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Western Illinois (10-19) vs. South Dakota State (18-11)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Sunday, March 9, 9:30 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Sioux Falls Arena (7,100) -- Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Television: Midco Sports Net, FCS. Home Record: WIU 7-5, SDSU 11-3. Away Record: WIU 1-13, SDSU 7-7. Neutral Record: WIU 2-1, SDSU 0-1. Conference Record: WIU 4-10, SDSU 10-4. Series Record: South Dakota State leads, 14-3.

GAME NOTES: The quarterfinals of the 30th annual Summit League Tournament continues tonight, as the Western Illinois Leathernecks take on the South Dakota State Jackrabbits at Sioux Falls Arena.

The Jackrabbits, the third seed this season, are the two-time defending champions in this event, with their 2012 title resulting in a 52-50 overtime decision against these same Leathernecks. Last year, the Jacks took down North Dakota State in a 73-67 final.

SDSU finished third in the standings behind North Dakota State and IUPU-Ft. Wayne, sporting a record of 10-4 in conference and 18-11 overall. The team enters the postseason riding a two-game win streak and has won eight of the last nine outings overall.

Meanwhile WIU, a squad which was just 1-13 in true road games and 3-14 away from home overall in 2013-14, managed to snap a seven-game slide last weekend with a 75-70 victory over IUPUI, but still the program finished a mere 4-10 in league play and next-to-last in the standings.

In a relationship that dates back to 1948, South Dakota State is on top by a healthy 14-3 margin, taking both meetings during the regular season. More than just a season sweep, SDSU has won 11 straight over the Leathernecks.

The winner of this meeting will be back in action on Monday night in the semifinals versus IUPU-Ft Wayne which defeated IUPUI on Saturday night in an 85-47 blowout.

As one of the weakest-scoring teams around, the Leathernecks have managed to produce just 61.7 ppg this season, even though they are shooting a respectable 45.8 percent from the field. After 29 outings there is just a single double- digit scorer to speak of in Garret Covington with his 14.6 ppg stemming mostly from 67-of-175 (.383) shooting behind the 3-point line. The squad does have some other quality performers in Adam Link (9.3 ppg) and Michael Ochereobia (8.8 ppg), but the latter tends to be a bit too rough at times, resulting in almost constant foul trouble and a staggering 10 disqualifications.

While the Western Illinois offense struggles to produce solid numbers on a regular basis, the Jackrabbits have no such worries as they put up 73.6 ppg against the rest of the Summit through 14 games Jordan Dykstra leads the attack with 16.9 ppg and has also cleared 7.1 rpg in those league bouts. Brayden Carlson checks in with another 16.3 ppg and is first with 39 assists as he strives to keep the program moving in the right direction. With 13.6 ppg, Cody Larson is the third double-digit performer for SDSU, while his 6.9 rpg have helped provide the squad with a rebounding edge of 6.7 rpg.

Put together a team that can't seem to win on the road and an opponent that continues to post victories at home and dominate the series and you have all the makings of a South Dakota State win tonight.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Dakota State 78, Western Illinois 65

03/09 10:21:57 ET