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Tiny Dancers: South Dakota State

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

Nate Wolters and South Dakota State are heading back to the NCAA tournament. (USATSI)
Nate Wolters and South Dakota State are heading back to the NCAA tournament. (USATSI)

Nate Wolters will be in the NCAA tournament.

The cult figure of college basketball scored 27 points and dished out six assists to help lead South Dakota State to a 73-67 win over North Dakota State in the Summit League title game. He received plenty of help from Jordan Dykstra, who contributed 18 points and seven rebounds. Taylor Braun dropped in 23 points for North Dakota State, but it wasn't enough.

South Dakota State reached its first NCAA tournament as a Division-I member last season, and Scott Nagy and Wolters have the Jackrabbits back in the dance. They came into the season with plenty of hype, and backed that up by winning at New Mexico in December. It hasn't been perfect, though, as they suffered some strange losses throughout the year.

With that said, given Wolters' ability to drop 30 points on any given night, and the experience and ability of his supporting cast, South Dakota State could be an upset pick in the round of 64.

Players to know: Nate Wolters. I almost feel weird writing this, because my colleague Matt Norlander has a huge crush on Wolters -- but alas, here we are. Wolters is one of the best point guards in the country, and has developed a cultlike following over the past couple of seasons. He is supremely productive, capable of scoring from behind in the arc, in the mid-range, and with a variety of floaters, push shots and the like. He can also distribute effectively.

The Vitals:

  • Record: 25-9 overall, 13-3 Summit
  • Most recent tournament appearance: 2012
  • Jerry Palm predicts: 13 seed
  • KenPom ranking: 106
  • Sagarin ranking: 97
  • RPI: 71
  • Best wins: New Mexico, North Dakota State (twice)
  • Worst losses: Hofstra, Cal State Bakersfield
  • Notable stat: When you think of fundamentally-sound, disciplined teams, you think of taking care of the ball, not fouling, and knocking down free throws. South Dakota State does all of that very well. The Jackrabbits rank No. 8 in the country free-throw percentage at 76.7 percent; No. 8 in the country in fewest fouls per game at 14.3; and No. 6 in the country in fewest turnovers at 10.3.

For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our College Basketball Newsletter. You can follow Jeff Borzello on Twitter here: @jeffborzello

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