Behind the Numbers: The Other Guys of the Year

Posted by KCarpenter on February 16th, 2011

Kellen Carpenter is an RTC contributor.

The Player of the Year race in college basketball is an interesting and bizarre thing. The most talented player is rarely selected, and the winner is seldom a National Champion. I don’t want to go so far as to say the race is a popularity contest, but it’s something akin to one. Instead of picking the best player, the voters like to pick the most emblematic player, or failing that, the most interesting. Oh, and that player has to almost inevitably be a bit of a ball hog. Evan Turner was not the best basketball player in the country last year, as fans of the Philadelphia 76ers know all too well, but he was a skilled-enough, multi-talented player on a pedigreed team that won a lot of games. With that logic in mind, it’s pretty safe to pencil in Jimmer Freddete, Jared Sullinger, Derrick Williams, Kemba Walker or Nolan Smith as the front-runners of that race. This was true in December, as well. I don’t want to say that the national Player of the Year race is dead, just that it’s perpetually unsurprising, even if the final result does have that extra spice of arbitrariness thrown in for good measure.

Walker Headlines a Strong NPOY Group of Candidates

So instead of breaking down the Player of the Year race and debating just how good, on the scale of really good to incredibly good all those familiar faces are, I thought we could take some time to show some love to some mostly unfamiliar faces who are having extraordinary and superlative seasons of their own. Maybe they don’t play a great all-around game, maybe their teams don’t win, and maybe some of them aren’t good so much as weird, but let’s celebrate them all anyway. We need a name for this party, though, so let’s call it the Other Guys of the Year Awards, dig into the depths of Ken Pomeroy’s stats tables, and hand out some imaginary statuettes.

The first awards go to a pair of players who play for the same team in the Big South. The Iron Man Award goes to Khalid Mutakabbir of Presbyterian who has played 96.1% of all available minutes, a greater percentage than any other player in Division I. Mutakabbir has used those minutes well, shooting a high percentage from the field, and a very impressive 51.7% from beyond the three-point line. The Ultimate Ball-Hog Award goes to Mutakabbir’s teammate, Al’Lonzo Coleman, who somehow comes off the bench, yet uses 36.3% of all possessions, more than The Jimmer himself. While Coleman is undoubtedly president of the Ball-Hog Club, let’s give some special recognition to the other players who, despite living outside the national limelight, have managed to dominate the ball more than Mr. Fredette: Special thanks to Keion Bell of Pepperdine, Anatoly Bose of Nicholls State, Brandon Bowdry of Eastern Michigan, Adrian Oliver of San Jose State, and Will Pratt from Northwestern State. You have all out-Jimmered the Jimmer, except for, you know, the winning games thing.

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Checking in on… the Southland

Posted by Brian Goodman on January 14th, 2011

Russell Burnett is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.

A Look Back

  • Statistically Speaking: The McNeese State Cowboys lead the East Division in the Southland Conference with a 2-0 mark, but they don’t lead in any of the team statistical categories. Individually, senior P.J. Alawoya leads the SLC in defensive rebounding with 5.7 boards per game.
  • Two D-I Wins: Suffice it to say that the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders played a tough non-conference schedule, but the season still hasn’t been what their fans thought it would be. The Islanders’ only D-I wins have come over Bethune-Cookman and the University of Houston en route to a disappointing 5-11 mark thus far.
  • Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Heralded Kentucky transfer A.J. Stewart played in all of 12 games before being dismissed by Texas State. It is unclear why the 6’9 forward was kicked off the team. He averaged 9.1 points and 6.3 rebounds in 12 games.
  • Player of the Week: Lamar guard Mike James made national headlines by scoring 52 points against Louisiana College to earn SLC Player of the Week honors. James followed up the outburst with 22 points against Central Arkansas.

Power Rankings

  1. Stephen F. Austin (10-4, 1-1) – The Lumberjacks barely hold down the No. 1 spot after losing their SLC opener to Southeastern Louisiana 64-54, but bounced back with a win over Central Arkansas. SFA faces big tests in UTSA and UT-Arlington next week.
  2. McNeese State (10-5, 2-0) jumps up from No. 5 into the second spot after going 2-0 to open SLC play with wins over A&M-CC and Lamar. Patrick Richard (14.9 ppg) and Diego Kapelan (13.7 ppg.) remain the steady forces for the Cowboys, who test Texas State and SELA next week.
  3. Sam Houston State (8-7, 1-1) – The Bearkats hang onto the No. 3 spot by the skin of their teeth after a road win over UTSA and a home loss to UT-Arlington. Gilberto Clavell continues to carry SHSU on his back, but teams are starting to realize the Kats don’t have very good perimeter shooting and are double-teaming Clavell (19.3 ppg).
  4. Southeastern Louisiana (7-6, 1-0) – The Lions make the move from No. 7 to No. 4 by virtue of a ten-point win over Stephen F. Austin in their SLC home opener. SELA faces A&M-CC and McNeese State in its next two games.
  5. UTSA (7-7, 1-1) – The Roadrunners barely lost to SHSU, then defeated A&M-CC to even its SLC mark. Two games next week against SFA and Northwestern State will give the UTSA faithful a look at how good this team might be.
  6. Nicholls State (7-6, 1-1) – The Colonels played a very tough non-conference schedule and split their first two conference games. Anatoly Bose (23.5 points per game) needs help, and he often gets it from Fred Hunter (15.8 ppg), but after those two players, it’s rough for the Colonels to score. NSU faces Sam Houston and Central Arkansas in its next two contests.
  7. UT-Arlington (7-8, 1-1) – The Mavericks were hammered by Nicholls State 66-48 in the conference opener, then went on the road to dispose of SHSU. LaMarcus Reed III and Bo Ingram are the only starters in double figures. UTA will host both Lamar and A&M-CC and try to improve to 3-1.
  8. Northwestern State (9-8, 1-1) – The Demons could be ranked higher, but drop from No. 4 after losing five of their last six, including an embarrassing defeat to LSU Shreveport. Northwestern State bounced back and topped NSU 73-64. Things could get better as they face UCA and UTSA.
  9. Lamar (7-8, 1-1) – The Cardinals stay in the No. 9 spot after splitting their first two conference games. With his 52-point scoring effort, Mike James leads the Cardinals in scoring at 15.3 ppg. Lamar hits the road to play Texas-Arlington then battles Arkansas State in a non-SLC game.
  10. Texas State (6-9, 1-0) – The Bobcats move up from the cellar after winning their last three games. A huge week lies ahead with a road game against McNeese State and a home game with Sam Houston. Cameron Johnson (13.4 ppg) is rounding back into form as he has scored 18, 19, 19 in his last three games.
  11. Texas A&M-CC (5-11, 0-2) – The Islanders aren’t getting much from their backcourt or from senior forward Justin Reynolds these days. McNeese put a 72-49 whipping on A&M-CC, then it fell to UTSA. Reynolds averaged 8.5 points and four rebounds in the losses. Terence Jones leads the team with a meager 2.3 assists per game.
  12. Central Arkansas (4-11, 0-2) – Having lost five of their last six, the Bears started the SLC schedule with two losses. UCA doesn’t put up many impressive stats as their leading scorer, Imad Qahwash, averages 12.8 points and Chris Henson paces the team with 5.3 rebounds. Northwestern State and Nicholls State are on tap for the Bears.

