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Victory Sports Network article gives preview

The Victory Sports Network covers the NAIA.

The following is an article by Mike Thompson, who covers Red River News and Notes for VSN.

This was posted on February 6.

Less than three weeks remain in what has been a crazy 2012-2013 season for the Red River Athletic Conference men.

Four teams are fighting it out to win their first ever regular season conference championship. The two winners of the last five, Texas Wesleyan University and Our Lady of the Lake University, have struggled.

Another team is clawing just to make the RRAC tournament.

Only the top eight (of the 12 members) teams will qualify for the single-elimination tournament.

Here is a look at the ten teams with the best chance of getting to the conference tourney, which will be held in Waxahachie, Texas during Friday and Saturday, March 1-2.

The finals will be played on Monday, March 4. Southwestern Assemblies of God University will host the games in the Sheaffer Center.

#13 SAGU 21-3 (15-2)

Remaining Schedule

February 7 vs. Huston-Tillotson
February 9 AT; St. Thomas - Houston
February 16 vs. Paul Quinn
February 21 vs. Our Lady of the Lake
February 23 vs. Wiley
February 25 AT LSU-Shreveport

In the preseason, SAGU was selected third by the RRAC coaches behind Our Lady of the Lake, and Texas Wesleyan. SAGU is in first now with just under three weeks until tournament time, and SAGU has gone 3-0 so far this season against those two and has a home game against OLLU, where they will try and sweep the Saints for the first time.

The path for the Lions first ever RRAC title will be a tough one with four games against teams with winning records, and two road games against teams that are within two games of them. SAGU’s salvation and trip to Kansas City is in their own hands.

# 21 LSU-Shreveport 16-4 (11-3)

Remaining Schedule

February 7 vs. Texas College
February 9 AT Huston-Tillotson
February 11 AT Our Lady of the Lake
February 16 vs. Southwest
February 18 vs. Texas Wesleyan
February 21 AT Jarvis Christian
February 23 AT St. Thomas - Houston
February 25 vs. SW Assemblies of God

If I thought one team would have a down year it was the guys at the Dock. New coach and a lack of returners usually doesn’t equal too much success. Shows you what I know.

Kyle Blankenship came to Shreveport and with him an exciting high-powered offense averaging more points per game than OLLU this season.

LSU-Shreveport started off slow at 3-2 and dropped the conference opener. Since then they steadied the ship and have gone 13-2, including a 28 point beat down of SAGU in Waxahachie. They have a tough schedule down the stretch, but don’t count out the Pilots. Their first ever (regular season) RRAC title is very possible.

RV St. Thomas 17-5 (12-4)

Remaining Schedule

February 7 vs. Our Lady of the Lake
February 9 vs. SW Assemblies of God
February 11 AT Northwood
February 14 AT Bacone
February 18 AT Paul Quinn
February 21 AT Huston-Tillotson
February 23 vs. LSU-Shreveport
February 25 AT Wiley

The Celts have found themselves on the short end of some close games. St. Thomas has lost five games by a combined 36 points. Take away the 20 point loss in Shreveport and the Celts have lost by 16 to four teams. All of their losses have been to teams that are ranked or have been ranked in the top 25 this season.

The Road to KC for the Celts will be hard, with St. Thomas looking for help from others. Don’t be surprised if you see on the morning of February 26 that St. Thomas has won 12 in a row and has at least a share of the RRAC title.

RV Texas College 18-6 (12-5)

Remaining Schedule

February 7 AT LSU-Shreveport
February 9 AT Paul Quinn
February 16 AT Jarvis Christian
February 21 vs. Wiley
February 23 AT Bacone
February 25 AT Langston

Texas College was 12-1 and unbeaten in conference, and ranked nationally for the first time going into winter break. They looked like they would be unstoppable, but then went on to lose five straight. They have fought back winning five in a row. The problem Texas College will have down the stretch is five of six on the road. It might be too much.

Our Lady of the Lake 15-9 (11-5)

Remaining Schedule

February 7 AT St. Thomas - Houston
February 9 vs. Wiley
February 11 vs. LSU-Shreveport
February 16 AT Langston
February 18 AT Bacone
February 21 AT SW Assemblies of God

The sky looked like the limit for the Saints, who returned seven seniors from a team that won the RRAC and advanced to the sweet 16 in KC a year ago. So what happened?

Injuries, poor shooting, no inside defensive presence, and at times have just given up in games that they could have won.

The final six games for the Saints will be hard, and going 3-3 and placing all your chips on the conference tournament would be considered a success at this point.

Jarvis Christian College 12-12 (9-8)

Remaining Schedule

February 7 AT Wiley
February 11 AT Paul Quinn
February 13 AT Northwood
February 16 vs. Texas College
February 21 vs. LSU-Shreveport
February 23 AT Langston
February 25 AT Bacone

If you had asked me back in November who the two hottest teams in the RRAC would be in February, I would not have said Jarvis. Well, right now they are.

The Bulldogs have won six in a row. Prior to the streak, the Bulldogs had given up 80 points or more ten times and have given up over 80 just once during the streak.

Will they win the RRAC? No. But they will can still cause some turmoil over the next three weeks.

Wiley College 12-10 (6-8)

Remaining Schedule

February 7 vs. Jarvis Christian
February 9 AT Our Lady of the Lake
February 11 AT Huston-Tillotson
February 16 vs. Texas Wesleyan
February 18 vs. Southwest
February 21 AT Texas College
February 23 AT SW Assemblies of God
February 25 vs. St. Thomas - Houston

Wiley is a team on your schedule that scares you to death. Against RRAC opponents with winning records Wiley has lost by an average of 3 ppg. Against SAGU, Wiley missed free throws and two layups in the final minute in a two point loss to SAGU, who tried their best to give it away.

In the seven games against teams .500 or lower, they have won by an average of 0.43 ppg.

Texas Wesleyan 13-11 (7-10)

Remaining Schedule

February 7 vs. Paul Quinn
February 9 vs. Langston
February 11 vs. Bacone
February 16 AT Wiley
February 18 AT LSU-Shreveport
February 23 vs. Southwest

The Rams are currently in a free fall with the second longest current losing streak in the RRAC at six in a row. The six straight is the longest losing streak since they lost nine in a row in 2001.

Texas Wesleyan is in real serious danger of not making the RRAC tournament in March. The Rams currently sit in eighth place, a game ahead of Langston who they will play next. Wesleyan could realistically lose three of their last five in conference and not get to Waxahachie.

Langston 9-14 (5-10)

Remaining Schedule

February 7 AT Bacone
February 9 AT Texas Wesleyan
February 11 AT Southwest
February 16 vs. Our Lady of the Lake
February 18 vs. Huston-Tillotson
February 23 vs. Jarvis Christian
February 25 vs. Texas College

Langston is currently 5-11 in RRAC play and could be 11-11 on February 26. The schedule is in their favor with their toughest opponents at home. They travel to Fort Worth to take on a Wesleyan team that may have thrown in the towel.

Don’t be shocked to see Langston in Waxahachie as a fifth or sixth seed.

Huston-Tillotson 6-17 (5-11)

Remaining Schedule

February 7 AT SW Assemblies of God
February 9 vs. LSU-Shreveport
February 11 vs. Wiley
February 16 AT Bacone
February 18 AT Langston
February 21 vs. St. Thomas - Houston
February 23 AT Paul Quinn

Huston-Tillotson has as many RRAC victories this season as they had for the previous two seasons combined. They also have chance to make to Waxahachie for the first time since 2010.

Things have to go just right for HTU to make the top eight but this is the RRAC we are talking about.





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