There was some discussion on the Ultrawebs recently about whether or not an upset win at No. 16-ranked New Mexico was the biggest triumph in South Dakota State men’s basketball history.
Frankly, I have no idea. However, I do think that 2012 was the best year in the history of SDSU sports, if only for what was accomplished by the big three. No other NCAA Division I school put teams in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs and both basketball championships.
Football made the playoffs for the third time ever, hosted a postseason game for the first time ever and made the second round for the first time ever, winning nine games and boasting the leading rusher in the FCS (Zach Zenner).
Men’s basketball made the Big Dance for the first time, tied a school record for wins, earned its first top-25 upset and landed a national player of the year candidate (Nate Wolters).
Women’s basketball made the Big Dance for the fourth year in a row after winning a third Summit League regular-season title in five years and beat a top-15 team for the first time as part of a string of major-conference victories.
Never before had SDSU reached national tournaments in all three of those sports in the same year - let alone at the D-I level. Yet … did it FEEL like the best year ever? I mean that in two ways: A) The Jacks rarely (or maybe never) give the impression that they’re satisfied with being where they are and B) The run of success has raised the expectations of fans - in some cases unreasonably so.
Some schools will never pull off this trifecta, and SDSU did so in its first decade in D-I with no signs that things have to fall off.
Just a little context as you and I follow the Jacks of Rabbit into 2013.
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.