A Look Ahead

After getting all the butterflies out in the first week of conference play, things will heat up this week. Nicholls State travels to Huntsville in a rematch of last year’s first-round SLC conference tilt. Bose scored 40 on the Bearkats in the loss. Other games of note include SFA on the road against UTSA on Saturday. McNeese State will battle Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond on Wednesday, Jan. 19.

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Checking in on… the Southland

Posted by Brian Goodman on December 19th, 2010

Russell Burnett is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.

A Look Back

  • Puzzling Player: Stephen F. Austin senior Eddie Williams was selected as a preseason first-team Southland Conference pick, but the 6’2 guard is having a down year thus far. Williams is averaging only seven points and three rebounds after putting up 13 points and six boards a year ago. His shooting percentage is down nearly 16 points from last year – 51.5% last year compared to 35.9% this season.
  • Roadrunner from Australia: Texas-San Antonio freshman Jeromie Hill, from Cairns, Australia, is making an early case for Newcomer of the Year. Hill has scored in double figures in all but one game and is averaging 14.6 points and 6.5 rebounds. His best game came against Evansville, when he tallied 27 points and 12 rebounds.
  • Surprise, Surprise, Surprise: Two players who were going to be counted on by their teams have stepped up their beyond expectations this year. Texas State senior guard Tony Bishop has scored in double figures in all eight games this year after hitting double figures only 10 times last year. The 6’6 forward is averaging 13 points and 10 rebounds, compared to seven points and five boards last year. Demond Watt, a 6’8 forward for the Islanders, could challenge for player of the year honors if he keeps up his current pace. Watt is averaging 16.6 points and 10.2 rebounds and is the only Texas A&M-CC player scoring in double figures.
  • Player of the Week – UTSA junior forward Stephen Franklin earned the award after going for 18 points and nine rebounds in a five-point loss to the University of Houston. Players named as honorable mention for the award include David Ndoumba (SELA), Patrick Richard (McNeese), Gilberto Clavell (SHSU) and Jereal Scott (SFA).

Power Rankings

  1. Stephen F. Austin (6-2) – The Lumberjacks’ only two losses have come at the hands of Big 12 members Texas A&M and Texas Tech. SFA could be 10-2 heading into Southland Conference play with the biggest challenge coming December 20 at UTEP.
  2. UTSA (6-2) – The Roadrunners have played a pretty good non-conference schedule and could be sitting at 8-0, but fell on the road to Evansville and UC-Riverside. They open SLC play at home against Sam Houston State.
  3. Sam Houston State (5-3) – The Bearkats fell from the top spot of the power rankings, but their losses have come at the hands of the University of Texas, the University of Houston and Cleveland State. Gilberto Clavell leads the team with 19.8 points and 8.1 rebounds.
  4. Northwestern State (7-3) – The Demons have won six of their last seven games with the three losses coming against LSU, Memphis and Indiana. Will Pratt (17.5 PPG) and Devon Baker (15.7 PPG) lead NW State in scoring.
  5. McNeese State (6-4) – The Cowboys have three players in double figures and will have a big best right before conference play starts when they face No. 25 Texas A&M in College Station.
  6. Nicholls State (5-4) – As senior forward Anatoly Bose goes, so go the Colonels, but at times, even Bose can’t do enough. Bose is averaging 25 points a game and has topped 30 points twice. Fred Hunter provides help with 15 points a game.
  7. Southeastern Louisiana (5-3) – The Lions face two SEC teams before conference play begins. SELA hits the road to play Vanderbilt and Mississippi before opening up at home versus SFA. Senior Trent Hutchins paces the squad with 16.6 points per contest.
  8. UT-Arlington (5-3) – After four wins in a row, the Mavericks have fallen twice to North Texas and Samford, respectively. Freshman Darius Richardson was a heralded recruit coming out of Fort Bend Bush High School, and he is living up to the status, averaging 9.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists in his first go-round.
  9. Lamar (5-4) – The Cardinals played Texas tough before going down 76-55, then had Rice down by ten at halftime before losing, 75-73. Is Lamar close to tunring the corner? Senior guard Kendrick Harris paces the team in scoring at 12.8 points a clip.
  10. Texas A&M-CC (3-6) – The tough schedule continues for the Islanders as they face Houston, Memphis and Texas Tech before conference begins. They have defeated only one Division-I opponent in Bethune Cookman.
  11. Central Arkansas (3-7) – The Bears have beaten only one Division I foe in Chicago State and have #13 Missouri and Oklahoma on tap. Their leading scorer, Chris Henson, averages a paltry ten points per game.
  12. Texas State (2-6) – A preseason full of hope has turned ugly thus far. The Bobcats have lost five straight, including a 14-point defeat at home to Texas Southern. Senior Cameron Johnson is a preseason all-SLC pick, but is having a hard time staying on the court. The 6’7 forward is only playing 19 minutes a game and has fouled out of two contests and picked up four fouls in two more games.

A Look Ahead

The Southland Conference slate begins in three weeks on January 8 with a full allotment of games. In the meantime, SLC schools will play the likes of Missouri, Vanderbilt, Memphis, Ole Miss, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas A&M.

