Photo by Allan Johnstone
Oregon Basketball

Preview: Oregon vs South Dakota State

March 28, 2019

Who: Second-seeded Oregon vs sixth-seeded South Dakota State

Where: Moda Center, Portland

When: Friday, March 29

How to Watch: ESPN2, 8:30 p.m. Pacific


For the third year in a row, the Oregon Ducks have made the NCAA Tournament's Sweet Sixteen. This year, they’ll face off against a familiar foe: the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, who defeated the Syracuse Orange for a shot to knock off the Ducks.

You may recall that Oregon and South Dakota State have played this year already -- in the ninth game of the season for the Ducks. In that matchup, Oregon traveled to Brookings, S.D., and were victorious, winning 87-79 thanks to the matchup nightmare of Satou Sabally.

Sabally recorded 27 points and 6 rebounds that day. Sabrina Ionescu also came to play, finishing with 26 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists.
South Dakota State was no pushover, however,as it outshot the Ducks from behind the arc, torching the nets at 47 percent. After giving a quick recap of what happened last time these two teams met, let’s dive into the deeper stats – and explain why Oregon needs to keep its guard up against the Jackrabbits.

South Dakota State’s Strengths:

·       Not only did South Dakota State win the Summit League Championship outright, but it also won the tournament championship, defeating rival South Dakota 83-71 in the finals. In a lot of ways, this South Dakota State team resembles the Ducks: They score a lot of points from behind the arc and will outscore anyone on any given day, averaging 79.8 points per game.

·       The Jackrabbits are led by guard Macy Miller, who averages just over 18 points, 6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Also, she shoots a blistering 45 percent from behind the arc. Miller was held to just 14 points in the first matchup, but has exploded to score 30 points three times this season.

·       While Miller is the Rabbits' best offensive player, South Dakota State’s offense, overall, is extremely potent. The Jackrabbits won their contests by an average of 17.1 points, and they average 113 points per 100 possessions. For reference, Oregon wins by 21.9 points and averages 121.9 points per 100 possessions

·       This Jackrabbits' offense is not to be taken lightly. South Dakota State finds itself in the top 15 nationally in a plethora of offensive stats, including field goal percentage, three point percentage, points per play and assists per game.

·       Outside of Miller, South Dakota State features three other starters who average in double figures. Madison Geubert, Myah Selland and Tagyn Lawson all score more than 10 points per game; Geubert shoots 43 percent from three on 7 attempts per game and averages 14.1. Another important part of this Jackrabbit team is its depth, as nine players log at least 12 minutes per game.

South Dakota State’s Weaknesses:

·       Not only is South Dakota State’s offense similar to Oregon's, the defense is as well. Both teams want to thump their opponents. The Jackrabbits allow a shade less than 63 points per game, which puts them smack dab in the middle of the pack nationally. And that’s how I would describe the South Dakota defense: They’re average, similar in defensive schematics to Portland State.

·       South Dakota State allows opponents to shoot three-pointers at a 35 percent clip, good for bottom 10 in the country. In the first game between the Jackrabbits and Ducks, Oregon shot 24 three-pointers, connecting on 9 of them. Oregon will look to exploit this defensive weakness one more time.

·       South Dakota State is an average team on the glass as well. Their stats do look impressive, but I credit that to the lack of competition in their league. Outside of the Jackrabbits and aforementioned South Dakota, the talent level in the Summit League is drastically different than the Pac-12. Teams such as Baylor and Oregon State lead the nation in rebounding because of their great height, solid coaching and players who hustle to the ball. But a team like the Jackrabbits, whose tallest player is a sub who is 6-3, can have inflated number due strictly from talent. As far as opposition rebounding, teams do a middle-of-the-road job against the Jackrabbits, as this South Dakota State team will not “wow” anyone on the glass.


·       With a pseudo “home-court advantage” at the Moda Center, I think Oregon will come out firing and jump out to an early 10-12 point lead. Oregon will run its offense through Ruthy Hebard, who will lead the team in scoring, and Erin Boley -- er, Erin Bol3y -- will hit five threes in a 88-72 win.

Tags: Basketball
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