Southland Tournament Preview

Posted by rtmsf on March 9th, 2010

Russell Burnett is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.

FINAL STANDINGS

EAST

  1. Stephen F. Austin 21-8, 11-5 (pre-season pick #1) First-round opponent – UT-Arlington
  2. SE Louisiana 18-11, 10-6 (pre-season pick #3) First-round opponent – Texas State
  3. Nicholls State 11-18, 7-9 (pre-season pick #2) First-round opponent – Sam Houston State
  4. Northwestern State 10-9, 5-11 (pre-season pick #4) Did not qualify for tournament
  5. McNeese State 10-20, 5-11 (pre-season pick #5) Did not qualify for tournament
  6. Central Arkansas 9-21, 3-13 (pre-season pick #6) Did not qualify for tournament

WEST

  1. Sam Houston State 22-7, 14-2 (pre-season pick #1) First-round opponent – Nicholls State
  2. Texas A&M-CC 15-14, 10-6 (pre-seasoan pick #2) First-round opponent – UTSA
  3. UT-San Antonio 19-10, 9-7 (pre-season pick #3) First-round opponent – A&M-CC
  4. Texas State 15-15, 9-7 (pre-season pick #6) First-round opponent – SE Louisiana
  5. Texas-Arlington 16-13, 8-8 (pre-season pick #4) First-round opponent – SFA
  6. Lamar 14-18, 5-11 (pre-season pick #5) Did not qualify for tournament

SEASON IN REVIEW

The prognosticators were nearly right on target with their preseason polls and selections. Texas State threw a curveball into the mix as both the coaches and sports information directors picked the Bobcats to finish last in the SLC West. Not only did the Bobcats finish in fourth place in the tough West Division, but they also earned a No. 5 seed in the Southland Tournament.

The Southland Conference played a pretty good non-conference schedule in 2009-10, and came away with some impressive victories. Lamar won games against Rice, Tulane and Arkansas State, while Texas State won an early contest over SMU. A&M-Corpus Christi beat Oregon State in the season opener and UTSA beat Iowa in its season opener as well. Sam Houston State pulled off wins over Auburn and Oral Roberts and hung with Kentucky in a 102-92 loss.

Individually, the conference had several strong offensive and defensive players this year. Marquez Haynes (UTA) finished the season averaging 22.8 points per game, which is good enough for fourth place nationally. Haynes had seven games in which he scored 30 or more points and scored in double figures in every game this year. Other top individual performances included: A&M-CC’s Kevin Palmer who hit for 32; SHSU’s Gilberto Clavell’s 34 points against Auburn; UCA’s Mike Rueter’s 31 points versus SHSU; Texas State’s Cameron Johnson (34 points) and John Rybak (30); Lamar’s Justin Nabors’ 24 rebounds against Louisiana College; SELA’s Patrick Sullivan (eight blocks versus Texas State); and Anatoly Bose, who scored a conference-high 46 points against Northwestern State.

THE AWARDS SECTION

The Southland Conference hasn’t announced its awards yet, so here are my picks for the 2009-2010 season:

PLAYER OF THE YEARMarquez Haynes, Senior, UTA. Haynes averaged 22.8 points (1st in the SLC) and 3.8 assists (6th).

NEWCOMER OF THE YEARGilberto Clavell, Junior, SHSU. Clavell played well in the paint with 17 points per game and 6.5 rebounds, while shooting 57 percent from the field.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEARPatrick Sullivan, Senior, Southeastern Louisiana. Was third in rebounding (8.7), second in blocks (3.2) and first in defensive rebounding (6.4).

COACH OF THE YEARBob Marlin, SHSU. Marlin is a finalist for the Hugh Durham Mid-Major Coach of the Year after directing the Kats to a 22-7, 14-2 mark. Marlin is the winningest active coach in the Southland with 222 career victories.

ALL-SLC

First team

  • G – Marquez Haynes, Sr., UTA
  • G – Corey Allmond, Sr., SHSU
  • F – Kevin Palmer, Sr., A&M-CC
  • F – Anatoly Bose, Jr., Nicholls State
  • C – Gilberto Clavell, Jr., SHSU

Second team

  • G – Ashton Mitchell, Sr., SHSU
  • G – Devin Gibson, Jr., UTSA
  • F – Justin Nabors, Sr., Lamar
  • F – Cameron Johnson, Jr., Texas State
  • C – Patrick Sullivan, Sr., SELA

Honorable Mention

  • G – Anthony Miles, So., Lamar
  • G – Eddie Williams, Jr., SFA
  • F – Mitch Rueter, Sr., UCA
  • F – Patrick Richard, So., McNeese State
  • C – Jereal Scott, So., SFA

TOURNAMENT PREDICTIONS

SLC Tournament at the Merrell Center, Katy, Texas

First round, Wednesday, March 10

  • No. 7 UTA vs. No. 2 SFA – The Lumberjacks won the only meeting of the two teams in Nacogdoches this year (72-65). Both teams lost their final game of the year, but the Mavericks are really reeling having lost their last three games. If SFA can contain Marquez Haynes as they did in their lone meeting (7 of 17 from the field) the ‘Jacks will win. SFA wins 69-65.
  • No. 6 UTSA vs. No. 3 A&M-CC – The two teams split the season series, both winning on the road. The Islanders have won three of their last four games, while the Roadrunners have won six of their last seven. The Roadrunners rely on their guards and have basically no inside game, but A&M-CC didn’t dominate them on the boards. Look for Devin Gibson, Morris Smith IV and Omar Johnson to control the game. UTSA wins 62-58.
  • No. 8 Nicholls State vs. No. 1 Sam Houston – Despite the overall differential in standings and seeding, this will be a much closer game than most anticipate. Sam Houston has historically had trouble in the conference tournament and Nicholls State’s Anatoly Bose can go off at anytime to lead the Colonels. In the only meeting between the two teams, SHSU won 75-69 in Thibodaux as SHSU’s Gilberto Clavell only played 19 minutes before fouling out with 11 points and seven turnovers. Look for SHSU’s senior guards Ashton Mitchell and Corey Allmond to spark the Kats, and for Clavell to have a big game. SHSU wins 75-62.
  • No. 5 Texas State vs. No. 4 Southeastern Louisiana – SELA won the only meeting between the two teams 75-66 as Patrick Sullivan went for 23 points and 10 rebounds. Texas State forward Cameron Johnson started to play really well after that defeat and might be able to offer some resistance against Sullivan. Both Texas State and Southeastern Louisiana won the final three games of their conference season. In the end, the Lions have more firepower – SELA wins 70-65.

Second round, Thursday, March 11

  • No. 6 UTSA over No. 2 SFA – 62-58
  • No. 1 SHSU over No. 4 SELA – 74-68

Championship game, Saturday, March 13

  • No. 1 SHSU over No. 6 UTSA – 80-68
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