South Dakota State makes its first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament when it battles Baylor in South Regional action Thursday night.
The Jackrabbits, who got in by winning the Summit League tournament, are underdogged by 7.5 points to the Bears, who earned an at-large bid after tying for third place in the Big 12.
No. 3 is 11-5 ATS past 4 seasons vs 14s so picking Baylor here could be a safe bet if history repeats itself.
This matchup is a neutral-site affair being played at The Pit.
Supporters of the Jackrabbits have watched them go 27-7 and 18-7-1 ATS on the year, while the Bears are at 27-7 and 12-14-1 ATS. In totals betting, the Bears are 15-12, while the Jackrabbits have a 9-16 mark.
Baylor opened as 8.5-point favorites in this Soouth Region betting matchup at (see Baylor's odds to win the South Region at $BOVADA-LINK as well).
Power Rankings / Prediction:
The Odds Shark Power Rankings have the Bears at No. 12 and the Jackrabbits at No. 83 heading into this contest. Handicapping models at Odds Shark project a 82-81 result in favor of the Jackrabbits.
How They Match Up:
Rebounding is always a key handicapping consideration and Jackrabbits is ranked No. 176 in NCAA hoops at 34.5 per game. Contrast that with Baylor’s No. 71 mark in the paint. When it comes to three-point shooting, Baylor is the No. 109-ranked team in the country at 6.8 per game, while South Dakota State rates No. 30 at 8.1 per game.
Defensively, South Dakota State features the nation's No. 269-rated defense on the road, allowing 73.9 points per game. Baylor, meanwhile, comes in at No. 63 nationally in scoring at home.
South Dakota State was a 52-50 winner in its last match at home against Western Illinois. They failed to cover the 10-point spread as favorites. South Dakota State earned a 52-50 victory over Western Illinois on Tuesday, getting 14 points from Nate Wolters at Sioux Falls Arena.
Baylor was a 90-75 loser in their most recent outing on the road against Missouri. They failed to cover the 4-point spread as underdogs. Perry Jones III scored 16 points in a futile effort to lead the Bears to a win (they lost 90-75 to Missouri at Sprint Center on Saturday).
Baylor Bears Trends:
When playing on Thursday are 8-2
After playing Missouri are 5-5
After a loss are 5-5
A few Jackrabbits at Bears trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Baylor's last 5 games
Baylor is 18-7 SU in its last 25 games
Baylor is 8-14-1 ATS in its last 23 games