Upcoming Match-ups

2020 Southland Conference Tournament Opening Odds

Merrell Center
The Merrell Center in Katy, Texas plays host to the Southland Conference Tournament this week.
  • The Southland Conference Tournament runs March 11th-14th at the Merrell Center in Katy, Texas 
  • Stephen F. Austin is the top seed odds-on -175 favorite to earn the conferences automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament
  • See the full tournament odds, bracket & best bet below

The No. 1-seeded Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (28-3, 19-1), winners of 15 straight games, enter the Southland tournament as the overwhelming favorite, having marched through the regular season with just one conference loss.

The Lumberjacks last lost back on January 8 to Texas A&M-CC by one point. They last won the conference tournament two years ago, which was its fourth title in a five-year span.

The Abilene Christian Wildcats won the Southland Tournament last year after a second-place finish in the regular season. The Wildcats would fall to Kentucky in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Abilene Christian also enters the 2020 Tournament as the No. 2 seed.

Southland Conference Tournament Odds

Team Odds
Stephen F. Austin -175
Abilene Christian +300
Nicholls State +575
Sam Houston State +1000
Lamar +2500
McNeese State +3000
Northwestern State +5500
Texas A&M CC +6000

Odds Taken March 9th

Southland Conference Tournament Bracket

Stephen F. Austin receives a double-bye

Stephen F. Austin a Strong Favorite

The Lumberjacks were a dominant team in 2019-20. While most will remember the school for its monumental upset at Duke back in November, this team is full of quality players.

Senior guard Kevon Harris led the Lumberjacks in scoring at 17.5 points per game, while connecting on 41 percent of his three-point attempts. Harris was recently named the Southland Conference Player of the Year for his outstanding season.

Another player to watch is 6-foot-7 junior forward Gavin Kensmil. Kensmil averaged 11 points and almost seven rebounds per contest this season and was a second-team All-Southland selection.

KenPom has the Lumberjacks ranked No. 102 overall. That is an impressive ranking for a team playing in the Southland.

Abilene Christian is a Contender

Outside of the Lumberjacks, Abilene Christian, and arguably Nicholls State are the hottest teams in this tournament.

Senior guard Payten Ricks leads the Wildcats. A first-team All-Southland performer, Ricks averaged 14 points per game this season.

Senior center Kolton Kohl is a rare seven-footer in the Southland Conference. He averaged almost 10 points per game and led the team with four rebounds per contest.

This is an experienced team capable of getting on a roll.

Watch Out for Sam Houston State

If there is a dark horse in this tournament, it could be the Bearkats from Sam Houston State. A quick glance at the 18-13 regular-season record isn’t impressive. However, having two big-time players always gives you a chance.

Zach Nutall, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard, leads the Bearkats in scoring. Nutall also pulls down over four rebounds per game and plays solid defense, accounting for an average of almost two steals per game.

Senior center Kai Mitchell is arguably the top post player in the Southland Conference. He finished the season averaging 16.7 points, six rebounds, almost three assists and two blocks per game. He is a strong all-around performer. He shoots almost 58 percent from the field. The Bearkats, at +1000, are an underdog with the potential to make a run in this tournament.

Best Bet

There are three worth watching here, beginning with the favorites, Stephen F. Austin at -175. The Lumberjacks are the best team in the league. Next, Abilene Christian could be a strong choice at +300.

The Wildcats have a good team and the experience to make some noise. Then there is Sam Houston State. The Bearkats are from the favorite but they could be a curious choice at +1000. This is a talented team.

Stick with the Lumberjacks here. Yes, it is conservative, but they are clearly the best team and a safe choice.

Pick: Stephen F. Austin (-175)


SBD’s NCAA conference tournament coverage: 

Author Image
Discussion

Let's have fun and keep it civil.