SFA Picked To Win SLC East
Oct. 20, 2008
KATY, Texas - Nearly eight months after winning the first Southland Conference championship in program history, the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack basketball team is projected to finish among the league leaders again in 2008-09. The Lumberjacks are favored in the SLC East Division in polling of both head coaches and sports information directors, according to an announcement made Tuesday by SLC officials.
SFA received 10 of a possible 11 first-place votes in the 12-team league (coaches and SIDs are not permitted to rank their own teams) and a total of 65 points in each poll. Northwestern State finished second to the 'Jacks in each poll, earning one first-place nod and 51 total points in polling of coaches and two first-place votes and 50 points in the SID poll. Southeastern Louisiana took 48 points in the coaches poll and 45 points in the SID poll to nab the No. 3 slot in each list.
In the SLC West Division, 2008 NCAA Tournament representative UT-Arlington is favored to win by both polls. Nine head coaches and seven SIDs tabbed the Mavs for a first-place finish, and they garnered 63 and 57 points, respectively in the two polls. Both lists project Lamar as the second-place team in the west. Sam Houston State takes third-place billing in the coaches poll, while the Bearkats split the No. 3 spot in the SID poll with UTSA.
The Lumberjacks are coming off the program's best season since joining the NCAA Division I ranks for the 1986-87 season. SFA went 26-6 overall last season with a program-best 12-1 record in pre-conference action that included wins over Oklahoma and San Diego -- both of which reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The 'Jacks went 13-3 against SLC competition to share the league title with Lamar. SFA went on to earn a berth in the National Invitation Tournament for the first time since 1987.
SFA returns four of five starters from last year's squad, including seniors and Preseason All-SLC selections, Josh Alexander and Matt Kingsley. Alexander and Kingsley are the top two returning scorers in the conference.
The Lumberjacks will open the 2008-09 season on Nov. 14, when they host Howard Payne in a 7 p.m. game. SFA begins defense of its 2008 conference title on Jan. 10, when the Lumberjacks open Southland Conference play with a home game against Sam Houston State. The contest will be televised on SLC TV.
-- SFA --