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Checking in on… the Southland

Posted by Brian Goodman on December 4th, 2010

A Look Back

  • Off to Greener Pastures: The University of Texas-San Antonio and Texas State were offered and accepted membership on Nov. 11, 2010 into the Western Athletic Conference beginning in 2012.
  • Suprise addition: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi received news before the season that guard Garland Judkins would be eligible to play this season. The 6’4 junior left Arizona in January, but was granted a hardship waiver by the NCAA after his father’s death. Judkins is averaging 6.4 points per game.
  • Top This Schedule: Southland Conference men’s basketball teams have played a murderous schedule thus far. Opponents to date include: Houston, LSU (twice), Washington, Oregon State, Texas A&M (twice), Oklahoma State (twice), Memphis, UNLV, Texas Tech, Kansas, Texas (twice), Miami and Indiana.
  • Players of the Week: Anatoly Bose, Nicholls State – The senior from Sydney, Australia, averaged 29 points in four games to grab Week 1 honors. His performances included a 28-point performance against LSU and a 37-point outburst against Oklahoma State (twice). Bose nailed five 3-pointers against OSU, which is one short of his career best.
  • Sam Houston State senior Gilberto Clavell earned Week 2 honors by posting a season-high 29 points to lead the Bearkats past Colorado State 92-81.

Power Rankings

  1. Sam Houston State (4-1) – Last year’s SLC representative in the NCAA Tournament hasn’t done much to hurt its reputation, but doesn’t exactly look like world beaters either. SHSU came back from a big halftime deficit to blast Colorado State, but looked terrible in a 34-point loss to Texas. Until the Bearkats fall off the wagon and lose a couple of games, it’s likely they will stay atop the power rankings. Gilberto Clavell is still a monster down low, averaging 19 points and eight rebounds.
  2. Stephen F. Austin (4-2) – The Lumberjacks are right on SHSU’s heels, especially after giving Texas A&M all it could handle this week in a 62-53 loss. Both Jereal Scott and Jordan Glynn lead SFA in scoring at 13.8 PPG, while Denzel Barnes is doing a nice job running the team. The Jacks will need senior guard Eddie Williams to step up his play as he is averaging 6.5 points this year compared to 13.3 last year.
  3. Nicholls State (3-2) – The Colonels have played a tough schedule thus far and have done well against the big boys. Anatoly Bose, arguably the league’s best player, is averaging 27.4 points and hit for 28 in a 62-53 win over LSU. NSU’s two losses have come at the hands of Oklahoma State and Houston.
  4. Southeastern Louisiana (4-1) – The Lions lost post Patrick Sullivan to the NBA D-League, but senior guard Trent Hutchin has helped ease that loss by averaging 20.7 ppg. SELA’s non-conference schedule thus far leaves a little to be desired, but they have won the games they were supposed to win.
  5. Northwestern State (5-3) – Just like most of the other top teams in the conference, the Demons have lost to the top teams in the country and taken wins from schools in lower classifications. Both Will Pratt (19.1) and Devon Baker (15.9) have pushed their scoring averages up from a year ago. Freshman guard Gary Stewart has been a nice surprise as NW State’s third-leading scorer.
  6. UTSA (4-2) – The Roadrunners have two veterans and one newcomer who look like they’ll carry the load this year. Senior Devin Gibson (16 PPG), sophomore Melvin Johnson III (14.7) and true freshman Jeromie Hill (14.2) have paced UTSA so far. The Roadrunners have traveled far and wide to collect their two losses – on the road to Evansville and UC-Riverside.
  7. UT-Arlington (5-2) – Despite a nice non-conference record, the Mavericks have played a poor schedule. They have four wins over NAIA schools and have losses to Oregon State and North Texas. LaMarcus Reed II has pushed his scoring average up almost nine points from a year ago to 17 PPG. The Mavericks are a young team with only one senior and four juniors on the roster.
  8. Lamar (4-3) – It may take some time for the Cardinals to mesh as they have 11 new players on the roster, including seven JuCo transfers. Lamar has played four of its seven games on the road and played #19 Texas tough before bowing by 21 points. Senior Kendrick Harris leads the team with 12.4 points per game.
  9. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (3-5) – The Islanders have played one of the toughest schedules in the conference to date, including three teams from the Big 12. Senior forward Demond Watt has been a monster on the glass with four double-figure games to go with 16.7 points a game. TAMU-CC will have to get more production from 6’9 senior forward Justin Reynolds (8.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG) if they want to make a push when conference play begins.
  10. McNeese State (3-3) – The Cowboys’ top two scorers (Diego Kapelan and Patrick Richard) from a year ago return and they will have to keep producing for any hope of a winning season. MSU came back from a 43-25 halftime deficit to defeat Louisiana-Lafayette on December 1, and Cowboy fans hope that comeback will be a sign of things to come.
  11. Texas State (2-3) – Prognosticators picked Texas State to be one of the surprise teams in the SLC this year, but an influx of transfers haven’t jelled yet. The Bobcats have played only one game on the road, and lost by one point at home to NAIA school Our Lady of the Lake. While senior Tony Bishop has been a nice surprise by improving his scoring by seven points a game and rebounding by six per game, preseason all-SLC pick Cameron Johnson is down in scoring and rebounding.
  12. Central Arkansas (2-4) – Two wins over NAIA schools and two fairly close losses to SMU and Oklahoma State won’t get the Bears out of the power rankings cellar. Imad Qahwash has become the go-to guy (13.7 PPG) despite only averaging six points last year, but the biggest surprise has been Chris Henson’s 12.5 points so far versus 1.5 last season.

A Look Ahead

  • The next two weeks will be more of the same for SLC teams as they will face Marquette, Wichita State, Mississippi State, Texas, LSU, Missouri and Vanderbilt.
  • Conference play begins in just more than a month on January 8, and in the meantime, several Southland Conference schools will try to get freshmen and JuCo transfers on the same page as the veterans on their teams.
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RTC 2010-11 Impact Players: National Wrap-Up

Posted by rtmsf on November 8th, 2010

Over the past month-plus, we’ve been presenting our RTC Impact Players for the 2010-11 season. From coast to coast and the Canadian border down to Mexico, we’ve selected the sixty players nationally who we believe will have the most impact on the game this year.  Each of the ten geographic regions was allotted five “starters” and a “sixth man,” an artificial construct that was easy to fill in some areas while much more difficult in some of the others.  In case you’ve missed the series along the way, this post will serve as your wrap-up.  We’re rank-ordering the ten “teams” by geographic region and list some of the near-miss players in each one.  Each regional post has a much more extensive writeup on each player chosen, so be sure to click on its respective link if you’re looking for additional information.  Here’s the view of the 2010-11 college basketball world from 500,000 feet.

The 2010-11 RTC Impact Players Map

The Ten Regions

(* denotes current injury, suspension or ineligibility)

1. Lower Midwest Region (OH, IN, IL). Wow, and imagine if Robbie Hummel hadn’t gotten hurt.  Another group of first-rounders has everything, but what really sets this team apart is the inside dominance that Sullinger and Johnson can impose.  There isn’t a region on our list this year that would be able to stay out of foul trouble against those two, especially with the heady play of Mack, McCamey and Moore finding the big men in the right spots time and time again.  It’s no coincidence that the nation’s best conference — the Big 10 — has its footprint located here.

