March Madness…Dance Fever, Huh? Part 2

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Here again with another potential NCAA Tournament sleeper to watch out for. Championship Week has already started and a few teams have punched their tickets to March Madness. Today’s post takes a trip over to Nacogdoches, Texas to look at Stephen F. Austin. Stephen F. Austin hails from the Southland Conference where they are the regular season champs at 27-4. The Lumberjacks ended the regular season strong with wins over the #2 and #3 teams in the Southland Conference. They head into the conference tournament with hopes of finishing off a 2nd consecutive season as the Regular Season and Tourney Champs. Last season they were undefeated in every conference game and beat VCU in the 2nd Round of the NCAA tournament. The first NCAA tourney win in school history. The Lumberjacks also reached the Big Dance in 2009. Stephen F. Austin is once again one of the top scoring teams in the country. They average 79.0 points per game which puts them at 12th overall, they lead the nation in assists per game at 17.7 and a their .491 FG shooting puts them at 7th best. The squad started the season off with some quality opponents. They lost to the eventual MVC Champs, Northern Iowa in OT, and two other NCAA tourney bound teams in Baylor and Xavier.   The Lumberjacks bounced back by winning at Memphis during a 19 game win streak. They also swept conference foe and stiff rival Sam Houston State.

Brad Underwood was the 2014 Southland Coach of the Year and Joe B. Hall award winner (nation’s top first year coach). He fields a team that has 6 players that shoot at least 45% from the field and average 7.0 ppg. The two leaders in those categories are RS JR Thomas Walkup and SR Jacob Parker. Walkup, a 6-4 G/F also leads the team in rebounds per game while the 6-6 F Parker leads the team in 3 point FG% at 47.7. Guard Trey Pinkney leads them in assists and steals per game. The tempo and style of play has allowed as many as 9 players to get quality minutes this season. SFA has numerous accolades but they know that a bad night in the Conference Tournament would end their dreams of reaching the Big Dance.

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