Up next for IPFW: vs. South Dakota State in Summit League Tournament
When: 9:30 p.m. Today (EST)
Where: Sioux Falls Arena, Sioux Falls, S.D.
Radio: 1380-AM, Fox College Sports
Records: No. 2 seed IPFW 23-9, No. 3 seed South Dakota State (19-11)
Expected starters for IPFW: Pierre Bland – 6-2 senior guard; Isaiah McCray – 6-0 junior guard; Luis Jacobo – 6-5 senior forward; Michael Kibiloski – 6-7 senior forward; Steve Forbes – 6-9 junior center.
IPFW update: Making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament is a three-step process for IPFW, and the Mastodons easily took care of the first step Saturday by smashing in-state rival IUPUI 85-47 in their opening game of the Summit League Men's Basketball Tournament. The journey gets significantly more difficult today. Not only does IPFW have to face the Jackrabbits, who are a very good team that has historically owned the Mastodons, it'll have to do so in front of a filled-to-the-rafters Sioux Falls Arena (6,113 capacity) chanting for a Jackrabbit victory. Prior to IPFW beating the Jackrabbits 82-75 in Fort Wayne in January, South Dakota State had beaten IPFW eight consecutive times, including in twice in the past three Summit League Tournaments. South Dakota State started a new streak against the Mastodons early last month with a resounding 79-51 win in Brookings. The Jackrabbits advanced to this point in the league tournament by earning a rout of their own in a 71-50 beatdown of Western Illinois. The two teams tied in the Summit League standings for second place, but IPFW's win over league champion North Dakota State proved to be the difference maker in getting the Mastodons' the No. 2 seed. The difference in the two regular season games came down to shooting and rebounding. In the IPFW win, it out shot (47.6 percent to 46.9) the Jackrabbits, barely, but more importantly, the Mastodons controlled the glass (holding a 36-29 rebound advantage). In IPFW's loss, it got pounded inside (South Dakota State grabbed 12 more rebounds) and the Mastodons struggled offensively (shooting just 35 percent). The winner of this game will advance to the tournament championship game Tuesday (ESPN2, 9 p.m. EST). IPFW has never won two games in the Summit League Tournament, while South Dakota State is he two-time defending tournament champion.
IPFW coach Tony Jasick: “I clearly think that anybody you talk to would prefer to play a home game rather than a road game. I think from a league standpoint, the city of Sioux Falls does a great job with this tournament. It's a great environment. The city does a good job of supporting it. (To win) We have to rebound the ball and we have to take care of the ball. If you look at game one that we won and game two that we lost, the measurable differences were rebounding and taking care of the ball. At our place, we did a good job and won the game. At their place, we didn't and we lost the game. Where (South Dakota State's size advantage) becomes an issue is not necessarily when you're going with starters, but when we get into that first rotation and we move (Jacobo) to the “4,” and we're playing a lineup with (Isaiah McCray, 6-0, Pierre Bland, 6-2, and Mo Evans, 6-0) now we get really small and they stay really big. When that happens, we've got to do a really good job on the glass.”