  • Shelvin Mack, G, Butler
  • E’Twaun Moore, G, Purdue
  • Chris Wright, F, Dayton
  • Jared Sullinger, F, Ohio State
  • JaJuan Johnson, C, Purdue
  • Demetri McCamey, G, Illinois (6th)

Near Misses: William Buford, Ohio State; Maurice Creek, G, Indiana; John Shurna, Northwestern

2. South Atlantic Region (VA, NC, SC). Obviously, if you can’t find a space for a likely all-american like Nolan Smith, this is a sick team.  Its only weakness is that other than Tracy Smith, it is extremely perimeter-oriented.  Granted, nobody can put a more talented five on the floor, but if a team like the above can pound the ball inside on them, that could make the difference.

  • Kyrie Irving, G, Duke
  • Malcolm Delaney, G, Virginia Tech
  • Kevin Anderson, G, Richmond
  • Harrison Barnes, F, UNC
  • Kyle Singler, F, Duke
  • Tracy Smith, F, NC State (6th)

Near Misses: Nolan Smith, Duke; Andrew Goudelock, College of Charleston

3. Plains/Mountains Region (KS, CO, WY, OK, TX). This is a ridiculously talented region, with first-rounders everywhere on the floor.  The only possible issue would be who would be willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the team, but if Selby is eligible to run the show, we’re not sure there’s a much better group anywhere else in America.  This region is so strong we had to leave a high-major conference POY (Culpepper) off the team.  Wow.

  • LaceDarius Dunn*, G, Baylor
  • Jacob Pullen, G, Kansas State
  • Perry Jones, F, Baylor
  • Marcus Morris, F, Kansas
  • Cory Higgins, F, Colorado
  • Josh Selby*, Kansas (6th)

Near Misses: Alec Burks, Colorado; Gary Johnson, Texas; Randy Culpepper, UTEP

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RTC 2010-11 Impact Players – Deep South Region

Posted by rtmsf on October 14th, 2010

It’s October.  The leaves are starting to turn colors.  Halloween candy is already in the stores.  There have been a few nights where you may have even turned on the heat.  Midnight Madness is imminent and RTC is full bore into the 2010-11 Season Preview materials headfirst.  For the second October in a row, we’re bringing you our RTC Impact Players series.  The braintrust has gone back and forth on this and we’ve finally settled on a group of sixty players throughout ten geographic regions of the country (five starters plus a sixth man) to represent the who and where of players you should be watching this season.  Seriously, if you haven’t seen every one of these players ball at least once by the end of February, then you need to figure out a way to get a better television package.  As always in a subjective analysis such as this, some of our decisions were difficult; many others were quite easy.  What we can say without reservation is that there is great talent in every corner of this nation of ours, and we’ll do our best to excavate it over the next five weeks in this series that will publish on Mondays and Thursdays.  Each time, we’ll also provide a list of some of the near-misses as well as the players we considered in each region, but as always, we welcome you guys, our faithful and very knowledgeable readers, to critique us in the comments.

You can find all previous RTC 2010-11 Impact Players posts here.

Deep South Region (GA, FL, AL, MS, LA)

  • Chris Warren – Sr, G – Ole Miss. Returning from a torn ACL he suffered just 12 games into his sophomore season in 2008-09, Ole Miss’ Chris Warren had some folks concerned after his first game back last season when he played only 27 minutes, scored just nine points, and struggled with a 3-11 shooting night against Arkansas-Little Rock. Six days later, though, he and his fellow Rebels cruised down to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in San Juan, where Warren scored 16, 27 and 24 points, respectively, in wins against Indiana and Kansas State and a loss in the final to Villanova. He averaged just under 32 minutes over those three contests and shot a combined 23-45, and, perhaps more importantly, put to bed any remaining fears about the status of that knee. Warren would go on to start all 35 games last year, average 32.9 MPG (tops on his team) and put up only two other single-digit scoring efforts for the whole season. His 17.2 PPG from last season means he’s the second-leading returning scorer in the SEC, trailing only Georgia’s Trey Thompkins by half of a point. When you hear numbers like this, it’s easy to forget that the guy’s doing all this as a 5’10 point guard, another testament to his toughness. Despite his role at the point, ignoring his outside shot isn’t recommended, either; he finished 14th in the nation with 3.4 threes per game, and led the SEC in three-point shooting in league games at 43.8%. Warren’s achievements earned him an all-SEC second team slot last year and we’re certain to see him on the Bob Cousy Award nominee list (again), and wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a finalist. If Mississippi is to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nine years, head coach Andy Kennedy will need that kind of final season from his floor leader.

You May Not Yet Know Thompkins, But You Will

  • Trey Thompkins – Jr, F – Georgia. After toiling behind Florida and Kentucky for years in the SEC, Mark Fox has the Bulldogs poised for a resurgence. While many Georgia fans are focused on the recruitment of Kentavious Caldwell and Julian Royal this year, Thompkins along with Travis Leslie (below) could lead the Bulldogs back to the NCAA Tournament. After an exceptional sophomore season where he averaged 17.7 PPG and 8.3 RPG and briefly considered leaving Athens to enter the NBA Draft, Thompkins has a legitimate chance at being a 20/10 player this year, which is something that only Artsiom Parakhouski and Omar Samhan did last year and neither Radford nor St. Mary’s play in the SEC. Most NBA Draft experts already had Thompkins pegged as a borderline first round pick after last season and he should only improve on that as he continues to refine his game. With his combination of a solid outside game to match a developing inside game Thompkins has more than made up for his primary weakness—his relative lack of explosiveness—to become one of the top power forwards in the country. Unfortunately that was hidden from most of the country as the Bulldogs were buried on regional coverage as they managed a meager five SEC wins last season. If Leslie learns to translate some of that athleticism into a more complete overall game and Fox is able to get production out of freshman Marcus Thornton and transfer Gerald Robinson, the Bulldogs could be in the second tier of SEC teams this year just being UF and UK, but still in the spotlight enough that we get to see much more of Thompkins. Although you will probably see more of Leslie on ESPN’s highlight reel-laden recaps on television, if you look at the box score you will end up seeing that it is more likely that Thompkins did the majority of the hard work. Now that Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins have left Kentucky, Thompkins should be the top inside player in the SEC (at least until the NCAA figures out what to do with Enes Kanter) and has a chance to contend for SEC Player of the Year.

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RTC Conference Primers: #23 – Southland Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 12th, 2010

Russell Burnett is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.

