Who: No. 14 Alabama (1-0) vs. South Dakota State (1-0)
When: Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, 7:00 p.m. CT
Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Watch: SEC Network+
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network
No. 14 Alabama looks to build off its strong season opening victory over Louisiana Tech with another challenging mid-major opponent on Friday in the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.
Last season, South Dakota State finished 16-7 and was ranked in the top 40 in KenPom’s adjusted offense ratings. South Dakota State won the Summit League regular season title and was the favorite heading into the league tournament but was upset in the second round by Oral Roberts, who went on to make the Sweet Sixteen.
South Dakota State comes into this game at 1-0, after winning their first game of the season at home against Bradley, 81-65. The Jackrabbits were picked as the favorites to win the Summit League this season and doing so would send them to their first NCAA Tournament since 2018.
Against Bradley, the Jackrabbits had five players score in double figures, highlighted by senior forward Douglas Wilson, who led all scorers in the game with 20 points and added 10 rebounds for a double-double. Sophomore guard Baylor Scheierman had a double-double of his own with 10 points and 14 rebounds. The Jackrabbits shot an impressive 45% from three during the game.
South Dakota State does not boast a player over 6-8, giving Alabama a unique size advantage down low with 7’0” center Charles Bediako. Alabama showed off its offensive rebounding ability against Louisiana Tech, grabbing 16, and will likely use this game to boost those numbers even more with the efforts of Juwan Gary and Noah Gurley along with Bediako on the blocks.
Perimeter defense will be important against a team that is more than capable of shooting well from beyond the arc. Lockdown wing Keon Ellis will likely be tasked with guarding Wilson, the Jackrabbits leading scorer, and Ellis will have yet another chance to prove head coach Nate Oats’ claim of him being the best two-way player in the SEC.
Key Players for South Dakota State
F Douglas Wilson
G Baylor Scheierman
G Noah Freidel
This will certainly be another test for Alabama against a quality mid-major opponent, but even given the quality of the opponent Alabama is simply too talented to lose this game if the players execute the way Oats envisions. Alabama showcased its depth against Louisiana Tech and will look to do the same here. Jahvon Quinerly and Jaden Shackelford will get theirs, the big men should use their size advantage to clean up the inside, and hopefully we all get to see more JD Davison.
Alabama – 87
South Dakota State – 65