Southland Conference Power Rankings

Brad Underwood and his SFA Lumberjacks have won 22 consecutive games. - Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen F. Austin survived a challenging stretch of games and is now four games away from an undefeated conference season. As for the rest of the league, let's take a quick look at how everyone stands with just two weeks remaining before the Southland Conference tournament in Katy, Texas.

1. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks 25-2, 14-0: The Lumberjacks, sixth in this week's Mid Major Madness Power 15, continue to win, win, win. The two most recent wins, tough impressive victories over Sam Houston State and Northwestern State, have all but clinched the Southland regular season championship and the number one seed in the postseason tournament. The question legitimately becomes whether or not SFA can run the table and finish 18-0 in Southland play. Their toughest test remaining very well may come on Thursday night when the Lumberjacks travel to New Orleans to face the upstart Privateers

Last two weeks: W 78-69 at Lamar, W 67-60 at SHSU, W 70-68 vs NWST

This week: Thu at UNO, Sat at SLU

2. Sam Houston State Bearkats 19-7, 11-3: The Bearkats took their second crack at knocking off Stephen F. Austin last weekend. While this attempt went better than the first, it still wasn't good enough. The loss to SFA pretty much eliminates SHSU from winning the Southland regular season title, so the Kats can now focus entirely on holding off the hard charging Corpus Christi Islanders for the important number two seed. Whoever finishes second gets a double bye into the conference tournament semifinals, and also avoids a matchup with Stephen F. Austin until the championship game.

Last two weeks: W 67-64 vs NWST, L 67-60 vs SFA, W 74-71 vs Lamar

This week: Thu at UCA, Sat at ORU

3. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders 14-14, 11-4: The last time I published one of these polls, I mentioned the Islanders were ranked too low (7th) for how good they actually were. In the last two weeks, they haven't lost and appear to be on their way to at least a first round bye in the Southland tournament. With their final three games at home against mid-to-bottom of the league opposition, Corpus Christi could be in position to steal the two seed should Sam Houston stumble down the stretch.

Last two weeks: W 84-73 vs UCA, W 74-72 (OT) vs ORU, W 66-61 at HBU

This week: Sat vs HBU

4. Northwestern St. Demons 12-13, 8-6: The Demons continue to be one of the most interesting teams in the Southland. Their crushing loss at SFA proved they can play with anyone and are a threat to beat anyone in the conference tournament. Unfortunately for the Demons, the loss has dropped them to a three-way tie among tournament eligible teams for fourth place in the standings. While fourth place does receive a single bye into the tourney's second round, it would also produce a semifinals matchup against SFA.

Last two weeks: L 67-64 at SHSU, W 87-67 at Lamar, L 70-68 at SFA

This week: Thu at SLU, Sat at UNO

5. Incarnate Word Cardinals 19-5, 7-4: Incarnate Word has had a quiet two weeks. The Cardinals defeated fellow DI newbie Abilene Christian then didn't play any non conference games during the Southland's travel partner matchup week. The Cardinals finish with three road games including this weekend at Nicholls, who are very much alive fighting for a first round tournament bye.

Last two weeks: W 80-68 vs ACU

This week: Thu at McNeese, Sat at Nicholls

6. Oral Roberts Golden Eagles 14-13, 8-6: Oral Roberts has bounced back from four losses in a row to win four of their last five with the only loss a road overtime setback to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. ORU is in the three-way tie for fourth and a first round bye, but three of their final four games this season will come against SHSU, SFA, and Northwestern St. If ORU finishes in the top four, they certainly will have earned it.

Last two weeks: W 80-66 at HBU, L 74-72 (OT) at AMCC, W 63-50 at UCA

This week: Thu vs Lamar, Sat vs SHSU

7. New Orleans Privateers 11-11, 8-6: Mark Slessinger's Privateers, ineligible for this year's Southland tournament, have their own "conference championship game" this week when 14-0 Stephen F. Austin visits Lakefront Arena. For a program rebuilding from scratch (literally) a .500 record and a winning league record when everyone predicted them no higher than 10th in the 14 team league has been quite an achievement. Knocking off the heavily favored Lumberjacks would be a major statement heading into 2014/15 for this program.

