March Madness is here! Today, a few of our writers will be giving their thoughts on the Southland Conference Tournament.
#5 Northwestern State vs. #8 Texas A&M-CC
#6 Lamar vs. #7 McNeese State
#4 Sam Houston State vs. #5 Northwestern State/#8 Texas A&M-CC
#3 Nicholls State vs. #6 Lamar/#7 McNeese State
#1 Stephen F. Austin vs. #4 Sam Houston State/#5 Northwestern State/#8 Texas A&M-CC
#2 Abilene Christian vs. #3 Nicholls State/#6 Lamar/#7 McNeese State
Who will win the Southland Conference Tournament?
Aram: #1 Stephen F. Austin (28-3, 19-1 in the Southland)
SF Austin has won 15 games in a row. They beat Duke and their only loss in conference was by 1 point. I’m not sure much more has to be said.
Pat: #1 Stephen F. Austin (28-3, 19-1 in the Southland)
It’s tough to pick against the Lumberjacks, who finished 19-1 in conference play and are simply on another level from the rest of the league. SF Austin competes hard on both ends, doesn’t make many mistakes, and has the most talent in the league. This team did beat Duke in Cameron Indoor in November, so its tough to see them losing in the Southland and not dancing in March.
TJ: #1 Stephen F. Austin (28-3, 19-1 in the Southland)
Stephen F. Austin is as legit as most of the mid to low major teams in college basketball. Yeah people remember the Lumberjacks for their upset at Duke earlier this year, but the Lumberjacks have been rolling through the Southland conference going 19-1 and own a 28-3 record on the year. Led by Kevon Harris, the Lumberjacks will be heavy betting favorites for the Southland and could be a team poised for an upset in the big dance.
Which team is a Dark Horse Candidate to take home the title?
Aram: #8 Texas A&M-CC (14-17, 10-10 in the Southland)
They may be the lowest ranked team that made the Tournament, but Texas A&M-CC has as good of a chance as any team to upset SF Austin. Do you know why? Because they already did! They are currently on a 4 game winning streak and will not go down without a fight.
Pat: #3 Nicholls State (21-10, 15-5 in the Southland)
The Colonels have also shown the ability to play with large schools, with a win at Pitt earlier this season and close losses at Illinois and Rhode Island. If they can take care of business in the quarterfinals and knock off Abilene Christian in the semis, they’ll put up a strong fight in the finals with a chance for an NCAA bid on the line.
TJ: #8 Texas A&M-CC (14-17, 10-10 in the Southland)
For my darkhorse I am picking the one team that has taken down SFA this season. The Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders are a squad to look out for. The Islanders are one dangerous 8th seed and have won their last four to end the year. Texas A&M-CC have a three-headed dragon of guards in Myles Smith, Jordan Hairston, and Jashawn Talton-Thomas.
Who is one player that NBA teams should keep an eye on?
Aram: Warith Alatishe, Sophomore F – Nicholls State
I, for one, really haven’t seen much from Warith but I am excited to catch him in action in this Tournament as I’ve heard good things. The sophomore has put up solid numbers across the board leading to 9 double-doubles on the year. He averages 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per game and is not someone that players like to see guarding them. Check out Alatishe in this Tournament and for years to come at Nicholls State.
Pat: Kevon Harris, Senior G/F – SF Austin
Harris is one of the best players in the Southland and probably the best professional prospect. He has ideal size for an NBA wing, and shot over 41% from three while leading the Lumberjacks in scoring. Harris can defend as well, averaging 1.5 steals per game. He’s a huge reason for the Lumberjacks winning 28 regular season games, and he’ll gain a lot more national attention if he could lead them to an upset or two in the big dance.
TJ: Sha’markus Kennedy, Senior F – McNeese State
Sha’markus Kennedy has been a stat machine all year long. 18.6 points per game. 10.8 rebounds per game. 3.4 stocks per game. The 6’8 forward has shown signs of developing a better jumper through FT indicators. Kennedy looks to possess a long wingspan and some explosive leaping ability for a four man. He could be a sleeper we should all look at before the draft. His shot and defensive awareness will be important for him going forward.