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What’s at stake in the Southland’s final weekend

Very little is set in stone.

NCAA Basketball: Nicholls State at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s almost the end of the Southland regular season, and it’s been a surprising one to say the least. At the end of January, most everyone had Stephen F. Austin as the shoo-in for the No. 1 seed in the league tournament. But heading into the final game, the Jacks are out of contention for a top-two seed, and therefore can’t qualify for a double bye.

Here are the current standings:

Southland Standings March 2nd

Team Record vs. 3/3/2018
Team Record vs. 3/3/2018
Nicholls** 15-2 SE Louisiana
SE Louisiana** 14-3 Nicholls
Stephen F Austin* 13-4 Sam Houston
Sam Houston 12-5 Stephen F Austin
Lamar 11-6 McNeese
New Orleans 11-7 BYE
Central Arkansas 9-8 Northwestern St
Texas A&M CC 7-10 Houston Baptist
Abilene Christian 7-10 Incarnate Word
McNeese 7-10 Lamar
Incarnate Word 2-15 Abilene Christian
Houston Baptist 2-15 Texas A&M CC
Northwestern State 1-16 Central Arkansas
* - Clinched Single Bye
** - Clinched Double Bye

Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls face each other Saturday, with Nicholls playing for an outright regular season conference championship in Richie Riley’s second year as head coach. On the other end, Southeastern Louisiana is playing for a share of the title, and whomever wins this game will snag the No. 1 seed in the Southland Tournament.

Southeastern Louisiana will be playing with a small rotation since the incident last week where a player, Jabbar Singleton, was involved in a shooting of a teammate, James Currington. Currington was checked into the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and Singleton was arrested along with two other people. Singleton has been suspended indefinitely.

Elsewhere, there is a three-way race for the eighth and final tournament spot between Abilene Christian, Texas A&M Corpus Christi and McNeese State. The Islanders have the most scenarios where they make the playoffs with four, McNeese has three scenarios where it makes it and Abilene Christian has only one.

What McNeese needs to make the tournament: win plus an ACU loss or Texas A&M Corpus Christi loss.

What Texas A&M Corpus Christi needs to make the tournament: win plus a McNeese loss or win plus both ACU and McNeese winning or both ACU and McNeese losing.

What Abilene Christian needs to make the tournament: win plus Texas A&M Corpus Christi loss and McNeese loss.

he last single bye seed is also up for grabs. If Sam Houston State beats SFA, it moves up to the No. 3 seed, but if Sam Houston State loses and Lamar beats McNeese then the Bearkats move down to the fifth seed. If both teams lose, then Sam Houston State is the No. 4 seed and Lamar is the No. 6 seed.

There is only one seed that is set in stone, and that’s No. 7 seed Central Arkansas. Everything else has big implications for the Southland Tournament and will set up for an exciting final Saturday of games.