South Dakota to play Texas Rio Grande Valley in men’s basketball matchup at Sanford Pentagon

Former conference foes meet for first time in more than a decade

The South Dakota men’s basketball team will take on Texas Rio Grande Valley in a non-conference matchup at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Nov. 10. This marks the 12th time the Coyotes will compete at the Sanford Pentagon, while it will be the first time the Vaqueros play on Heritage Court.

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“These programs were once very familiar with each other and bringing them back together on Heritage Court is going to make for a great early season matchup,” said Jesse Smith, vice president of Sanford Sports. “We always love hosting USD at the Pentagon and are excited to welcome Coach Figger and UTRGV to Sioux Falls for the first time.”

South Dakota, a member of the Summit League, is coming off a 12-19 season in head coach Eric Peterson’s first year as leader of the Coyotes. USD’s roster includes several players who competed at the Pentagon during their prep careers, such as Max Burchill of Sioux Falls Lincoln High School and Isaac and Paul Bruns of Dakota Valley High School.

“We are excited to continue our relationship with Sanford and the Pentagon,” said Peterson. “Every time we have played there it has been a tremendous experience for our team. The game is also a great way to engage our alumni, donors and fans in Sioux Falls.”

Texas Rio Grande Valley, a member of the Western Athletic Conference, finished the 2022-23 season with a 15-17 record, nearly doubling its win total from the previous year. Matt Figger enters his third season as head coach of the Vaqueros.

“I’m very excited about this game,” said Figger. “I know they’ve been playing college basketball at the Sanford Pentagon for a long time. It’s something I’ve always followed, and I know a lot of teams have played there. I’m excited to take my team to South Dakota. It’s a part of the United States that I think is a great place to visit that time of year. It’s a place a lot of players have never been to. I know how much they care about their basketball there. We’re really looking forward to the hospitality and visiting Sioux Falls for the first time.”

UTRGV and South Dakota are former Great West Conference opponents, competing five times during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. South Dakota leads the series 4-1, however, all five games have been decided by six points or less, including the most recent matchup, a 75-74 UTRGV victory on March 3, 2011, at the UTRGV Fieldhouse.

South Dakota vs. Texas Rio Grand Valley is the fifth NCAA Division I men’s basketball game announced for this season at the Sanford Pentagon. Auburn plays Baylor on Nov. 7, Nebraska takes on Oregon State on Nov. 18, South Dakota State plays Towson on Dec. 1 and Oregon faces Syracuse on Dec. 17.

Since opening in 2013, the Sanford Pentagon has hosted more than 80 Division I men’s and women’s college basketball games. Last December, the Pentagon hosted a rematch of the 2021 men’s national championship game between No. 6 Baylor and No. 14 Gonzaga. Two weeks later, defending women’s national champions and No. 1 ranked South Carolina defeated South Dakota State on Heritage Court.

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