The Southland Conference will crown its champion on Saturday afternoon in Katy, TX, where the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds in the conference tournament, the Lamar Cardinals and the McNeese State Cowboys do battle for the league’s spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Lamar became famous just a few weeks ago when Head Coach Pat Knight spoke to the media and declared that he had the worst group of seniors that he has ever had to work with. This is a team that isn’t known for its success, knowing that the last time the team was in the NCAA Tournament was 2000. That being said, the tirade seemed to work; since that point, the team has rolled off five straight wins, including beating these very same Cowboys back on March 3rd in the home regular season finale. Here in the Southland Tournament, Lamar has done well, disposing of the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks in a defensive struggle and the Northwestern State Demons in a bit more of a shootout. This is a team that has a heck of a lot of offensive potential. Mike James, Devon Lamb, and Anthony Miles are all great scorers, and they all have the potential to do some serious damage. Lamb is a double-double threat averaging 11.9 points and 8.1 boards per game, while Miles and James tend to do their damage on the outside. They’re combining for over 31 points per game between them, and they have done a great job in this tournament.
The Cowboys have been a very pleasant surprise in this conference tournament, and beating both UT San Antonio and UT Arlington on back to back days was a shock for sure. This is still a team that only has 17 wins on the campaign, and it knows that it is one that is going to be heading for Dayton in all likelihood if it wins the conference crown. Just the fact that they were able to beat the Mavericks is one thing, but the Cowboys downed them by a whopping 20 points, dropping a tremendous 92 on them. Patrick Richard, the team’s leading scorer led the way with 20 points, and he was one of the seven players that all scored at least seven points. That parlayed with a defense that held down UT Arlington to just 37.3 percent shooting from the field got the job done, and now all of a sudden, Richard and the gang are just one more win away from dancing.
The Final Word: The magic is going to end here for McNeese State, though. The Cowboys just don’t have the goods to come back and win a game like this one after the emotional victory that they picked up two nights ago. The Cardinals are the motivated side, and they have the better team, and in the end, they’ll be the ones that end up going dancing.
Lamar Cardinals @ McNeese State Cowboys Pick: Lamar Cardinals
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.