For the first time in program history, Ohio State is the higher seed in the NCAA Tournament's No. 5 vs. No. 12 seed matchup, which historically provides plenty of opening-round upsets.
The Buckeyes didn't get an easy draw either, as Ohio State will face No. 12 seed South Dakota State, a high-scoring team led by one of the nation's most dominating players.
Let's take a quick look at five things you should know about the Jackrabbits, who hail from Brookings, S.D. – about 1,300 miles from Boise, where they will play the Buckeyes in their first-round game – and figure to be a tough out.
Mike Daum Is A Dominant Force
South Dakota State is led by one of the most dominating players in the country in Mike Daum.
This season, Daum ranks sixth in the nation in points per game and averages a double-double with 23.8 points per game and 10.4 rebounds.
Daum has scored 30 or more points 24 times the past two seasons, dropping a career-high 51 points against IUPUI during the 2016-17 season.
Daum can score from anywhere on the court and will likely present matchup problems for Ohio State, just as he has every other team he's played the past two seasons.
Sixth-Highest Scoring Team In The Country
The Jackrabbits have averaged 84.9 points per game this season, the sixth-highest average among all Division I college basketball teams – topped only by Villanova, Savannah State, Portland State, Oklahoma and William & Mary.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Jackrabbits rank 221st in Division I scoring defense with 74.1 points allowed per game.
The Jackrabbits have three players averaging at least 12 points per game, with senior wing Reed Tellinghuisen scoring exactly that many and freshman guard David Jenkins Jr. (16.1 points per game) being Daum’s top complement. All five Jackrabbits starters average at least seven points per game, with senior guard Skylar Flatten averaging exactly that many and junior guard Tevin King averaging 9.3 per game.
Haven't Lost Since January
South Dakota State is an impressive 28-6 overall on the season, but its been particularly hot down the stretch.
The Jackrabbits haven't lost a game since Jan. 26, when they fell 87-68 to South Dakota. Since then, they've won 11 straight games, including three conference tournament wins to clinch their third straight NCAA Tournament bid.
South Dakota State certainly isn't backing its way into the field.
Have Never Won An NCAA Tournament Game
Since moving up to Division I in 2004, the Jackrabbits have appeared in four NCAA Tournaments but have never won an NCAA Tournament game, losing in the first round in each of their four previous appearances.
The Jackrabbits were a No. 14 seed in their first appearance in 2012, when they lost to Baylor. They were a No. 13 seed in 2013, when they lost to Michigan. They were a No. 12 seed in 2016, when they lost to Maryland. They lost to Gonzaga as a No. 1 seed last year.
|2012||#14||#3 Baylor||Loss, 68-60|
|2013||#13||#4 Michigan||Loss, 71-56|
|2016||#12||#5 Maryland||Loss, 79-74|
|2017||#16||#1 Gonzaga||Loss, 66-46|
Both Teams Have Beat Iowa
Thursday’s game won’t be South Dakota State’s first game against a Big Ten opponent this year: the Jackrabbits previously played Iowa on Nov. 21 in the Cayman Islands Classic. The Jackrabbits defeated the Hawkeyes in that neutral-site game, 80-72.
Ohio State, meanwhile, won both of its games against the Hawkeyes by double digits; the Buckeyes won 92-81 at Iowa on Jan. 4 and 82-64 in Columbus on Feb. 10.