South Dakota Coyotes

2016-17 record: 22-12, 12-4 in the Summit

Head coach: Craig Smith

Tenure at South Dakota: 4th season

Career coaching record: 53-46

Home court: Sanford Coyote Sports Center

Starters: G Carlton Hurst, G Triston Simpson, F Trey Burch-Manning, F Matt Mooney, F Nick Fuller

Bench: G Tyler Peterson, G Brandon Armstrong, G Stanley Umude, F Tyler Hagedorn, F Austin Sparks

Overview: After starting the season 5-0 and staying strong through its conference slate, South Dakota rode a No. 1 seed in the Summit League tournament to the title game before falling to rival South Dakota State. The Coyotes were then relegated to the NIT where they lost to Iowa in the opening round, ending their successful season with 22 wins.

Craig Smith’s team loses two backcourt players who accounted for 33 percent of South Dakota's scoring a season ago. But junior Matt Mooney will look to increase his scoring from 18.6 points per game and take the next step in his college career. One component of this team’s success this season will depend on Nick Fuller—a graduate transfer who Smith once recruited to Nebraska.

Smith was courted by Drake in the offseason to become its new head coach, but instead he will return for his fourth season at the helm of the Coyotes. If Smith sees similar success in years to come, his name will begin to circulate coaching circles as a young and promising coach, in turn leading to a bigger program knocking on his door. 

The Dec. 2 contest between South Dakota and Duke will mark the first meeting between the two programs and also the first time that the Coyotes have matched up against an ACC opponent.

One thing that needs to go right: Mooney averages better than 20 points per game, leading South Dakota to a Summit League championship and a NCAA tournament appearance.

One thing that could go wrong: The Coyotes are unable to replace the loss of Tyler Flack and Trey Dickerson as they miss out on yet another NCAA tournament bid.