We have arrived on the final Saturday of the college basketball regular season. While some teams are already well into their conference tournaments, there are still plenty of teams that have not started playing theirs yet. The power conferences are still wrapping up the regular season slate, and you can find some mid-major tournaments that have already played a couple of rounds.
After this weekend, though, we are really going to get into the meat and potatoes of the conference tournament action. There are still plenty of mid-major conferences that are still getting through their regular seasons. The Southland Conference, which I’ve become quite familiar with this season over some of the other smaller conferences, is still in the regular season. This is a highly competitive conference that is going to go either way during the Southland Tournament.
There are four teams in the conference, including Nicholls State, Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston State, and Abilene Christian that have the talent to win the Southland. All four are in tight quarters at the moment, with Nicholls State at 14-2, Sam Houston State, 13-2, Abilene Christian, 12-2, and SFA, 11-3. Then you have to account for a potential upset in the Southland Conference, and you know in these smaller market conferences that upset bids are always possible.
The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks and Sam Houston State Bearkats are likely going to put on an entertaining show at Johnson Coliseum on Saturday evening. These are two talented teams that will likely leave their all on the floor tonight in Houston. Both have the potential to get really hot from the field in a hurry. Depending on who wins the Southland, one of these squads do have the potential for an upset bid in the NCAA Tournament.
It really comes down to if they find a rhythm shooting the ball, because when they’re hot, especially the Bearkats, it’s hard to make them miss. Sam Houston State enters Saturday with an overall record of 19-7 and 13-2 in the conference. They’re winners in six of their last seven outings and feeling confident.
Stephen F. Austin goes into this one with a record of 15-5 and 11-3 in the conference. The Lumberjacks are coming off a loss against Abilene Christian on March 3, 63-61. Head below for our free Stephen F. Austin vs. Sam Houston State pick on March 6, 2021.
Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks vs. Sam Houston State Bearkats NCAA Betting Odds:
Stephen F. Austin vs. Sam Houston State Prediction:
Stephen F. Austin has been a bit lackadaisical as of late, including a close loss against Lamar, and had to fight hard in the second-half to pull away from Central Arkansas. The Lumberjacks fell against Lamar on the road in overtime on February 27, 88-83. In their next performance, SFA was in a tight one at the half against a pretty bad Central Arkansas team on the road.
They had a 35-32 lead on the 4-18 Bears, and managed to pull away in the second-half to win by a score of 79-66. Their best performance recently might have been the loss against Abilene Christian. It wasn’t a win, but ACU is a quality team that won a close contest, 63-61. It was a game that could have gone in either direction. The Lumberjacks are 17th in the NCAA with 81.1 points scored per game.
They’re also shooting 52.3% from the field for second in the country. Over their last few games, it hasn’t exactly been present like it was early on this season. They needed double overtime to get to 83 points against a very beatable Lamar team, with 71 points scored in regulation. The Cardinals have been playing well below .500 this season with a record of 7-17, so that was a big miss from the Lumberjacks.
Stephen F. Austin’s offensive efficiency has dropped on the road in 2020-21, from 81.1 points overall to 74.4 points per game on the road. Conversely, the Bearkats have been on fire at home this season. They’ve been unguardable, having scored 92.4 points per game and shooting 51.1% from the field.
Overall, they are 21st in the country with 80.8 points per contest. The defense has been much better on campus, with 62.3 points conceded per game. SFA has allowed over 70 points per game on the road this season. Note that the Bearkats have gone 7-0 ATS in their previous seven outings at home. Sam Houston State has been playing well recently, and they should be able to ride that momentum into Saturday.