South Region: South Dakota State vs. Baylor NCAA Tournament Free Pick
South Dakota State Jackrabbits vs. Baylor Bears College Basketball Betting Odds from BetOnline
Thursday March 15 7:27 p.m. EST on truTV
NCAA Basketball Spread: Baylor -7.5
The first bracket unveiled on Selection Sunday was the South Region. CBS Analyst Seth Davis quickly said the first major upset he saw was the South Dakota State Jackrabbits beating the Baylor Bears in the first round. His words have quite a few people looking at this game as a possible stunner. Can a #14 seed knock off the #3 seed here?
South Dakota State clearly has the coolest nickname in the NCAA Tournament. There certainly isn’t another team out there called the Jackrabbits. Not only does this team have a neat nickname, but they can play as well. South Dakota State made a major mark back in December when they traveled to Washington and beat the Huskies 92-73. Nate Wolters is one of the best players in the nation that you likely have never heard anything about. Wolters is a 6’4 guard who averages 21.3 points per game. He also leads the team in assists with six per game and rebounds with 5.2 per contest. Jordan Dykstra, Griffan Callahan, Chad White, and Brayden Carlson all shoot 41% or better from three-point range. South Dakota State averages an impressive 77.3 points per game.
The problem for South Dakota State is they really don’t have much strength at all on the interior. Wolters is a great player, but it isn’t a good sign when a 6’4 guard leads the team in rebounding. Defensively, opponents often get to the rim often because the Jackrabbits don’t have a shot blocker. South Dakota State allows opponents to shoot 45% from the field.
The Baylor Bears are tough to match when it comes to athleticism. A frontcourt of Perry Jones III, Quincy Acy, and Quincy Miller is about as good as you will find in the nation. In addition, the Bears backcourt has been better than most expected. Jones III is the team’s most talented player, but it’s always hard to tell whether he will show up and play his best or not. He has been very inconsistent, but he could easily dominate this game with his skill set. Senior Quincy Acy is as scrappy of a power forward as you will find in the nation. He averages 11.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Freshman Quincy Miller likes to step outside, and he is a solid shooter.
Pierre Jackson and Brady Heslip start in the backcourt for Baylor. Both of them shoot 43.5% from three-point range. Jackson has 196 assists, but he also has 120 turnovers this year. Heslip shoots 93.3% from the free throw line. Baylor generally dominates the boards because of their size and length in the front court. Defensively, Baylor allows opponents to score 64.9 points per game.
South Dakota State is a dangerous team because of their ability to shoot it from deep, but I don’t think they can win outright here. Baylor has too much of an advantage down low. Look for a high scoring game that stays quite close.
Free College Basketball Pick: South Dakota State +7.5
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