Predicted Order of Finish

East Division

  1. Southeastern Louisiana (13-3)
  2. Nicholls State (10-6)
  3. Lamar (9-7)
  4. Northwestern State (6-10)
  5. McNeese State (5-11)
  6. Central Arkansas (3-13)

West Division

  1. Stephen F. Austin (13-3)
  2. Sam Houston State (12-4)
  3. Texas State (9-7)
  4. UTSA (7-9)
  5. A&M-Corpus Christi (6-10)
  6. Texas-Arlington (3-13)

All-Conference Team (key stats from last season in parentheses)

  • Anatoly Bose (F) – Nicholls State (21.1 ppg, 86 three-pointers made)
  • Gilberto Clavell (F) – Sam Houston (17.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg)
  • A.J. Stewart (C) – Texas State (5.7 PPG in 2008-09 for Kentucky)
  • Anthony Miles (G) – Lamar (14 ppg, 3.0 apg)
  • Devin Gibson (G) – UT-San Antonio (12.5 ppg, 4.4 apg)

Sixth Man

  • Cameron Johnson (F) – Texas State (14.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg)

Impact Newcomer

  • A.J. Stewart (F) – Texas State pulled in several transfers, but none bigger than the 6’9 Kentucky transfer. Having played in 29 games for the Wildcats as a sophomore, Stewart could have a big impact in a league not known for fielding a plethora of big men. Stewart led Arlington Country Day (Fla.) High School to three straight state championships.

A.J. Stewart, formerly a bench player with Kentucky, hopes to celebrate an expanded role with Texas State. (ukwildcatcountry.com)

What You Need to Know

  • The Southland is a two-division league and made a change during the offseason. Stephen F. Austin moved from the East Division to the West and Lamar jumped from the West to the East.
  • The Merrell Center in Katy is the site of the 2011 Southland Conference Basketball Tournament. This is the third straight year the tournament has been played at a neutral site.
  • The five-year transition process for Central Arkansas‘ athletic department is over. The school has now gained Division I active membership and will be eligible for postseason play in the Southland Conference and at the national level.
  • There was a shake-up on the coaching front of a couple of teams in the offseason. Central Arkansas hired former Razorback great Corliss Williamson as its head coach, while Sam Houston State promoted assistant Jason Hooten after longtime coach Bob Marlin took over the helm at Louisiana-Lafayette.

Predicted Champion

Stephen F. Austin (NCAA seed: #15). The Lumberjacks were beaten in the tournament championship game by rival Sam Houston State last year. Head Coach Danny Kaspar always has his team in contention and this year his team-oriented style of play could reap benefits as the conference is void of any big-time NBA caliber talent. It could be a toss-up with Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston, but both teams should come out of the West bloodied, but not beaten.

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    Summer School in the Southland Conference

    Posted by Brian Goodman on August 14th, 2010


    Russell Burnett is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.

    Around The SLC:

    • Back To School: Former NBA lottery pick Corliss Williamson was hired as head coach of the University of Central Arkansas on March 12. Williamson was an NCAA All-American at the University of Arkansas and an NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons. Williamson coached the last three years at Arkansas Baptist.
    • Out With The Old, In With The New: Sam Houston State University hired assistant coach Jason Hooten to run the Bearkats’ operation after long-time head coach Bob Marlin fled to greener pastures as he accepted the job at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. ULL hired Marlin after he led SHSU to the NCAA Tournament, where the Kats lost a close game to Baylor. Marlin coached the Bearkats for 12 years.
    • UTSA Sticks With Thompson: The University of Texas-San Antonio decided its program is in good hands with Brooks Thompson at the helm and gave him a three-year contract extension through the 2014-15 season. Thompson has coached the Roadrunners for four years and checks in with a career mark of 37-51, but posted a winning campaign of 17-12 in 2009-10.
    • Called Up: The wait is finally over for Central Arkansas, which was notified in mid-July by the NCAA that the school achieved Division-I active membership after a five-year transition process.
    • Latching On: After concluding their basketball careers, former SLC players Patrick Sullivan (Southeastern Louisiana) and Kevin Palmer (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) both found their way onto NBA Summer League rosters in July. Sullivan played for the Memphis Grizzlies, while Palmer ran the court for the Washington Wizards.
    • Parlez Vous Francais: Former UT-Arlington guard Marquez Haynes signed a contract with Chalon in the French First Division to begin playing in 2010-11. Haynes averaged 22.6 points per game last year.

    Corliss Williamson takes the reins at UCA, but is he ready for the challenge? (ucasports.com)

    Power Rankings:

    EAST

    1. Nicholls State (11-19, 7-9): The Colonels had an up-and-down season, but finished strong with a close 62-57 loss to SLC champion SHSU in the conference tournament. The big news for the Colonels is that they didn’t have a single senior on the roster, therefore, all five starters return, including first-team all-SLC pick Anatoly Bose (21.1 PPG). This will be a big jump for Nicholls, but they definitely have the offensive firepower to make a run.
    2. Southeastern Louisiana (19-12, 10-6): The Lions only lost one star player, but Patrick Sullivan is a huge loss. The 6’9 Sullivan led SELA with 15.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game last season and could find himself on an NBA roster when the season begins. The Lions will have their next six top scorers returning, but will have to find someone to man the middle. Read the rest of this entry »
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    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.

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    Checking in on… the Southland

    Posted by jstevrtc on February 13th, 2010

    Russell Burnett is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.

    Current Standings as of Feb. 12, 2010:

    EAST

    1. Stephen F. Austin 17-6 (7-3)
    2. SE Louisiana 13-9 (5-4)
    3. McNeese State 8-15 (3-6)
    4. Nicholls State 7-16 (3-7)
    5. Northwestern State 7-15(2-7)
    6. Central Arkansas 8-16 (2-8)

    WEST

    1. Sam Houston State 17-5 (9-0)
    2. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 13-10 (7-2)
    3. Texas-Arlington 13-9 (5-4)
    4. Lamar 13-11 (5-4)
    5. Texas State 11-13 (5-5)
    6. UT-San Antonio 13-9 (3-6)

    PLAYER OF THE WEEK

    UT-Arlington senior Marquez Haynes has been named the Southland Conference men’s basketball player of the week for the fourth time this season after averaging 26 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in wins over A&M-Corpus Christi and Northwestern State.

    TEAM UPDATES

    EAST

    SFA – The Lumberjacks were seemingly on cruise control in the SLC East until it hit a bump in the road with a 49-46 loss to Lamar. SFA faces two Louisiana schools in McNeese State and Southeastern Louisiana.

