#127 South Dakota State Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

South Dakota State Jackrabbits
2017-2018 Overall Rank: #127
Conference Rank: #1 Summit
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South Dakota State was playing their best basketball late last season. The Jackrabbits were at one point 1-5 in Summit League action. That was a rough January. But in February the team lost just two games and finished the regular season with three big victories. South Dakota State needed that momentum heading into the conference tournament in Sioux Falls. As a four seed, they managed to sneak past Denver, top seed South Dakota and Omaha to reach the NCAA Tournament. They lost to Gonzaga by 20, but this group will want another opportunity to pull off an upset on the biggest possible stage.
2016-17 Record: 18-17, 8-8
2016-17 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: T.J. Otzelberger
Coach Record: 18-17 at South Dakota State, 18-17 overall
Who’s Out:
A.J. Hess and Michael Orris were the only seniors on the roster in 2016-2017. Hess, a versatile 6-7 guard, averaged 9.5 points and 3.5 rebounds and was a very dangerous shooter. Orris had a very productive senior season, averaging 8.1 points and 4.0 assists. He missed most of the non-conference portion of the schedule and that late season turnaround was in large part due to the play of Orris running the point. Cole Gentry transferred after the fall semester and three others joined him as transfers after the season. Andre Wallace was the most productive of the bunch, averaging 4.7 points. Sergio El Darwich and Adam Dykman will also play elsewhere next season.
Who’s In:
Seven newcomers will join the program this year and a few of them should make an immediate impact. Most notable are junior college transfers Brandon Key and Dallas Polk-Hilliard. Key is expected to step right into the starting point guard spot. He can shoot a little bit, which should help open up the floor, but it will be much more important for him to take care of the ball and find the scorers. Polk-Hilliard is a 6-6 forward who should be a great replacement for Hess. He is a better rebounder and more of a forward than Hess, but Polk-Hilliard can also shoot over opposing defenders. At Cochise College last season he averaged 19.3 points and 8.4 rebounds. He could be an effective small forward, but it is quite likely that he will see most of his minutes at the power forward position. Incoming freshmen Matt Dentlinger and Alou Dillon will add depth to the frontcourt. Dillon is a very interesting option and he will be a key player on this team eventually, but he may need a year or two before he becomes a major contributor. Fellow freshmen David Jenkins, Alex Arians and Ryan Krueger will add options on the perimeter. Jenkins is the best of the bunch and a very good scorer from anywhere on the floor. He should provide a scoring punch from the bench and Krueger could be a scorer off the bench too if his shot is falling.
Who to Watch:
After averaging 25.1 points and 8.1 rebounds as a sophomore, South Dakota State will once again go as far as Mike Daum can take them. The 6-9, 250 pound junior shot 41.8 percent from beyond the arc, connecting on a team high 79 three-pointers. It is nearly impossible for any single player to defend him both inside and out. Daum has already been one of the best players in the country at the mid-major level for two years. His scoring and rebounding numbers may not get any better, but Daum should continue to become more efficient. Reed Tellinghuisen, a 6-7 wing, will likely start beside Daum in the frontcourt. Tellinghuisen was second on the team behind Daum in scoring, rebounding and three-pointers made during the 2016-2017 campaign. With a strong finish to last year, not counting the NCAA Tournament defeat to the Bulldogs, Tellinghuisen should be in for a big senior season. It is possible that Tellinghuisen could slide down the wing, where he is a better fit. However, it does not appear like that will happen, in part due to a lack of frontcourt depth. That would force 6-9, 240 pound senior Ian Theisen into the starting lineup. He could certainly start beside Daum after averaging 5.0 points and 2.8 rebounds last season, but at the least he will be a very good, experienced option behind Daum; and occasionally play beside him when needed. With the newcomers and some big wins like Krueger and Lane Severyn, it is much more plausible for Daum and Theisen to play together more this season compared to last season.
Final Projection:
Tevin King, Chris Howell and Skyler Flatten will take up most of the minutes on the wing. King is a very good defender and a productive rebounder for a 6-2 guard, but his minutes will be limited if his offense does not come around. Howell, a 6-5 junior, is a very dangerous slasher. He is not a shooting threat, but few in the Summit League can attack the basket as effectively as Howell. If he can develop his overall game, he will be an invaluable player to this team and a very productive starter. Flatten is the best shooter of the three and knocked down 40.3 percent of his attempts from long range. Whether a starter or coming in off the bench, Flatten will need to knock down shots this year in an effort to add a consistent shooting threat to the backcourt. It is rare that the frontcourt shoots so much better than the backcourt, but that could be the case with South Dakota State this year. That does not make Daum or Tellinghuisen much easier to defend though, even if they are the only shooting threats on the floor. Mismatches like that should lead to plenty of wins in the Summit League and potentially another shot at a top seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Brandon Key, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Tevin King, Junior, Guard, 4.3 points per game
Chris Howell, Junior, Guard, 7.7 points per game
Reed Tellinghuisen, Senior, Guard, 11.7 points per game
Mike Daum, Junior, Forward, 25.1 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.7 (99th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 77.1 (284, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.5 (112, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.0 (236, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.1 (41, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.0 (124, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 77.1 (13, 1)
Rebound Margin: 0.9 (150, 4)
Assists Per Game: 13.1 (200, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.9 (164, 5)