first for everything, and for the men’s basketball team two firsts will take place on Feb. 18.

The eyes of the entire nation have the opportunity to watch the Jacks in action on ESPNU. Beginning at noon, ESPNU will televise live from Frost Arena while the Jacks host the University of Buffalo Bulls in the SEARS BracketBusters game, both  for the first time in history.

Upon hearing the news that the Jacks were chosen to host the game, SDSU Director of Athletics Justin Sell said in a written statement that this was a great opportunity to present SDSU, and the state of South Dakota, to the nation.

“It gives us a chance to showcase this group of guys and a competitive basketball team that scores 80 points a game and is fun to watch,” he said. “Hopefully we can use this game as a building block to carry us into The Summit League Tournament and beyond.”

Buffalo currently ranks third in the MAC East Division with a 12-6 overall record and a 5-2 record in conference play. The Jacks rank second in The Summit League standings with a 17-6 overall record and a 9-2 mark in league play.

“It’s really exciting and we worked hard for it. I think it will be fun [for] ourselves and our fans and get our name out there a little bit,” senior Griffan Callahan said.

Sell said staying at home for the televised game is a great way for SDSU fans and the rest of the nation to take notice of the Jackrabbits.

“I think our style of play, the quality of our players and our unique Jackrabbit mascot should help us pick up fans from across the country that would like to see us do well and advance to the NCAA Tournament,” he said.

It will be the first time that the Jackrabbits will be on national television since 2005, when SDSU opened the season with games in Lexington, Ky., against Kentucky and Northern Colorado as part of the Guardians Classic on ESPNU.

Men’s basketball head coach Scott Nagy said having this game at home is important, as it gives the Jacks a home-court advantage and also the ability to showcase the SDSU basketball program.

“We’ve been at home so much this season and we’re going to have six of our last eight games at home and that’s the biggest part of the BracketBusters game,” he said. “It’s important that we get an ESPN game in here and it will be good for South Dakota State and good for our program.”

The players themselves are also gearing up for the game and are looking forward to how it could impact the basketball program.

“I think it will mean a great deal for our program and that recruits will be able to see us on TV, and all of our fans that will be able to see us on TV, is big for us,” said sophomore Brayden Carlson.

The noon start time and televised game has forced SDSU Athletics to change the start time for the Jackrabbit women’s game against North Dakota State on Feb. 18; the game will begin at 3 p.m. rather than 5 p.m.

Marcus Traxler, Collegian sports editor, contributed to this report.