    SELA – Despite playing without their second- (Damon Forest) and fifth- (Gary Dixon) leading scorers, the Lions have managed to stay in second place in the SLC East. The two players have been suspended indefinitely since Jan. 28. SELA faces Nicholls State and UTA this week.

    MCNEESE STATE – Struggling with several other teams to make the SLC tourney, the Cowboys lost both games last week to UTA and Texas State. McNeese has a tough road game against SFA, then it hosts NW State.

    NICHOLLS STATE - Was crushed 71-46 by A&M-CC, then fell to SHSU 75-69 on Feb. 10 for their fourth straight SLC loss. The Colonels will attempt to right the ship with a road game against SELA and a home date with Texas State.

    NORTHWESTERN STATE – Three straight SLC losses places the Demons at the bottom of the food chain in the conference. NW State lost a heartbreaker to UTA on a last-second shot, then fell to SFA by 10. The Demons could get back into the thick of the East Divison with games against Central Arkansas and McNeese State this week.

    UCA – Snapped a five-game conference losing streak with a 72-64 victory over UTSA. Also played undefeated SHSU close in a 75-70 loss. The Bears try to draw even with Northwestern State, then host Texas-Arlington on Feb. 20.

    WEST

    SHSU - Sam Houston State remained undefeated in Southland Conference play with a 75-69 win at Nicholls on Wednesday night. The Bearkats climbed to No. 76 in the RPI and are ranked No. 23 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll. Another big week awaits the Kats as they face second-place A&M-CC and rival Lamar this week.

    A&M-CC - Got back on the winning track after suffering two straight setbacks. The Islanders defeated Nicholls State (71-46) and Texas State (63-60) last week. A&M-Corpus Christi can inch a step closer to first-place SHSU as the two teams face off Saturday.

    UTA - Started the SLC slate by losing four of its first five games, but has responded by reeling off four straight wins. The Mavericks face two tough tests as they hit the road to play UTSA, then host Southeastern Louisiana.

    LAMAR - Three straight wins (UTSA, UCA, SFA) vaulted the Cardinals back into the mix for a Southland Conference tourney berth after starting league play 2-4. Lamar is at pesky Texas State, then hosts Sam Houston State this week.

    TEXAS STATE - Has surprised a few prognosticators with its 5-5 mark in SLC play. The Bobcats split this week, beating McNeese State and falling by three to A&M-Corpus. This week will be interesting as TSU hosts Lamar, who is one game up on them in the standings, and travels to Nicholls State.

    UTSA – The Roadrunners broke a five-game conference losing streak by besting SELA on Feb. 6, but the euphoria was short-lived as they fell to cellar-dweller Central Arkansas four nights later. Two tough games await in UTA and A&M-CC.

    BOXSCORE BREAKDOWN

    Lately, SELA center Patrick Sullivan is setting season-highs left and right. The 6’9 center made and attempted (9 of 16) season-highs in free throws on Feb. 3, then set a season-high with eight blocks in the same game against Texas State.

    Nicholls State’s Anatoly Bose cooled down considerably this week. The 6’6 Australian averaged 32.7 PPG in his last four games before scoring 11 and 19 points in two games this week.

    Marquez Haynes made the game-winning shot with 4.3 seconds remaining to lift the UTA Mavericks to an 81-80 victory over Northwestern State, and finished with 32 points.

    This is the third time in the past four seasons SHSU has had at least a 6-0 start to league play, but haven’t won a league title since 2003, when it started 9-0.

    Central Arkansas’ Mitch Reuter has been on a scoring binge. The 6’6 senior had a season-high 31 points in a loss to SHSU and is averaging 20.2 PPG in the last five contests.

    Kevin Palmer’s streak of scoring in double figures came to an end in A&M-CC’s lopsided victory over Nicholls State. Palmer scored six points to snap a streak of 21 games with double-digit points.

    Texas State junior forward Cameron Johnson continued his scoring onslaught with 29 and 21 points, respectively, last week. Johnson has increased his scoring average to 14 PPG.

    In UTA’s win over Northwestern State, the two teams combined to shoot 77 free throws. The Demons made 27 of 45 and the Mavs converted 24 of 32.

    Justin Nabors (12 points) scored nearly 25% of his teams points in a low-scoring 49-46 victory over Stephen F. Austin. The Cardinals didn’t have another player in double figures. Nabors had 11 rebounds to go with his 12 points and has recorded a double-double in three straight games.

    After scoring in double figures in only four of the first 19 games, UTSA center Demarco Stepter has hit for at least 10 points in three straight games with 11, 15 and 14 points.

    Walt Harris (18) and Jereal Scott (14) were the only SFA players to score more than four points in a 49-46 loss to Lamar on Feb. 6.

    Northwestern State shot better from the field, free-throw line and beyond the arc, but was outrebounded by 20 caroms in a loss to SFA on Feb. 10.

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    Checking in on… the Southland

    Posted by rtmsf on February 5th, 2010

    Russell Burnett is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.

    Current Standings as of Feb. 5, 2010

    EAST

    1. Stephen F. Austin 16-5 (6-2)
    2. SE Louisiana 13-8 (5-3)
    3. McNeese State 8-13 (3-4)
    4. Nicholls State 7-14 (3-5)
    5. Northwestern State 7-13 (2-5)
    6. Central Arkansas 7-15 (1-7)

    WEST

    1. Sam Houston State 15-5 (7-0)
    2. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 11-10 (5-2)
    3. Lamar 12-11 (4-4)
    4. Texas State 10-12 (4-4)
    5. Texas-Arlington 11-9 (3-4)
    6. UT-San Antonio 12-8 (2-5)

    PLAYER OF THE WEEK

    Southeastern Louisiana big man Patrick Sullivan was named the SLC Player of the Week after averaging 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in wins over Nicholls State and Central Arkansas. Sullivan is a 6’9 senior from Florida, and scored a career-high 27 points against the Colonels to go with 12 rebounds. It was the 18th double-double of the year for Sullivan. The two scoring outbursts by Sullivan moved him into 11th place on the school’s all-time scoring list.

    AND THEN THERE WAS ONE

    In the battle of unbeatens, Sam Houston State defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 70-58 and is the only team in the Southland Conference with a perfect record in league play.

