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NCAA Basketball March Madness

5 Reasons Why South Dakota State Jackrabbits Will Make it to the Sweet 16

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South Dakota State Will Make a Sweet 16 Run

Bruce Hemmelgarn-USA Today Sports

South Dakota State has the talent to make a Cinderella run to the Sweet 16. Not many people think much about the Jackrabbits, but this is a team who can play high level basketball.

They have one kid on their team, that if you don’t know him by now, you will by the end of the South Dakota State-Michigan game. His name is, Nate Wolters. Wolters averages 22.7 points per game to go along with 5.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists.

What else can you ask from your star player? Wolters carried his team to a Summit League championship in order to get his second shot at pulling off an upset in the NCAA tournament after falling just short last year. It is his senior campaign and Wolters is going to want to go out with a bang and you bet he will.

This is a Jackrabbit team who went on the road earlier in the year and beat an extremely talented New Mexico team. In fact, New Mexico is a 3 seed in this years tournament and the Jackrabbits are facing Michigan who is a 4 seed. The fact that they have beat a team that is a higher seed then the team they are playing has to give SDSU a little bit more confidence.

South Dakota State’s top four players are three seniors and a junior. Therefore, they played in the NCAA tournament last year and have earned a great amount of valuable experience that will be beneficial for them this time around. South Dakota State has a shot to make a run to the Sweet 16 for a couple of reasons.

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5: Playing as an Underdog

Bruce Hemmelgarn-USA Today Sports

In college basketball I feel you see so many upsets because the underdog doesn’t have anything to play for. They aren’t suppose to win the game and all the pressure is on the higher seed. It allows for the lower seed to just play their game and see what happens in the end. I feel like that is a big factor for lower-seeded teams when it comes to tournament play and it is definitely a positive of being a lower seed.

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4: Free Throw Shooting

Joe Nicholson-USA Today Sports

Free throw shooting is one of the most under-rated aspects in college basketball. It can win or lose games depending how many shots you make and miss. South Dakota State shoots 76 percent from the line and so when they get there, you can count on them to capitalize. It is also important in closing out close games and as an underdog, you expect their victories to be close wins.

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3: Outside Shooting

Rick Osentoski-USA Today Sports

When a team is looking to pull off an upset, they need to be able to shoot from behind the arc. South Dakota can do just that as they shoot 40 percent from the perimeter. When a team that can shoot gets hot, watch out because the three-point shot is a dagger. Chad White and Jordan Dykstra both shoot over 40 percent from behind the arc.

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2: Experience

Nelson Chenault-USA Today Sports

In postseason play, one of the most important things to have on your team is experience. South Dakota State made it to the NCAA tournament last year and their four top players this year are all upperclassman who played valuable minutes in last year's NCAA tournament.

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1: Nate Wolters

Bruce Hemmelgarn-USA Today Sports

I’ll say it over and over again, this kid is unbelievable. He can carry the team on his back and has all season. He can score at a high rate and averages 22.7 points per game, but he also rebounds and dishes out to the open man when the other team keys on him. He racks up six assists a game and that shows how much trust he has in his teammates who have been a supporting cast for him all year.