Mid-Major Watch: Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

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The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks are beginning to look a like a Mid-Major. After a 1-3 start to open the season, the Lumberjacks have quietly stringed together a 16 game win streak, including seven conference wins. Last year, the Lumberjacks had an unbelievable season, with a record of 32-3. They went a perfect 18-0 in conference play and played spoiler in the NCAA tournament, eliminating the fifth seed VCU Rams before succumbing to UCLA in the second round. Now, with a 17-3 record, the Lumberjacks are looking to repeat last year’s success and make some noise in the tournament again. The Lumberjacks feature a deep bench, which can be credited for their success. However, they are led by top scorers in senior forward Jacob Parker and junior guard Thomas Walkup, whom combine for 27.7 points per game.

When dissecting their schedule, it’s tough to find some marquee wins. Most of their chances at building a strong resume came within the first four games, where they lost three straight, respectively to the Northern Iowa Panthers, Baylor Bears and Xavier Musketeers. However, wins on the road against the Memphis Tigers and Sam Houston St. Bearkats stand out. I also think that defeating the Long Beach St. 49ers holds some weight, I mean they beat the Kansas St. Wildcats and Xavier Musketeers before falling victim to the Lumberjacks. Overall though, I think the Lumberjacks need to win out to make the tournament, if not win every game up until the conference finals to be a “Bubble team”. In a division that really only has one other “Bubble team” in the Sam Houston Bearkats, it’s tough to really gauge how good they are. 

The Lumberjacks are winners, I mean they stringed together a 29 game win streak last year, are currently riding on a 16 game win streak this year and are a combined 49-6 since last season. They made the tournament last season, upset the VCU Rams and with that have had a taste of March Madness. In my opinion, they are a potential Cinderella in the making and if they are in the tournament, expect them to make some noise.

 

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