Three straight road games against NCAA Tournament teams from 2012 and a three-game event in Hempstead, N.Y., at the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Wounded Warrior Project highlight a tough 2012-13 schedule for the South Dakota State men's basketball team.
"This is one of the toughest in my 18 years at South Dakota State, and was, without a doubt, the most difficult to put together, because people know we have a very veteran team coming back and they didn't want to play us," head coach Scott Nagy said. " In the end though, we added teams like Belmont and Montana because they were in the same boat. (Assistant) coach Rob Klinkefus worked tirelessly to get this done, and I'm grateful to him for all of his hard work."
In total, the Jackrabbits play a total of 11 teams that qualified for the postseason in 2011-12, including four NCAA Tournament teams, starting with a game at Alabama on Nov. 9, that can be seen live on ESPNU.
The three straight games against NCAA Tournament teams starts at Montana on Dec. 15, followed by games at Belmont on Dec. 19 and at New Mexico on Dec. 22, when the Jacks return to "The Pit" the same Arena where they played Baylor last season in the NCAA Tournament.
SDSU also plays at Minnesota for the eighth consecutive season, when they clash with the NIT runner-up Golden Gophers on Dec. 4, in Minneapolis.
Four of the opponents on the 2012-13 schedule advanced to the CIT last season, a list that includes Tennessee State, who the Jacks host in their home opener on Nov. 13. SDSU also hosts CIT qualifier North Dakota on Nov. 28 and Cal State Bakersfield on Dec. 9. The Jacks then make a return trip to CSU Bakersfield on Feb. 20. Conference foe Oakland not only qualified for the CIT, but also advanced to the semifinals of the event.
North Dakota State and Western Illinois both played in the postseason in the CBI, but fell in the first round.
"Right in the middle of our season we play nine out of 12 games on the road, including six in a row, and three in a row against NCAA tournament teams," Nagy added. "We feel like this team can handle that. It should be challenging, but it should also get us ready for conference play.
The Summit League looks a little different now with the addition of former North Central Conference foe Omaha (Nebraska-Omaha) and the loss of Oral Roberts and Southern Utah, but still requires the Jacks to stay focused in league play.
"We think the conference schedule sets up well for us," Nagy said. " Five of our first eight games are on the road, but five of our last eight are at home, so it's imperative that we play well on the road early in the conference season."
The schedule also includes a BracketBuster game on the road on Feb. 23 against an undetermined opponent.
Courtesy: Ryan Sweeter, SDSU Sports