All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. Check back throughout the day, as we’ll be posting three or four preview items every day.
To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To see the rest of the Conference Previews we’ve published, click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.
If the Southland Conference had an unofficial motto this season, it might be “Who Dat?”
Seismic shifts at the top of the NCAA power structure draw the most ink, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a league that has been more visibly impacted by realignment than the Southland. Texas State, UT-Arlington (both now Sun Belt) and UT-San Antonio (C-USA) bolted last season to jump on the BCS football gravy train, and Oral Roberts traded in the Summit League’s frequent flyer miles to join the Southland. The league’s tight four-state footprint solidified this year with the addition of New Orleans, Houston Baptist and transitional DI members Abilene Christian and Incarnate Word.
Incarnate Word? Who Dat?
The Southland isn’t entirely devoid of name recognition, however. Scott Sutton’s Oral Roberts team was an upset special waiting to happen in the late 2000s, and the Golden Eagles have enough talent, although inexperienced, to feast on the diluted Southland slate this season. Pat Knight, son of the legendary Bobby Knight and former Texas Tech coach, has struggled to build a consistent contender at Lamar, but at least he’s a familiar face. Northwestern State, last season’s auto-bid winner, is losing a lot of senior leadership, so they’re likely to suffer the mid-major curse and fall off the pace a bit. The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks won 27 games last season and missed the Big Dance in a narrow two-point loss in the league’s title game, so they’ll be in the mix as well.
In: Abilene Christian, Houston Baptist, Incarnate Word, New Orleans
PRESEASON SOUTHLAND PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Shawn Glover, Oral Roberts
A rather slight 6-foot-7 wing, Glover got plenty of minutes in two seasons at Utah but just couldn’t finish well enough. After sitting out a season, he came on strong for ORU, sharing the team lead in blocks and steals while averaging 14.4 points per game. Glover is a strong all-around player who should thrive in his senior season.
FOUR MORE NAMES TO KNOW:
- Jalan West, Northwestern State: The redshirt sophomore should build on his strong debut season at the point.
- Dederick Lee, Oral Roberts: The highly-regarded freshman from Clarksville, Arkansas had an offer from the Razorbacks, but will star for Sutton instead.
- LaQuintin Miles, Central Arkansas: Miles can really pour it on if he finds a way to improve on last season’s 44 percent mark from the floor.
- DeQuan Hicks, Northwestern State: Hicks had 12 points and 8 boards against Florida in the NCAA tournament last year. He’s ready to make a difference as a senior.
1. Oral Roberts
2. Northwestern State
3. Southeastern Louisiana
4. Stephen F. Austin
5. Sam Houston State
6. Central Arkansas
7. Nicholls State
8. McNeese State
9. Texas A&M Corpus Christi
10. Houston Baptist
11. New Orleans
13. Abilene Christian
14. Incarnate Word