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
”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
”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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