'Jacks Ready To Close Regular Season
March 5, 2014
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - First year head coach Brad Underwood nears elite company as the Stephen F. Austin men's basketball team looks to close their regular season undefeated at home for a second consecutive year.
Underwood, with 27 wins and a Coach of the Year candidate according to ESPN's Seth Greenberg, is one win shy of cracking into the NCAA's top 10 best career starts at the Division I level. Underwood can join Keno Davis (Drake - 28-5, 2008), Mick Cronin (Murray State - 28-6, 2004) and Anthony Grant (VCU - 28-7, 2007), with a win against either Oral Roberts or Central Arkansas to close out the 2013-14 regular season schedule. Bill Guthridge recorded the best head coaching start, finishing 34-4 at North Carolina in 1998.
SFA (27-2, 16-0 SLC), with the nation's most road wins at 14 victories and a share of the longest active road win streak at 12 straight, has continued to garner national attention, holding the No. 2 spot in CollegeInsider.com's Mid-Major Top 25 poll. The `Jacks are second for a second straight week, the highest ranking in program history, and are also fifth in the Mid-Major Madness Power 15.
For a seventh straight week SFA is receiving at least one vote in the USA Today Coaches Poll, now with nine votes, with a feature on the team appearing on Mar. 5. After their first appearance of the season in Week 15, the `Jacks also continue to receive points in the Associated Press' Top 25. SFA is currently receiving 38 points, an increase of 27 points from Week 17 (11). The `Jacks received votes in both polls last season and in the 2007-08 campaign.
SFA, which hasn't lost since Nov. 23, has continued to rank with elite company in several other categories, including conference play. The 16-0 mark for the `Jacks is in the same conversation with No. 1 Florida (16-0) and No. 2 Wichita St. (18-0), as the only remaining school without a loss in league play.
SFA also continues to build on its second-longest all-time streak and most since the 1971-72 season (16) with 24 straight overall wins, which continues to rank second in the nation behind only Wichita St. (31). The program's all-time mark is 29 straight, set during the 1969-70 campaign as a member of the Lone Star Conference. The 24 straight wins are also the most-ever for a Southland Conference school, as the 27 overall wins for the `Jacks mark the first time a league school has reached 27 wins in the regular season in the SLC's 51 years of existence.
Underwood continues to extend his first-year success as program's all-time winningest head coach in their first season with at SFA. With the 74-58 victory at Northwestern State back on Jan. 16, Underwood passed Glen Rose (1948) and John O. Stephens (1952), who both recorded 15 wins back in their respective first seasons.
One of 351 NCAA Division I men's basketball programs in the country, the `Jacks currently rank in the top 10 in both win percentage (2nd-93.1), turnover margin (4th-5.7), scoring margin (9th-13.7) and assists per game (10th-16.4). SFA also ranks 19th in assists-to-turnover ratio (1.44). Defensively, the `Jacks rank 23rd in scoring defense (62.3) and are 59th in scoring offense (76.0).
Other statistics of note, the `Jacks rank 27th in steals per game (7.9) and 48th in rebounding margin (4.3).
SFA will host to Oral Roberts on Thursday, Mar. 6, before playing Central Arkansas (Mar. 8) on ESPN3. The Saturday game with UCA will also serve as senior night for Desmond Haymon, Nikola Gajic and Deshaunt Walker.