NCAA Tournament Predictions: Ohio State vs. South Dakota State

Mike Daum

Mike Daum averages a double-double. (AP Photo)

March Madness is here, and that means is ready to help you make your bracket love you back.

Who’s going to win the matchup between Ohio State and South Dakota State? Check out our complete breakdown and prediction below.

5. Ohio State (24-8, 15-3/Big Ten)

Ohio State forward Keita Bates-Diop drives past Iowa forward Luka Garza (left) during the second half of a game, Thursday in Iowa City, Iowa. Keita Bates-Diop scored 27 points as Ohio State won 92-81. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The Buckeyes are led by Big Ten Player of the Year Keita Bates-Diop, a 6-7 junior guard who averaged 19.4 points and 8.8 boards per game.

Four players average in double figures in scoring, including Jae’Sean Tate, who puts up 12.5 and 6.2 boards per. 6-1 junior C.J. Jackson (!2.2 ppg, 3.9 apg) makes the offense go.

Former Butler coach Chris Holtmann has done a terrific job in Year 1 in Columbus, and no one would have expected this level of success this quickly. The Bucks shook off some early season losses, including a manhandling by Gonzaga (86-59) in the PK80 Invitational, and proceeded to reel off 18 wins in their next 20 games to take command of the Big Ten race.

This team is deep, talented, and capable of making a run to the second weekend.

12. South Dakota State (28-6, 13-1/Summit)

The Summit League champion Jackrabbits won’t be intimidated–they’re making their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance and fifth since 2012.

6-9 junior Mike Daum is one of the most decorated big men in the country, averaging 23.8 points and 10.4 boards per. He was the Summit League Player of the Year, and is a candidate to make an All-American team.

Daum showed up big against big time opponents this season, putting up 21 and 11 against Kansas and going for 31 against Wichita State.

Freshman guard David Jenkins Jr. is a capable scorer as well, averaging 16.1 points per game.

The Jackrabbits have one of the most efficient offenses in the country, and put up 84.9 points per game, which ranks sixth nationally.

PREDICTION: Ohio State had better come to play, because this South Dakota State team is ready to take the next step as a program and upset somebody. The Jackrabbits will have the edge in experience, as the Buckeyes haven’t been in the Big Dance since 2015.

Mike Daum and David Jenkins Jr. give the Jackrabbits a chance, but we think Ohio State has too much depth. We’ll take the Buckeyes by double digits.

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