SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — College basketball is getting underway across the country and the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls is hosting some major programs this week. From Wisconsin and St. Mary’s to Oklahoma and Minnesota, the facility tries to roll out the red carpet for the players.
The 20th-ranked St. Mary’s basketball team is in Sioux Falls for a matchup with Wisconsin this Tuesday night.
“This is going to be a good matchup and we’re really excited about it,” Matt Ditmanson said.
Ditmanson, with the Sanford Sports Complex, says tickets are still available for what he hopes will be a sellout. Pentagon staff are decking out the facility with special signage and gear. On top of this game, Minnesota takes on Oklahoma here this Saturday. Ditmanson says it’s all part of a promise to the community to bring major programs to the venue.
“We’re already looking at programming for next year. We keep that machine churning and keep things coming,” Ditmanson said.
Scott Hettenbach served as the Badgers Strength and Conditioning Coach for twenty years. He’s now the Director of the POWER Sports Performance Program but he remembers taking on St. John’s here.
“It’s just a great venue to walk into and you feel the history of basketball here and you have an appreciation for that,” Hettenbach said.
Wisconsin was actually here six years ago. They were a part of the first ever college basketball game at the Sanford Pentagon. It ended up being a pretty good season for the Badgers. That year they went to the Final Four.
“We beat St. John’s that year and went to the Final Four. So we’re hoping that maybe is the same trend this year,” Hettenbach said.
And Ditmanson also wants the trend of top teams coming to Sioux Falls to keep bouncing forward.
“It really makes Sioux Falls a regional epicenter for top-ranked games like that,” Ditmanson said.