    TEAM UPDATES

    EAST

    • STEPHEN F. AUSTIN – With two victories last week, not only do he ‘Jacks still sit at the top of the SLC East (6-2), but have now reeled off five straight wins in SLC play. SFA downed McNeese State in Lake Charles, then pulled out a one-point overtime victory over Nicholls State on Feb. 3. The ‘Jacks face two middle-of-the-road teams in Lamar and Northwestern State this week.
    • SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA – Trying to keep pace with East Division-leading SFA, the Lions won both games last week with relatively easy wins over Nicholls State (84-65) and Texas State (75-66). SELA trailed TSU at halftime, but outscored the Bobcats by 12 in the second half. The Lions go up against UTSA and Nicholls State this week.
    • MCNEESE STATE – Jumped past Nicholls State in the SLC East by going 1-1 this past week. The Cowboys snapped a two-game SLC losing streak with a 92-85 victory over NW State in Natchitoches. McNeese will head from Louisiana to Texas this week with games against Texas State and UTA.
    • NICHOLLS STATE – Started another two-game losing streak with losses at home against SELA and on the road to Stephen F. Austin. The loss to SFA was particularly tough in that the Colonels got 38 points from Anatoly Bose. NSU faces two Texas schools in A&M-CC and Sam Houston State this week.
    • NORTHWESTERN STATE – Picked up a nice win against Central Arkansas (74-68) then had a letdown at home in losing to McNeese State 92-85. The Demons will face a tough Texas duo in Texas-Arlington and SFA this week.
    • CENTRAL ARKANSAS – The struggle continues in Southland Conference play for the Bears, who have now lost four straight in conference play and 10 of 12 overall. UCA travels to Huntsville to face SHSU, then hosts UTSA.

    WEST

    • SAM HOUSTON STATE – The Bearkats were forced to scramble after trailing the Islanders by 15 early in the first half, but came out on top 70-58 to become the only undefeated team in the Southland. SHSU hosted UTSA and pulled out a six-point win to sit at 7-0. SHSU hosts Central Arkansas then hits the road to test Nicholls State.
    • A&M-CC – The Islanders coasted out to a 15-point lead against rival Sam Houston State, then the wheels fell of and A&M-CC took its first loss of the season, 70-58. Things didn’t get much better as they were defeated by UTA on the road four nights later. Nicholls State and Texas State stand in the way of the Islanders getting back in the win column this week.
    • LAMAR – After winning two games against UTA and McNeese State, the Cardinals fell back to Earth with three straight losses to the Islanders, Bobcats and Bearkats. Important games loom against UTSA (Jan. 30) and Central Arkansas (Feb. 3).
    • TEXAS STATE – After two inspiring wins at the end of January, the Bobcats came crashing back to Earth as they lost to UTA and SELA. Things don’t get any easier for TSU as they compete against McNeese and A&M-Corpus Christi this week.
    • UTA – Two wins against Texas State and A&M-CC have the Mavericks feeling good and they could steady the ship with Northwestern State and McNeese on the horizon this week. Plus, the Mavs have welcomed back senior leader Tommy Moffit.
    • UTSA – How the mighty have fallen! The Roadrunners started conference play with two wins, but have now lost their last five games and are in the West cellar. A tough game against Southeastern Louisiana looms ahead, then UTSA might get a reprieve when they face Central Arkansas.

    BOXSCORE BREAKDOWN

    • Texas State’s Cameron Johnson strung together three games where he averaged 22.3 points per game and 12 rebounds, but crashed against SELA with eight points and two rebounds.
    • UTA’s Mr. Everything Marquez Haynes was “held” to 21 and 20 points, respectively, after going off for 32 points against non-conference foe Houston Baptist.
    • Lamar sophomore Anthony Miles never stepped off the court in two wins last week. Miles played all 40 minutes against UTSA and had 19 points and six assists, then 40 minutes against UCA and had 14 points and four assists.
    • An odd two games for UTSA… First the Roadrunners lost to Lamar as they were outrebounded 37-23 and placed only one player, Morris Smith IV, in double figures (19). Then UTSA outrebounded SHSU 35-29 and had five players in double figures, but still lost the game.
    • Not a great free-throw shooting team as they are hit 69 percent of their charity tosses, SHSU made 17 of 18 (95 percent) against A&M-CC and 15 of 18 against UTSA (83 percent).
    • After scoring 0 and 11 points in his two previous games, SHSU forward Gilberto Clavell went off for 27 against UTSA.
    • A&M-Corpus Christi’s Kevin Palmer (21 games) and UTA’s Marquez Haynes (20 games) have both scored in double figures in every game this season.
    • Nicholls State forward Anatoly Bose hit for 38 points in a loss to SFA on Feb. 3, but that wasn’t his high for the year (46 points on Jan. 23). Bose is on a scoring tear right now averaging 32.7 points per game in the last four games.
    • Patrick Sullivan and Trent Hutchin each scored a career-high 27 points and Southeastern Louisiana beat Nicholls State 84-65 on Jan. 30.
    • Texas State junior Tony Bishop scored a season-high 19 points against SELA on Feb. 3. Bishop averages 7.4 points per game.
    • P.J. Alawoya was a difference maker in McNeese State’s win over Northwestern State on Feb. 3. The 6’7 junior from Alief Hastings HS scored 13 points and pulled down a season-high 16 rebounds.
    • Both Will Pratt (Northwestern State) and Tadre Sheppard (Central Arkansas) filled up the box score as the Demons prevailed 74-68. Pratt had a season-high 29 points to go with eight rebounds, while Sheppard scored 17 points, had 11 rebounds and five steals.
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    Checking in on… the Southland

    Posted by jstevrtc on January 29th, 2010

    Russell Burnett is the RTC correspondent for the Southland Conference.

    Current Standings as of Jan. 29, 2009:

    EAST

    1. Stephen F. Austin 14-5 (4-2)
    2. SE Louisiana 11-8 (3-3)
    3. Nicholls State 7-12 (3-3)
    4. McNeese State 7-12 (2-3)
    5. Northwestern State 6-12 (1-4)
    6. Central Arkansas 7-13 (1-5)

    WEST

    1. Sam Houston State 13-5 (5-0)
    2. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 11-8 (5-0)
    3. Texas State 10-10 (4-2)
    4. UT-San Antonio 12-6 (2-3)
    5. Lamar 10-11 (2-4)
    6. Texas-Arlington 9-9 (1-4)

    PLAYER OF THE WEEK

    Texas A&M-Corpus Christi forward Kevin Palmer was named the SLC Player of the Week after extending his scoring in double figures to 40 games with a season-high 32 points in a victory over Lamar last Wednesday. Palmer then came through with 18 points in an overtime win over UTSA. This is the second league player of the week honor for the senior from Baltimore, Maryland.

