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NCAA Tournament Predictions: South Region 3. Baylor vs. 14. South Dakota State

By: Kels Dayton

 3 Baylor (27-7, 12-6 Big Twelve)- Baylor legitimized itself as one of the top teams in the Big Twelve by defeating Kansas in the semifinals of the conference tournament and advancing to the championship game. The Bears had been 0-4 against the top two teams in the conference, and needed the win to be considered a legitimate threat to get deep into the NCAAs.

Guard Pierre Jackson (Getty Images)

The Bears are the best AAU team in the country (outside of Kentucky). This team is loaded with young athletes, such as Perry Jones III, who could be an NBA lottery pick if he comes out for the draft this summer. Jones is leading the team with 14.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this season.

Junior guard Pierre Jackson is a junior-college transfer who averages 13.3 points and 5.8 assists per game. He’s an explosive, Microwave-type scorer who can fill it up in a hurry. Forward Quincy Acy (11.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg) adds senior leadership and a solid go-to scoring presence.

KEY STATS:

38th Points per game

34th Assists per game

37th Field Goal Percentage

Team stats courtesy www.statsheet.com.

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 14 South Dakota State (27-7, 15-3, Summit)-Every school in the country would love to have the type of luck that the South Dakota State program has had. The school is 1-for-1 in NCAA Tournament appearances, considering that this is the first year SDSU was eligible for the Big Dance and here they are–in the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever. The Jackrabbits have strung together 8 straight wins and have won 9 of 11 coming into the NCAAs.

Guard Nate Wolters (Photo: South Dakota State Athletics)

They’ve also got a big-time player at shooting guard in 6-4 junior Nate Wolters, who may remind some fans of North Dakota State legend Ben Woodside from the Bison’s only NCAA Tournament appearance in 2009.

Wolters averages 21.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game, and has established himself as one of the best up-and-coming guards in the nation.

6-8 forward Jordan Dykstra can shoot the 3, hitting treys at 48.6 percent this season.

South Dakota State hammered Washington in Seattle earlier this year, pummeling the Huskies 92-73. This is a good basketball team.

KEY STATS:

19th Points per game (77.3)

41st Field Goal Percentage (.469)

Stats courtesy www.statsheet.com.

PREDICTION: Baylor  

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