Final Week of the Regular Season Tips Off Tonight

first_img• #SouthlandStrong Defense: Three teams rank in the top 10 for steals per game: Stephen F. Austin, Nicholls and Lamar. The Lumberjacks are first in the nation (10.6), the Colonels are third (9.8) and Lamar is eighth (8.8). SFA also leads all Division I teams in turnovers forced (20.55) while Nicholls is fourth (17.62) and LU is sixth (16.97).  • Individual Standouts: Heading into the final week of regular season play, Central Arkansas senior guard Jordan Howard still paces himself in the top three nationally for points per game (25.7). He’s also second in total points (745). Freshman teammate Hayden Koval ranks sixth in the nation in blocked shots per game (3.18).  • Cardinals Claim Spot: Lamar clinched a spot in the 2018 Southland Conference Basketball Tournament in Katy, Texas, this past week when the Cardinals defeated Houston Baptist and Stephen F. Austin. Nicholls, Southeastern Louisiana, SFA, Sam Houston State and New Orleans had already captured a berth prior to last week.• Race for the Final Two Spots: Four teams are still battling for the final two spots in the conference tournament. Central Arkansas leads the pack with a .500 record while Abilene Christian and McNeese trail by one game. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is two games back of the Bears.• Saturday Showdown: Nicholls and Southeastern Louisiana meet in Hammond this week with the 2017-18 regular season championship in sight. The Colonels take on Northwestern State on Wednesday while the Lions will look to take care of business with New Orleans before Saturday’s contest. In Nicholls-SLU’s first meeting of the year, the Lions claimed a 67-63 win. The game will broadcast on Eleven Sports.• Battle of the Piney Woods – Hardwood Edition: Sam Houston State will look to be the only Southland team to tally a perfect record at home in league action this season when the Bearkats host rival Stephen F. Austin on Saturday. The Lumberjacks and the Bearkats are the only teams with one loss at home this season in all competition. Saturday’s game is set for 7 p.m.Schedule:Wednesday, Feb. 28Nicholls at Northwestern State* – 6:30 p.m.Southeastern Louisiana at New Orleans* (Twitch/SLCDN) – 7 p.m.McNeese at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi* – 7 p.m.Abilene Christian at Stephen F. Austin* (ESPN3) – 7 p.m.Houston Baptist at UIW* – 7 p.m.Sam Houston State at Central Arkansas* – 7 p.m. Sam Houston State (18-11, 12-4 SLC) and its rival, SFA, are set for a crucial regular-season finale Saturday when the Bearkats host the Lumberjacks at 7 p.m. The two teams are currently tied for third place. Both squads have to get through tough Wednesday matchups against teams still trying to earn berths in Katy. The Bearkats travel to Central Arkansas (14-15, 8-8 SLC), to take a Bears team that controls its own destiny to return to the Southland tournament, while the ‘Jacks host Abilene Christian (15-14, 7-9 SLC), who is currently tied for the eighth and final spot with McNeese (10-16, 7-9 SLC). Both games tonight are scheduled for 7 p.m. tipoffs. Additional Storylines: Led by second-year head coach Richie Riley, the Colonels (20-9, 14-2 SLC) have a chance to claim their first title since 1998. A win tonight against Northwestern State (1-15, 4-23 SLC) can give Nicholls at least a share of the championship. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT. Following Wednesday’s game, the Colonels will head to Hammond to take on second-place Southeastern Louisiana (13-3, 19-10 SLC) at 5 p.m. The Lions won the first meeting between the two 67-63 on Jan. 27. FRISCO, Texas – As early as tonight, Nicholls can lift its first Southland regular season championship in 20 years.center_img Before SLU gets its chance to knock off the leaders, the Lions battle New Orleans (14-14, 11-6 SLC) tonight at 7 p.m. The Privateers, who return home after losing twice on the road, remain in the hunt for a top-four seed that would give them a bye in the 2018 Southland Conference Basketball Tournament in Katy, Texas. They are currently tied for fifth with Lamar (19-11, 11-6 SLC), who clinched a spot in the conference’s postseason following back-to-back wins on the road last week at Houston Baptist (6-23, 2-14 SLC) and Stephen F. Austin (23-6, 12-4 SLC). Two spots in the Southland Tournament remain up for grabs with four teams vying for postseason glory. UCA, ACU, McNeese and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi each still have a chance to make the tournament. The Cowboys and Islanders contest each other tonight at 7 p.m. in Corpus Christi. Saturday, March 3Lamar at McNeese* – 3 p.m.Abilene Christian at UIW* – 3 p.m.Nicholls at Southeastern Louisiana* (ELEVEN) – 5 p.m.Northwestern State at Central Arkansas* – 5 p.m.Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Houston Baptist* – 7 p.m.Stephen F. Austin at Sam Houston State* (ESPN3) – 7 p.m.* – Conference Gamelast_img read more