South Dakota State vs. Denver Prediction, Odds and Key Players for Summit League Championship Final

College basketball betting preview, prediction and best bet for South Dakota State-Denver.

SDSU guard Zeke Mayo (2) runs with the ball on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024 at Frost Arena in Brookings.
SDSU guard Zeke Mayo (2) runs with the ball on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024 at Frost Arena in Brookings. / Samantha Laurey / Argus Leader / USA

Can Denver pull off a shocker? The Pioneers, which have never made the NCAA Tournament, are one victory away from dancing. No. 7 Denver knocked out No. 2 seed Kansas City in the first round of the Summit League Tournament before getting past No. 6 Omaha on Monday, 66-63. They’ll need a herculean effort Tuesday against top-seeded South Dakota State.

South Dakota State extended its winning streak to seven with a 10-point victory over No. 4 St. Thomas-Minnesota on Monday. The Jackrabbits are nearly a double-digit favorite in Tuesday’s Summit League title game to go to March Madness for the second time in three years. Here’s the betting breakdown for the championship affair with a best bet.

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South Dakota State vs. Denver Odds, Spread and Total

South Dakota State vs. Denver Betting Trends

  • South Dakota State is 16-13-1 ATS this season
  • Denver is 12-14-2 ATS this season
  • South Dakota State is 12-11-1 ATS as a favorite this season
  • Denver is 8-7-2 ATS as an underdog this season
  • The OVER is 15-14-1 in South Dakota State games this season
  • The OVER is 19-8-1 in Denver games this season 

South Dakota State vs. Denver How to Watch

  • Date: Tuesday, March 12 
  • Game time: 9:30 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Denny Samford Premier Center
  • How to watch (TV): CBS Sports Network
  • South Dakota State record: 21-12
  • Denver record: 17-16

South Dakota State vs. Denver Key Players to Watch

South Dakota State

Zeke Mayo: The 6-foot-4 junior guard is the Jackrabbits’ leading scorer this season at 18.9 points per game to go with 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per night. In two Summit League tournament games, though, Mayo is just 9-of-23 from the field and 3-of-10 from 3-point range, combining for 26 points. 


Tommy Brunner: Denver’s leading scorer in its two Summit League tournament tilts so far, Brunner has combined for 39 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists to lead Denver to the championship game. Brunner is tied with Purdue’s Zach Edey as the nation’s leading scorer this season, pouring in 24.2 points per game. 

South Dakota State vs. Denver Prediction and Pick 

Denver hadn’t held an opponent to less than 65 points in a game since December before showing up to the Summit League Tournament and doing it twice in three days. Kansas City and Omaha combined to shoot just 35.1% from the field (40-of-114), 26.4% from 3-point range (14-of-53), and 67.4% (29-of-43) from the free-throw line. 

The numbers are a bit of an anomaly for a Denver defense that hasn’t slowed down opponents all season. The Pioneers, last in the Summit League in scoring defense (80.6 points per game), have been statistically one of the nation’s worst defenses. Ranked by KenPom as the No. 352 overall defense in efficiency, Denver is No. 334 against 3-point shots, No. 329 against 2-point attempts, and forces the third-fewest turnovers in the Summit League. 

Does lightning strike three times in four days? It’s tough to see against a South Dakota State offense that is No. 2 in the Summit League in scoring (76.8 points per game) and No. 1 in shooting percentage (48.3%). South Dakota State is No. 22 in effective field goal percentage and punishes opponents in the paint as the No. 17 two-point shooting team in the nation.

Offensively, Denver can light up the scoreboard with the nation’s leading scorer. However, they’ll have to face a South Dakota State defense that is much better defensively than its season-long metrics would suggest. In the conference, the Jackrabbits are top-3 in nearly every major metric and can hold Denver in check while its offense feasts on a lackluster Pioneers’ defense. Lay the points with South Dakota State to return to the NCAA Tournament. 

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.