Checking In On… the Southland Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 20th, 2011

Zach Birdsong is the RTC Correspondent for the Southland Conference. You can also find his musings online at houstonianonline.com or on twitter @zachbird_nerd.

Readers Take

 

The Week That Was

  • Pat Knight Era Begins at Lamar: The Pat Knight era at Lamar University began in earnest last Friday as the Cardinals took on Arkansas State in their home opener. Knight and the Cardinals picked up the win, 65-62, as Brandon Davis led all scorers in the game with 17 points for the game. Devon Lamb also contributed 13 points and picked up 15 rebounds. After that, the team traveled and lost to #8 Louisville, 68-48. Knight and his team endured its first loss of the season. Despite the score, Lamar was able to hang with Louisville for awhile before Rick Pitino’s team took control of the game. Two days later the team fell in their second consecutive game at Ohio in overtime, 85-78, but followed that up with an 18-point pasting of Charlotte on Saturday night.

Pat Knight Takes Over at Lamar

  • Sam Houston A Growing Team:  Last season, the Bearkats won the Southland Conference West Division. However, they lost numerous players including Conference Player of the Year Gilberto Clavell.  This season, Sam Houston has just three returning players, including one starter (Antuan Bootle), so SHSU is still looking to find its identity. In the season opener, the team beat Howard Payne, 76-42, and shot the ball at 40% from the field and 12.5% from three-point range. In the second game of the season, the team traveled to South Bend, dropping a 74-41 game to Notre Dame. SHSU had trouble shooting, with a clip of just 34% from the field, faring even worse from the perimeter. Overall, the young team is shooting 37.2% from the field and 16.1% from beyond the arc. They have also turned the ball over 33 times in two games as they struggle to find consistency.
  • Southland Schools Battle Power Conference Squads: Four schools in the Southland Conference battled teams from the Big 12 and Big East. Last Friday, Texas A&M-CC lost to Oklahoma State; then, on Sunday, November 13, Lamar traveled to Louisville and lost, followed by a game on  Wednesday, November 16, where Sam Houston State traveled to Notre Dame while UTSA lost a heartbreaker to Oklahoma State. Despite not having their leading scorer, Melvin Johnson III, who was serving his second game of suspension for violating team rules, UTSA built a lead before a miracle sequence from Cezar Guerrero eventually sunk the Roadrunners.

Power Rankings

  1. UT-San Antonio (2-1)- The Roadrunners started opened the season with a win against UTEP in El Paso, Texas  The team is currently competing in the pre-season NIT tournament and beat Oral Roberts on Tuesday. The following day, the team traveled to Stillwater and lost a heartbreaker to Oklahoma State in overtime. They resume play on November 21 and November 22 when they take on Colorado State and Fresno state in Fort Collins.  The team has stepped up its play without Melvin Johnson III. In three games this season, the Roadrunners have been led by junior Michael Hale III, who so far this season has averaged 16.3 points and four assists per game.
  2. Texas State (3-1)-The Bobcats started the season with two blowout wins, coming against Texas Lutheran, 101-60 and Howard Payne, 96-55, before defeating Toldeo by three and losing to Texas-Pan American by a bucketon Saturday. The team has done a good job of shooting the ball, but if they want to keep winning, the team must improve its shooting from three-point land. The Bobcats are led by senior forward Brooks Ybarra. In four games, Ybarra has averaged 14.0 points and four rebounds per game while shooting 51.4% from the field and 45% from beyond the arc.
  3. McNeese State (1-2)-In three games this season, the Cowboys find themselves with a 1-2 record. The team opened the season with an 84-62 loss at Auburn, but they were able to bounce back against Louisiana College and won 71-52 before dropping another one to Georgia State Friday night. So far this season, the Cowboys have had trouble shooting. The team is shooting 37.4% from the field and only 18.3% from beyond the arc. They could also benefit from improvement at the stripe, where they sit at 68.2%. Jeremie Mitchell leads the team in scoring with 12.0 points a game while preseason Southland Conference POY Patrick Richard hasn’t looked his best shooting the ball this season.
  4. Lamar (2-2)-The Cardinals opened up the Pat Knight era with a 65-62 win against Arkansas State. The team went on their first road trip of the season and dropped two against #8 Louisville and Ohio before picking up its second win against Charlotte. So far this season, they’ve struggled shooting the ball from inside the arc, outside the arc and at the stripe. Charlie Harper leads the way for the Cardinals and averages 14.3 points per game as well pulling down 10.5 rebounds a game. Brandon Harper, Anthony Miles and Mike James are also averaging double figures when it comes to scoring.
  5. Northwestern State (2-2)-The Demons opened the season with an 87-61 win against Le Tourneau before dropping their first one against Arkansas- Little Rock on the road 72-66; they followed that up with a win against Alabama State before losing to Marshall. In the two games, the Demons are shooting 41.7% from the field and have been shooting 24.7% from three-point territory. Shamir Davis leads the way for the team with 13.8 points per game, while shooting 51.2% from the field. 
  6. Southeastern Louisiana (2-1)-The Lions opened the season with a 67-52 loss against Tulsa before picking up their first win against Spring Hill 71-44 and following it up with another win against Louisiana-Monroe. In the three games, the team is shooting 42.6 percent from the field as well as 34.2 percent from three-point territory. The team has done a good job of controlling the ball as well and has only turned it over 21 times this season. Brandon Fortenberry leads the Lions and scoring, averaging 21 points per game. Fortenberry is shooting 57.5% from the field as well as 50% from beyond the arc. Roosevelt Johnson has also added 14.7 points a game and averaging 7.3 rebounds a game.
  7. UT-Arlington (2-0)-The Mavericks opened the season with a win against East Texas Baptist, 99-64 and followed that up with another win against Louisiana Tech Saturday. If the team wants to continue their winning ways they need to improve their free throw shooting. Against the two teams, UTA shot 57.1% from the free throw stripe. Bo Ingram led the way for the Mavericks and is averaging 15 PPG and five rebounds per contest.
  8. Stephen F. Austin (1-1)-The Lumberjacks started the season with a win against Centenary 84-43 before losing at San Diego, 66-61. In two games this season, the team has shot 49.5% from the field, and shot 31% from three-point territory.  But, the team hasn’t shot free throws well and is shooting 62.5% for the stripe this season. Antonio Bostic leads the team in scoring, averaging 19 points per game. Bostic is shooting 62.5% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc. Desmond Haymon has averaged 12.5 points per game and Jereal Scott has averaged 11.5 points and five rebounds a game.
  9. Sam Houston State (1-1)-The Bearkats opened the season with a win against Howard Payne 76-42 before dropping their first one at Notre Dame, 74-41. In the two games this season, the team has been unable to overcome poor shooting, with a mark of 37.2% from the field and 16.1% from three-point territory. Marcus James and Steven Werner lead the Bearkats in scoring for the Bearkats and have been averaging 12 points a game. Werner is also averaging 9.5 rebounds per game.  After his performance against Howard Payne, Werner was named Southland Conference player of the week. Konner Tucker has added 11 points per game and four rebounds.
  10. Nicholls State (1-3)-The Colonels opened the season with a loss on the road against LSU 96-74 before dropping their next one at Tulane, 96-50; they followed that up with a loss to Cal State Fullerton before finally notching a win against Houston Baptist. The Colonels have shot the ball well in the two losses and have shot 43.8% from the field and 39.2% from three-point territory.  However, the team is shaky from the free throw line, shooting 62.9% from the stripe. The Colonels haven’t held onto the ball and through two games, they have turned the ball over 40 times. Trevon Lewis leads the way for the Colonels, averaging 12 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game. Lewis has shot the ball well, shooting 69.0% from the field as well as 83.3% from beyond the arc.
  11. Texas A&M Corpus Christi (0-2)- The Islanders opened the season with a loss at Oklahoma State 71-39 and then turned around and lost against Denver in their home opener 65-58. So far this season, the Islanders have fared poorly shooting the ball and have shot 38.3% from the field as well as shooting 17.4% from beyond the arc. They also have struggled shooting free throws and are currently shooting 56.8% from the stripe. The team has also had problems holding on to the ball and have turned it over 36 times in two games. Chris Hawkins-Mast leads the Islanders in scoring and averages 12 points a game. Myron Dempsey is also averaging 10.5 points and 6 rebounds per game.
  12. Central Arkansas (0-3)-The Bears opened the season with a loss at Stanford 91-52 and Sacramento State 75-54. They then lost to Philander Smith in their home opener 97-90. The Bears have shot the ball well and through three games, they have shot 44% from the field. However, they have come up short when it comes to shooting three-pointers, shooting 19.6% on the season. They have also struggled to hold on to the ball, turning it over 50 times. LaQuentin Miles leads the scoring for the Bears, averaging 16 points per game, and shooting 65.5 percent from the field. Mark Rutledge is also in double digits scoring and averages 12.3 points per game.

