NCAA BK

South Dakota St Jackrabbits hop on national stage

Share This Story

   
 

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP)

The South Dakota State bookstore got a call Wednesday morning from a man in Pennsylvania looking to buy blue-and-gold Jackrabbits gear.

The caller had zero ties to the university, but he had watched the Jackrabbits capture the Summit League championship with a 52-50 overtime win over Western Illinois on Tuesday night. He was looking to jump on the bandwagon as the team gets ready for its first appearance in the NCAA tournament after putting together a 27-7 season.

''Our logo's going to get out there this next week, and it's going to be fun to see,'' coach Scott Nagy said.

South Dakota State's inaugural trip to the NCAA tournament comes in its fourth year of eligibility since becoming a full Division I member. It made the five-year transition from Division II alongside North Dakota State, which earned its sole Division I tournament bid in 2009 in its first year of eligibility.

NDSU coach Saul Phillips said the Fargo, N.D., school immediately drew national and even worldwide interest. He recalls hearing from a friend working at the U.S. Embassy in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, who saw a short Bison item in a local paper.

''There's not a whole lot you can do to allow you to have that kind of outreach,'' Phillips said.

The Bison lost the team's opening-round game to Kansas, but the appearance has had lasting effects on recruiting.

''Now you're not just selling a dream. You're selling something that's possible and has really happened,'' Phillips said. ''You're not talking hypotheticals. You're pointing at the trophy saying, `Yeah, we can do this here,' and that resonates with kids.''

Any effect on recruiting at South Dakota State will have to wait. The Jackrabbits won't find out until Sunday who their opponent will be.

Nagy accomplished a 14-year dream by reaching the NCAA tournament, but he's now faced with focusing his excited squad on its next task of pulling off a first-round upset. He said Virginia Commonwealth's run to the Final Four last year shows that any good college basketball team has a shot.

''Obviously it's a big celebration, but we've got to be able to get our players kind of pulled back in and say, `OK, now that we're in this thing, let's prepare to win the next game,''' he said. ''We know that if we play well, we can beat anybody.''

That's not always easy, Phillips said, as a lot of people will be tearing at the time constraints of Nagy and his star players. He said it's important to stay focused, but you also have to enjoy the ride.

''I can't even tell you how much fun it is, but when you're done with it, there is a big emotional, `Wow, that was a sprint,''' he said.

The South Dakota State women's team is making its fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament after topping UMKC 78-77 in overtime Tuesday night. Coach Aaron Johnston said this year's bid is just as exciting as the first run.

''It's different every year because you have different players, different circumstances, different things that you go through, so it feels like a very new experience,'' he said.

And although the South Dakota State women already put the Jackrabbits on the national map, the attention from the men's tournament bid will take the school's logo to new audiences.

In Brookings, the SDSU bookstore was busy Wednesday printing hundreds of Summit League championship T-shirts to get ready. The Tuesday night game, broadcast on ESPN2, tripled the visits to the bookstore's website, marketing coordinator Steve Brua said.

''I'm sure that will keep going up.'' Brua said.

Tagged: South Dakota State, South Dakota

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..