Last two weeks: W 70-64 vs Nicholls, L 72-69 vs McNeese, W 67-58 vs SLU

This week: Thu vs SFA, Sat vs NWST

8. Nicholls Colonels 11-12, 8-6: Nicholls' recent win over McNeese snapped a four game losing streak and couldn't have come at a better time. The Colonels were 7-2 when they traveled to SFA about three weeks ago. A 29 point loss to the Lumberjacks and four losses later, Nicholls season was on the brink. The win over McNeese keeps Nicholls' hopes of a first round bye in the conference tournament very much alive. The Colonels have games with Abilene Christian and Houston Baptist among its final four.

Last two weeks: L 70-64 at UNO, L 71-66 at SLU, W 68-59 vs McNeese

This week: Thu vs ACU, Sat vs UIW

9. Southeastern Louisiana Lions 11-14, 6-8: While not clinched into the Southland tournament yet, Southeastern Louisiana sits in a good spot heading into the final two weeks. They face a brutal schedule (NWST, SFA, and SHSU remain) but the team on the outside looking in that could theoretically catch the Lions, Central Arkansas, faces the same brutal schedule.

Last two weeks: W 62-53 vs McNeese, W 71-66 vs Nicholls, L 67-58 at UNO

This week: Thu vs NWST, Sat vs SFA

10. McNeese St. Cowboys 8-18, 6-8: As mentioned above, the only team with any real shot at passing McNeese is UCA and based on their schedule it's highly unlikely. Also in McNeese's favor is that the Cowboys closing schedule is much more forgiving. Games against ACU and HBU should provide the Cowboys with an opportunity to lock up a bid and quite possibly move up from their current eighth seed standing.

Last two weeks: L 62-53 at SLU, W 72-69 at UNO, L 68-59 at Nicholls

This week: Thu vs UIW, Sat vs ACU

11. Central Arkansas Bears 6-19, 3-11: Time is running out on the Central Arkansas Bears and interim Head Coach Clarence Finley. Facing that schedule mentioned above, the Bears will have a really tough time getting the wins needed to storm past SLU or McNeese into the SOuthland tournament field.

Last two weeks: L 84-73 at AMCC, L 99-83 at HBU, L 63-50 vs ORU

This week: Thu vs SHSU, Sat vs Lamar

12. Abilene Christian Wildcats 11-17, 2-9: I mentioned earlier that UIW took these two weeks off. Abilene Christian did just the opposite. ACU has won three straight heading into their final three games of the season, getting home wins over Dallas Christian, Arlington Baptist, and Southwestern Adventist.

Last two weeks: L 80-68 at UIW, 3 non-DI OOC wins

This week: Thu at Nicholls, Sat at McNeese

13. Lamar Cardinals 3-23, 2-12: Since we last met here on the Power Rankings, Lamar fired Head Coach Pat Knight. Knight was replaced on an interim basis by former New Orleans, Memphis, and McNeese head man Tic Price. In Price's first game on the bench, Lamar put a major scare into second place Sam Houston State before falling by three points. The hiring of Price is interim, but the timing of the hiring leads you to believe that Price will have an opportunity at the full time job once the season ends.

Last two weeks: L 78-69 vs SFA, L 87-67 vs NWST, L 74-71 vs SHSU

This week: Thu at ORU, Sat at UCA

14. Houston Baptist Huskies 6-22, 2-13: It's been a long year for Southland newcomer Houston Baptist. Of their 13 league losses, three were two point defeats and one came in overtime. If those games flipped the Huskies way, they'd be fighting for a tournament birth over these final two weeks.

Last two weeks: L 80-66 vs ORU, W 99-83 vs UCA, L 66-61 vs AMCC, non-DI OOC win

This week: Sat at AMCC

If the Southland Tournament started today…

First Round

#5 Nicholls (8-6) vs #8 McNeese (6-8)

#6 Oral Roberts (8-6) vs #7 Southeastern Louisiana (6-8)

Second round

#4 Northwestern State (8-6) vs Nicholls/McNeese

#3 A&M-Corpus Christi (11-4) vs ORU/SLU

Semifinals

#1 Stephen F. Austin (14-0) vs NWST/Nicholls/McNeese

#2 Sam Houston State (11-3) vs TAMUCC/ORU/SLU

The top eight finishers qualify for the Southland Conference tournament. New Orleans, Incarnate Word, and Abilene Christian are ineligible this season.

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