Bold Baylor upset prediction bothers Jackrabbits

South Dakota State coach Scott Nagy isn’t thrilled with the one

TV analyst bold enough to pick his Jackrabbits to upset Baylor in

their inaugural NCAA tournament appearance.

Sure, there’s plenty of room on the Jackrabbits’ bandwagon, but

Nagy cringed when Seth Davis proclaimed on the CBS Selection show

that the 14th-seeded Jackrabbits were his choice to pull off a big

upset when they meet the third-seeded Bears Thursday at the


”Well, Seth didn’t help us there,” Nagy said. ”It was nice of

him to say, but that doesn’t help us, and Baylor doesn’t need any

extra incentive to stick it to us.”

Sure, Davis was stirring up the pot a little, but he had sound

reasons: the Jackrabbits (27-7) have of the nation’s most

unheralded point guards in Nate Wolters, who led them to a rout of

Washington in December, and an envious three-point shooting

percentage (39.3) while the aggressive, athletic Bears (27-7) have

shown a soft underbelly at times.

”All that stuff is prediction anyway. We just know that,” Nagy

said. ”But we have 27 wins for a reason. We haven’t played the

schedule Baylor has, I know that. And if we did, we wouldn’t have

27 wins. But we still have a good basketball team, and we’re here

just like everybody else is to win, and that’s the way we’re going

to approach it.

”All the predictions and things like that really don’t mean

anything anyways. It’s just fun banter for people to talk


The Bears dismissed Davis’ prediction.

”I really couldn’t care less about what he had to say. I just

see it as another person stating an opinion, but he just happened

to be on TV,” junior guard Pierre Jackson said. ”I just know me

and my teammates are ready to play.”

”Anything can happen in this tournament,” Baylor senior

forward Quincy Acy suggested. ”I mean, they wouldn’t be in this

tournament if they weren’t capable of beating us. We wouldn’t look

at it as an upset.”

That’s why they’re preparing like they’re facing another Big 12

team, not a first-timer in the NCAA field.

”We’re focused on trying to get this win. We’re not taking any

team for granted,” Acy said. ”We don’t look at seeds or anything

like that. Every team is capable of winning on every given night,

and we’re going to go out and play Baylor basketball for 40


Wolters, on the other hand, is embracing the Cinderella


”It’s a good opportunity for us,” he said. ”We’re the 14

seed, so not many people expect us to win. So we have to play loose

with nothing to lose.”

Senior guard Griffan Callahan said everyone knew the Jackrabbits

would face a tough draw after reaching their first NCAA tournament

by rallying from 12 down in the second half against Western

Illinois in the Summit League title game.

So, when they saw Baylor’s name, they embraced the


”We’re looking forward to it,” Callahan said. ”Fourteen seed,

whatever we got, we were going to be happy with. We’re just going

to go out there and play and do our best.”

The great equalizer could very well be the three-point line.

The Bears pride themselves on Canadian Brady Heslip’s long-range

prowess, even using the moniker ”Brady range” for his 3-pointers

that he fires up from all over the court and usually well beyond

the arc. He’s made 84 of 193 attempts for a 43.5 percent clip,

third-best in the nation.

The Jackrabbits might just be able to keep up with the Bears

from long range because they have a roster full of sharpshooters

like Heslip.

”Yeah, they’ve all got Brady range,” Heslip said. ”No, they

can definitely really shoot the ball. They’ve got four guys over 40

percent, and their point guard’s capable of making 3s, too. So

we’re just going to have to guard the three point-line better than

we’ve guarded it all year.”

Callahan led the Jackrabbits with 75 3-pointers, followed by

Jordan Dykstra (51), Brayden Carlson (46), Chad White (45) and

Wolters (32).

”They definitely have range,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said.

”Doesn’t matter if it’s the college line or NBA line, they can

shoot from anywhere.”

Dykstra sank 48.6 percent of his long-range jumpers, Carlson

46.9 percent, White 46.4 percent and Callahan 40.5 percent.

”Well, it’s had to be” a big part of the Jackrabbits’ offense,

Nagy said. ”We’re not a huge team, but we do shoot the ball well.

When we do shoot the ball well, then it really opens up the floor

for Nate, our point guard, because it puts a lot of pressure on

teams to have to take away the three. When they have to take away

the three then Nate is able to get it.

”I’ve coached Nate for three years, and I haven’t really seen

anybody that can stay in front of him. But our guys around him are

going to have to play great, and Nate’s going to have to trust

those guys because he’s become more and more the focus of


The Bears are brimming with talent. The seniors on the team were

part of the group that lost to eventual champion Duke in an NCAA

regional final their sophomore season.

And they’re part of a renaissance from scandal at the school,

which has turned into a hotbed for recruiting across several sports

with the successes of Robert Griffith III in football and Brittney

Griner in women’s hoops.

”They know who we are now. We can go to the local grocery store

and they recognize you from pictures and stuff like that,” Acy

said. ”So it’s what our mindset was coming in, to try to put this

program on the map. Everybody in every sport has done it, so it

feels good to say you’re a part of Baylor.”

Even if Seth Davis dares to pick against them.

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