Game 32 – Southland Conference Tournament Quarterfinals
Thursday, March 8 • Katy • 5:00 p.m. CT • Leonard E. Merrell Center
No. 4 Sam Houston State (18-13, 12-6 Southland) vs No. 5 New Orleans (15-15, 11-7 SLC)
Live Stats • ESPN3 • @BearkatsMBB on Twitter
KATY – The Sam Houston State Bearkats will kick off their run for a berth in the Big Dance on Thursday when they take on No. 5 New Orleans at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in the quarterfinals of the Southland Conference Tournament.
Sam Houston secured the No. 4 seed and a first-round bye in the event with a 12-6 mark in the regular season, finishing behind only regular season co-champions Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls along with No. 3 seed Stephen F. Austin.
UNO advanced to meet the Kats with an 83-76 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday evening in the opening round of the tournament.
The Kats are set to take the floor at 5 p.m. on Thursday night against the Privateers in a contest to be aired on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. David Saltzman will have the call of the game alongside analyst Ben Braun. Live stats will also be available and fans can get updates as they happen by following @BearkatsMBB on Twitter.
With two more wins the Bearkats would secure its fourth 20-win season in the last five years under head coach Jason Hooten who comes into Katy with a 9-7 record in the tournament during his tenure, a mark that includes a pair of berths in the SLC Tournament title game.
2018 marks the 21st time the Bearkats have qualified for the Southland Conference Tournament. It is also the 16th consecutive time the Kats have done so, not missing the event since 2002.
The Kats are 19-18 all-time in the Southland Conference Tournament, and have claimed a pair of tournament titles (2003 and 2010) along with finishing second three times. The last time the Kats were in the title game was in 2015, the second of consecutive tournaments where they fell to Stephen F. Austin for the title.
Sam Houston enters the tournament as the No. 4 seed, marking the third time the Bearkats have been the No. 4 seed in the event. They are 1-2 all-time as the No. 4 seed, going 1-1, 2001 when it won its first-round game in double OT over UT Arlington before losing to top-seed McNeese in the semifinals. They were also the No. 4 seed in 1990, dropping a game in the opening round to No. 5 UT Arlington.
The Bearkats put together a 4-0 record against its side of the bracket in 2018, knocking off Texas A&M-Corpus Christi twice while also picking up wins over both New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana in games that were each played in Huntsville. Five of Sam Houston’s six league losses this season came from teams on the opposite side of the bracket.
Sam Houston is 3-3 in tournament games all-time against teams on its side of the bracket. The Kats fell in the tournament semifinals a year ago to eventual champion New Orleans in what was the first meeting between the teams in the event. The Kats are also 2-1 against TAMUCC and 1-1 against Southeastern Louisiana, not having faced the Lions in the tournament since 2010.