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2016 NCAA Tournament First Round Preview: South Dakota State takes on Maryland

The last time Spokane hosted NCAA Tournament games, in 2014, a Summit League team captured the city's heart with a made-for-March upset. Can South Dakota State do what NDSU did to Oklahoma and and take down Maryland?

South Dakota State head coach Scott Nagy talks to the press from Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane, Wash.
South Dakota State head coach Scott Nagy talks to the press from Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane, Wash.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Head Coach Scott Nagy is in his 21st year with the Jackrabbits, which are now in their 11th season at the Division I level. He's had remarkable success for a team making the jump to the top tier and is making his third appearance in the NCAA Tournament in five years. There's more experience here than you might expect for a Summit League squad.

Even if this season has been a bit of a disappointment for Maryland, ranked third in both major preseason polls, they're still a force to be reckoned with. The three headed monster of Melo Trimble (14.4 ppg) at the point and Diamond Stone (12.9 ppg) and Robert Carter (12.8 ppg) up front is more than formidable. Those three combine to take 76.9% of the Terrapins' shots while on the floor. Good shots, too, since Maryland ranks 11th nationally with an effective field goal percentage of 55.3%.

And then there's Duke transfer, senior Rasheed Sulaimon (11.1 ppg). This team is loaded with talent.

The Jackrabbits are going to have their hands full with that bunch. And while South Dakota State has a respectable, top-100 shooting defense, that alone likely wont be enough. Fortunately they're one of the nation's better teams at crashing the glass, limiting opponents to just 25% of available offensive rebounds. Maryland isn't particularly adept at rebounding, anyways.

Their three-senior backcourt of George Marshall (14.9 ppg), Deondre Parks (14.7 ppg) and Jake Bittle (8.6 ppg) gives South Dakota State the veteran leadership needed to play Cinderella.

Off the bench comes leading scorer Mike Daum (15.2 ppg). When the freshman big man comes into the game he is the focal point of the offense, taking just over 30% of team's shots while on the floor. He's also a great free throw shooter, not just for a big man, connecting on 82% of his freebies.

Actually, the whole Jacks team shoots it well from the stripe (73.9%) and gets there very often. Maryland can not afford to get into foul trouble against a veteran team that will exploit that vulnerability.