    UNBEATENS

    Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Sam Houston State sit atop the Southland Conference with identical 5-0 marks. The two teams have a showdown on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Corpus Christi for unbeaten supremacy.

    TEAM UPDATES

    EAST

    STEPHEN F. AUSTIN – The ‘Jacks sit at the top of the SLC East, one game ahead of Southeastern Louisiana. Both of the Lumberjacks’ losses in conference play have come on the road to SHSU and Nicholls State, respectively. The ‘Jacks have a three-game conference winning streak as they overpowered Southeastern Louisiana in Nacogdoches by 11 and took down Northwestern State by 10 on the road.

    SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA – After starting conference play 2-0, they lost three straight before picking up a seven-point win over Central Arkansas on Jan. 27. SELA will have to travel to Nicholls State then host Texas State this week.

    NICHOLLS STATE – A Jekyll and Hyde team, the Colonels can’t seem to string any wins together on a consistent basis. NSU’s leading scorer, Anatoly Bose (18.8 PPG) was held to six points in the loss to UCA. NSU faces the East’s top two teams this week in SELA (Jan. 30) and SFA (Feb. 3).

    MCNEESE STATE – Halted a five-game (non-conference and SLC play) skid by beating SELA, 71-67, on Jan. 20, then lost to Nicholl State by two on Jan. 27.  The Cowboys face streaky Stephen F. Austin and Northwestern State this week.

    NORTHWESTERN STATE – Picked up its initial SLC win with a 99-98 win over Nicholls State on Jan. 23. The Demons have lost nine of their last 11 dating back to a Dec. 12 setback at the hands of LSU. NW State could pick up a couple of wins as they face Central Arkansas (Jan. 30) and McNeese State (Feb. 3).

    CENTRAL ARKANSAS - The Bears picked up their first Southland Conference win of the year (64-50) against Nicholls State as former Bear and NBA great Scottie Pippen looked on. UCA retired Pippen’s No. 33 uniform at halftime. Pippen was a two-time NAIA All-American for UCA and delivered a pregame talk to the Bears. They promptly lost two more games to McNeese and SELA.

    WEST

    SAM HOUSTON STATE – The Bearkats are riding a five-game SLC win streak and have won eight of their last 10 games. In those five SLC games, the ‘Kats are beating their opponent by 15 PPG on average. Sam Houston hits the road for a big game Saturday as they face fellow unbeaten A&M-Corpus, then they host UTSA.

    TA&M-CC – The only other unbeaten in the conference, the Islanders have put together a six-game SLC winning streak. The streak comes on the heels of A&M-CC losing six of seven games before picking up a league win against UCA. After the SHSU tilt, the Islanders hit the road to test UTA.

    TEXAS STATE – The Bobcats have come as bit of a surprise after starting the season 3-8. TSU has won three of its last four conference games and can separate itself a little from the middle of the pack with games against UTA (Jan. 30) and SELA (Feb. 3).

    UTSA – Has lost three straight in league play after winning its first two games. Lost a close four-point game to league-leading A&M-Corpus Christi, then took it on the chin by 14 points against Texas State. The Roadrunners need to pick up at least one victory over Lamar or SHSU this week.

    LAMAR – After winning two games against UTA and McNeese State, the Cardinals fell back to Earth with three straight losses to the Islanders, Bobcats and Bearkats. Important games loom against UTSA (Jan. 30) and Central Arkansas (Feb. 3).

    UTA – The Mavericks haven’t found their rhythm as they have lost two consecutive SLC games twice this year. They took a day off from SLC play to defeat Houston Baptist, but face hot teams in Texas State and A&M-CC this week.

    BOXSCORE BREAKDOWN

    Stephen F. Austin had four players in double figures and shot 57% from the field in the second half to escape with a 10-point victory over Northwestern State on Jan. 27. Eddie Williams, Walt Harris and Jereal Scott all score in double digits for the Lumberjacks.

    DeShawn Patterson tied a career high with 17 points and Southeastern Louisiana held off Central Arkansas on Jan. 27.

    Anatoly Bose scored a Southland Conference season-high 46 points, but the Nicholls State Colonels fell 99-98 in double overtime to Northwestern State on Jan. 23.  Bose then went off for 23 points and 11 rebounds in a victory over McNeese State.

    McNeese State – Held UCA to 28% from the field, including 19 percent from three-point land in a 15-point win on Jan. 23.

    Devon Baker hit a free throw with one second left to give Northwestern State a 99-98 win over Nicholls State in double overtime on Jan. 23. In the overtime win, Damon Jones scored a season-high 25 points, then came back with only one point in a loss to SFA.

    Mike Rueter has come strong in the last few SLC games for UCA. The 6’6 senior from Batesville, Arkansas is averaging 14.5 PPG in the last four games and 11.7 PPG on the year.

    A battle of two of the top offensive threats in the league played out with Sam Houston’s Gilberto Clavell scoring 25 points to go with 10 rebounds as SHSU beat UTA by three points on Jan. 23.  Marquez Haynes, leading the league with 24.5 PPG, had 23 for UTA.

    SHSU sophomore Antuan Bootle posted double-figure rebounds in two of the last three games. Bootle had 12 rebounds in 20 mintues of action against Texas State, and 11 boards in 15 minutes against Lamar.

    A&M-CC’s Demond Watt has heated up and scored in double-figures in 12 straight games to push his season average to 11.9 PPG. Watt tied a season-high with 13 rebounds against non-conference foe UT-Pan American on Jan. 25.

    Texas State had six players in double figures in an overtime victory against Lamar on Jan. 23. Cameron Johnson had 24 points and 15 rebounds, and is averaging 16.6 PPG in conference play.

    Devin Gibson had a season-high nine assists for UTSA in a loss to the Islanders. Gibson was two rebounds and one assist away from a triple-double.

    Lamar’s Justin Nabors had a string of double figure scoring games snapped at 12 when he scored nine in a 90-63 blowout loss to SHSU. Nabors is close to averaging a double-double as he scores at a 13.7 PPG clip and pulls 9.7 RPG.

    UTA guard Marquez Haynes netted his sixth 30-point game this year as he tossed in 32 points in a non-conference win over Houston Baptist. Haynes also dished out a season- and career-high nine assists in the victory.

    The Mavericks welcomed back senior forward Tommy Moffit from a broken foot. The 6’5 Moffit missed 11 games, but came back against Houston Baptist to play 16 minutes.

    GAMES OF THE WEEK

    Saturday, Jan. 30

    Sam Houston at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 7 p.m.

    Wednesday, Feb. 3

    Texas State at Southeastern Louisiana, 7 p.m.

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