It’s straight out of the sports cliché book, but the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology men’s basketball team needs to play somebody different after a couple of weeks of practice.
The Hardrockers will get their chance as they travel to Brookings for a Thursday night exhibition against South Dakota State University. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. MT.
“It’s good to play against somebody else, that’s what everybody always says,” Mines head coach Jason Henry said with a bit of a chuckle. “We may as well go to the top of the Summit and play the top team, at their place.
"So here we go.”
Pun intended, as in Summit Conference.
Regardless, it’s a good chance to the Hardrockers to see where they are at against a good Division I program, an in-state program nonetheless. That has the Mines players excited, Henry said.
“We have to get something out of it, and they do too,” he said. “We scheduled these games so it prepares us for the first games of the season.”
Mines, 9-17 last season, opens the regular season on Nov. 13 against Johnson & Wales, the first of a four-game homestand.
As expected, look for Henry to play just about everybody on the roster, even a couple of players who will likely redshirt this season. The veteran Mines coach needs and wants to get all of his players possible some game looks, especially with the fact that he lost five of his top eight players from a year ago.
Other than a couple of injuries, things have gone pretty much as expected since they began their first official practices two weeks ago.
Yet, just because they look good in practice, once they turn on the lights, Henry said that players play a little bit different. Exhibitions games, regardless of the opponent, are good in that way as they can get nerves and rustiness out of the system.
“We have to get better in a number of areas, but we have some talented guys,” Henry said. “In the past we’ll go on five-minute droughts where our defense has to keep us in games. Hopefully we won’t see that too much this year as we have some guys who can put the ball in the basket.”
The Jackrabbits, 24-11 and qualifiers for the National Invitation Tournament last season, are in the same boat.
“They’ll be trying new things going deep into their bench too,” Henry said.
South Dakota State will also face Dakota Wesleyan in an exhibition before opening at home against Chadron State College on Nov. 13.