PREVIEW: FGCU Takes on South Dakota State – 12/18/19

After 10 days without a game, FGCU travels to South Dakota to take on the Jackrabbits. The Eagles are coming off another tough loss and have had quite a bit of time to try and sort out some of their struggles. Last season, against South Dakota, Coach Michael Fly earned his first career win against a D-I opponent with an 84-78 victory. FGCU holds a 2-1 lead over the Jackrabbits in their all-time series and will look to build on that. Currently 7-6 (5-6 against D-I), South Dakota presents as a very young team. They have only 2 seniors on the squad and only one of them gets significant playing time. In total, there are just 4 upperclassmen on the roster. They have, however, managed to maintain consistency, using the same starting 5 in every game this season. Below, we will take a look at some of the regular contributors for the Jackrabbits, potential matchups, and give our outlook and predictions for the game.

Players

Douglas Wilson (#35)

Wilson is the main dog for this team. He is a 6’7″ / 210 lb junior and JUCCO transfer who hasn’t missed a beat while transitioning to D-I ball.  Has started all 13 games this year, playing 29 minutes a night. Currently, Wilson is averaging 16 points and 7 rebounds per game. He possesses great touch inside and shoots at a high percentage from the field (60%) as well as from the line (66%).

Brandon Key (#00)

Key is the only significant senior on the roster. At 5’10” / 180 lbs, he is a very fast, quick, and true college point guard. He utilized a redshirt last year but has been a key (pun intended) contributor for the Jackrabbits so far this season. He has started all 13 games, averaging 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists in 31 minutes per night.

Matt Dentlinger (#32)

Dentinger is a tough, 6’8″ / 240 lb sophomore forward. He has started all 13 games for the Jackrabbits while playing an average of 26 minutes. Dentlinger has made good of those minutes with 9 points and 6 rebounds per game. He shoots well for his size and continues to expand his range as he develops.

Noah Friedel (#11)

Freidel is a promising freshman for South Dakota State. The 6’4″ / 185 lb guard has made an impact early, starting all 13 games for them thus far. Currently he is averaging 8 points and 4 rebounds in 24 minutes per game. Friedel is already a fantastic shooter and especially lethal from the charity stripe (87%).

David Wingett (#50)

Wingett is another freshman that has made an early impact for this team. He has played in all 13 of their games, averaging 21 minutes, but has not made any starts. At 6’7″ / 205 lbs, he is a G/F combo. Wingett currently averages 7 points and 3 rebounds per game. As a team, they have struggled with 3-point shooting. So far, Wingett has been their best, shooting 37% from deep.

Alex Arians (#34)

Arians is the 5th player on this team who has started every game. He is a 6’4″ / 210 lb sophomore guard. Currently, he averaged 7 points and 5 rebounds in 25 minutes per game.

Matchups

Guards

The South Dakota State backcourt is extremely young and inexperienced at the D-I level. Key is the clear leader here, as a senior. Behind him are 2 freshmen in Noah Friedel and Baylor Scheierman, and sophomore, Alex Arians. Despite their youth, they have already shown that they are capable of playing good basketball together. This group, however, lacks height. FGCU guards Caleb Catto, Zach Scott, and Sam Gagliardi are all major players for the Eagles and each stand at 6’4″ and taller. Addittionaly, the Jackrabbits have struggled to shoot well from 3. The Eagles have generally guarded the perimeter well so this could be an area where they capitalize.

Forwards

South Dakota is a fairly small team, even among their forwards. Wilson and Wingett stand at 6’7″ and weigh just over 200 lbs. Their size comes in the form of the 6’8″ / 240 lb Dentlinger. The Eagles have a potential size advantage. Both FGCU bigs (Rainwater and Rivers) stand at 6’8″. Rainwater has more size at 230 lbs and has been the main workhorse for the Eagles. FGCU has a small size advantage here but South Dakota definitely has more depth.

Projected Starters

FGCUSouth Dakota State
Zach Scott – GBrandon Key – G
Caleb Catto – GNoah Friedel – G
Sam Gagliardi – GAlex Arians – G
Tracy Hector – FDouglas Wilson – F
Jusus Rainwater – FMatt Dentlinger – F

Outlook

Both of these teams are very young. Thus far, South Dakota State has handled this predicament a little more effectively and their record shows. The Eagles have had 10 days to game plan and try to work on some of the areas that they have struggled in. These squads are rebuilding and each has a chance to come out on top in this game. For FGCU, a win here would give a much needed confidence boost as the nonconference season nears it’s end.a

Predictions

Elliott Kresse (9-3)

“Santa is coming early in this one. Unfortunately, he’s bringing coal for FGCU.” – Elliott

78-62 – South Dakota State

Russell Kelly (5-7)

“This is a winnable game for FGCU and they even match up favorably in key areas. At the same time, it’s hard to pick the Eagles here, given how the season has gone.” – Russell

70-68 – South Dakota State

Dawson Jordan (5-7)

“The season continues to be bleak. Hopefully FGCU can turn it around soon but until that time, we are the rightful underdog.” – Dawson

74-66 – South Dakota State

Bryan Genter

“South Dakota state is a very beatable team. However, the Eagles have proved to be more beatable than their opponents this season.”

70-60 – South Dakota State

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