Looking Ahead

November 20: Stephen F. Austin vs. Texas Tech-

  • Stephen F. Austin will travel to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech. TTU has started the season with two straight wins and is shooting 53.4% from the field and 40 % from three point territory.
  • Stephen F. Austin has been shooting the ball 49.5% from the field.
  • If the Lumberjacks can shoot the ball well against Tech and limit their turnovers, this could be a closer game than people expect.

November 26: Sam Houston State University vs. Texas-

  • Sam Houston State will travel to Austin to play Texas.
  • In two games this season, Texas has shot 46.8% from the field, as well as shooting 42.6% from beyond the arc.
  • Sam Houston has struggled offensively, shooting 37.2% from the field and shooting an atrocious 16.1% from three-point territory.
  • If the Bearkats don’t get into an early rhythm shooting the ball, this could be a long game for them.

November 30: Lamar vs. TCU-

  • At the end of November, Lamar will travel to Fort Worth, TX, to take on TCU.
  • In two wins this season, the Horned Frogs have shot 54.5% from the field. They have struggled to hold on to the ball and they have turned it over 38 times.
  • Lamar has struggled shooting the ball and as of November 17, they have shot the ball at 33.3% from the field and 26.3% from three-point territory.
  • If the Cardinals can open up and shoot the ball well and create turnovers, they could make this a contest. However, if TCU gets hot early, Lamar could be in trouble.

POY Stock Watch

  1. G Brandon Fortenberry, Southeastern Louisiana. Fortenberry leads the Lions and scoring, averaging 20 points per game and is shooting 51.9% from the field as well as 50% from beyond the arc.  Because of this performance, he is trending upwards.
  2. F Steven Werner, Sam Houston. Werner is trending upwards and this season is averaging 12 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Werner was named Southland Conference Player of the Week after the first week of the season.
  3. F Patrick Richard, McNeese State. Richard is trending downwards as he has struggled shooting the ball this season. While he is averaging 12 points a game, Richards has been shooting a dismal 29.2% from the field.
  4. G Michael Hale III, UTSA. Hale is trending upwards and so far this season has averaged 16.3 points a game and four assists per game.
  5. F Brooks Ybarra, Texas State. Ybarra is trending upwards as he has been averaging 15 points and four rebounds a game while shooting 56.3% from the field and 55% from beyond the arc.
Brian Goodman (748 Posts)

Brian Goodman a Big 12 microsite writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BSGoodman.


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