South Dakota State vs. Iowa State March Madness Preview and Prediction

In the No. 15 vs. No. 2 matchup in the NCAA Tournament East Region, the South Dakota State Jackrabbits face the Iowa State Cyclones in first-round action.

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How to Watch South Dakota State vs. Iowa State

When: 7:35 pm ET on Thursday, March 21st

Where: CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska

Watch: TruTV

Odds for South Dakota State vs. Iowa State

(odds current at time of publish)

Spread: Iowa State -16.5

Total: 133.5

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East Region No. 15 South Dakota State Jackrabbits

South Dakota State was the best team in the Summit League all year, and the Jackrabbits won the conference tournament. However, it’s one of the weakest conferences in the nation, and it’s not like South Dakota State ran through the weaker opponents. So, this Jackrabbits team will be one of the weakest in the entire tournament field. And the team has a weak statistical profile to back that up, barely cracking the top 150 in offensive efficiency and being outside of it in defensive efficiency. But it is worth noting that South Dakota State can shoot the 3 pretty well. And junior guard Zeke Mayo is a threat to score 20 each night, while also stuffing the stat sheet. He’s going to put a scare into the Cyclones, as his game is ready for high-major basketball.

East Region No. 2 Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State is one of the most interesting teams in the field. The Cyclones played a really soft nonconference schedule, but they proved their mettle by earning wins over Houston (twice) and Kansas during the regular season. And Iowa State is a team that defends like hell and does it in a smart way. The Cyclones work hard to prevent opponents from getting good looks from 3, instead opting to force them into tough 2s. They also force turnovers at a higher rate than anybody in the country. Iowa State’s only real issue is that the offense is rather pedestrian. The Cyclones don’t have anybody that can really be relied on to get buckets late in the game. It’s seemingly somebody different every night, but you want a safety valve in this type of tournament. But Iowa State’s offense was good enough to beat Houston’s elite defense, so the Cyclones have proven they can take anyone down.

South Dakota State vs. Iowa State Preview & Prediction

There will be no “Hilton Magic” for Iowa State in the NCAA Tournament, as home cooking is not a luxury afforded to most teams. The Cyclones were 18-0 at home and thoroughly dominant in most of those games. They were 9-7 in road/neutral settings, including conference losses to Oklahoma and Kansas State and early-season neutral-site defeats at the hands of Texas A&M and Virginia Tech.

That’s not to say that the Cyclones are a bad team just because they’re not at home, but they did struggle to make shots out on the road, firing away at 31.1% from 3 and 50.5% from 2. Of course, they also won three games in Kansas City in the Big 12 Tournament by 71 combined points, so maybe it simply won’t matter.

It shouldn’t matter against South Dakota State, anyway. The Summit League wasn’t very good this season and this wasn’t the best SDSU team of the Eric Henderson era. That team was probably the 2022 team that went 30-5 and 18-0 in league play. The Jackrabbits led the nation in eFG% offense and 3P% that year. They lost by nine points in the first round against Providence in the 13/4 game.

South Dakota State has always had good offenses, average defenses, and been a popular pick to pull a first-round upset. Of course, they’re usually higher than a No. 15 seed, but they haven’t won an NCAA Tournament game in six tries and likely won’t here either. Almost nobody in the Summit League forces turnovers and Iowa State nearly led the nation in doing that.

I could definitely see this game go Under the total, as Iowa State allowed a shot share on Close Twos of just 23.8% and South Dakota State allowed a shot share of just 27.7%. This game will feature a lot of jumpers in an unfamiliar setting.

Estimated Score: Iowa State 76, South Dakota State 60

For expert predictions, go to our college basketball best bets page.