BLACKSBURG, Va. (KELO) — The SDSU Jackrabbits are getting set for the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Jacks will face the USC Trojans at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va.
The Jackrabbits are riding a 21-game winning streak into the Big Dance. In fact their last loss came to the tournament’s top overall seed South Carolina back in December. And they will use games like that one to prepare them.
SDSU is set to play their eighth power five opponent on Friday, when the Jackrabbits meet USC.
“We can say ‘ok what worked for us against that level of defense,'” SDSU head coach Aaron Johnston said. “And we’ll try to be really focused on those things in the game, but then I think the other thing is we have to defend really well too.”
The Jacks are facing a Trojan team that gives up fewer than 55 points a game. USC also blocks nearly six shots a game, fourth most in the country.
“They have the ability to block a lot of shots, challenge us at the rim,” Johnston said. “If their style is winning out, it’s going to be hard for us. And then on the flip side, if we can get them moving a little bit more, get them chasing us on the perimeter, that’s going to play into our hands.”
“They’re really good defensively, so that can happen a lot where you get going fast or you think you might have an open shot, but really just sticking together, not making it a one-on-one battle and just playing team basketball is important for us,” SDSU senior forward Paiton Burckhard said.
SDSU’s offense ranks 11th in the country at a hair under 80 points per contest. The Jacks feature four players who are average double figures and that balance will key come Friday.
“We kind of pride ourselves on just how unselfish we are and how deep we are,” SDSU senior forward Myah Selland said. “We have so many different people that can come in and make plays for us.”
See more on the Jacks’ showdown with the Trojans and their return to the NCAA Tournament.
SDSU and USC are scheduled to face off Friday at approximately 7 p.m. central. We’ll have coverage both on-air and online throughout the day.