Southland moves to points system, COVID-19 prompts adjustment

Jim Gazzolo, Special to the American Press

Southland Conference officials made a decision that will make hockey fans feel right at home.

In an effort to make things fair for all teams, the league devised a points system for their basketball standings.

Instead of going with the usual winning percentage, and in light of the fact that all games will not be played this year due to COVID-19, the conference will use points to determine the final standings.

Each team will be awarded three points for a victory and one point for a game not played. The McNeese State men, for instance, have 14 points heading into the final two games of the regular season with a 4-8 league record and two games not played.

Nicholls State (13-2) has clinched a share for the most wins in the regular season. That means the Colonels are guaranteed a tie for the title despite having 39 points. Abilene Christian, Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin are all 11-2 and have 34 points. If any of those teams win out, and McNeese upsets Nicholls Thursday night, the Colonels would lose the title by one point, 40-39.

SFA is not eligible for the postseason tournament, electing to take its one-year ban this year instead of their original decision to do it after next season.

I’m sorry for all this if you were promised there would be no math.

After Thursday night’s game at Burton Coliseum, Nicholls will be off. The game was moved a day to accommodate the high school basketball tournament. The rest of the Southland plays today.

That means the Cowboys will have a chance to play spoiler, but don’t tell them that.

“We are playing really well of late,” said McNeese head coach Heath Schroyer. “We still have a lot to play for. We are coming together, and if we can get in the tournament I think we can make a run.”

McNeese’s path to the SLC postseason got easier when the league decided to expand the number of men’s and women’s teams invited from eight to 10.

With two games left and two games that won’t be made up, McNeese is 10th in the league. Those missing games really hurt because they were set for home, where the Cowboys are 7-3.

“We just ran out of dates to play those games,” Schroyer said. “You really hate the fact that those were home games. You miss out on a chance to win at home.”

McNeese is one point behind Lamar, which comes to town to close out the regular season on Saturday. However, with SFA out McNeese is one point shy of clinching the final tourney spot.

SLC Men’s Basketball Standings

W L GR GL Pts.

Nicholls St. 13 2 1 0 39

Sam Houston St. 11 2 2 1 34

Abilene Christian 11 2 2 1 34

*Stephen F. Austin 11 2 2 1 34

Northwestern St. 8 6 2 0 25

Incarnate Word 5 6 2 3 18

New Orleans 6 7 2 1 19

SE Louisiana 5 8 2 1 16

Lamar 5 10 1 0 15

McNeese St. 4 8 2 2 14

Houston Baptist 3 9 2 2 12

Cent. Arkansas 3 11 2 0 9

Texas A&M-CC 1 12 2 1 5

Note: League awards three points per win, one point for games canceled by COVID-19.

*Ineligible for SLC

GR—games remaining

GL—Games lostHeath Schroyer, Cowboys head basketball coach

American Press

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