This past Wednesday, South Dakota State men’s basketball coach T.J. Otzelberger admitted that even he didn’t pick his Jackrabbits in his March Madness bracket. SDSU fell to Ohio State by a score of 83-71 in the first round of the tournament March 15.
Choosing the Jackrabbits was not in the cards for the head coach. He cited their inferior athleticism and lack of a scoring threat as reasons for selecting Ohio State over his own squad.
“Yep, I’ll be the first to admit it; I didn’t think we’d get past the Buckeyes,” Otzelberger confessed at his season ending press conference in Brookings. “I just didn’t think our guys had what it took, and actually the silver lining is that I’m leading the athletic department bracket pool because of it. All those suckers thought we actually stood a chance.”
Otzelberger is actually the second member of the Jackrabbits squad to admit not picking his own team. Junior big man and NBA prospect Mike Daum slipped up and made the revealing confession at the postgame press conference after the loss.
“I mean, the loss really stings but my bracket is still perfect,” Daum remarked. “(David) Jenkins, Jr., he had us in the Sweet 16. Stupid freshman.”
Otzelberger did have a penchant for upset picks however, selecting No. 16 Maryland-Baltimore County over No. 1 Virginia. The head coach, who concludes his second season at the helm, also had No. 11 Loyola-Chicago in the Final Four.
“You ask my wife, she’ll tell you, I am a huge dog lover. Both of those teams have dog logos, so it was an easy choice for me on that front,” he stated.
Otzelberger presently holds a slight edge over athletic director Justin Sell atop the SDSU athletic department bracket pool heading into the Final Four. The winner receives a blue and yellow bedazzled championship belt, the only thing even remotely resembling a championship trophy in Brookings.