With Western Athletic Conference Commissioner Karl Benson leaving to take the same position with the Sun Belt, a merger between the two leagues continues to gain momentum. The Sun Belt, however, seems to always have the mentality of becoming the next Mid-American Conference in the sense that it is searching for stability, not cross country gallivanting.
The Sun Belt is the second-most stable small Football Bowl Subdivision conference behind the MAC, losing just three members to other conferences since 2000. The MAC has lost two members since 1955. Where do the Bobcats fit in to this grand scheme of future football alignment?
With the Southland Conference men’s basketball tournament looming two weeks away, the Texas State Bobcats look to win their second consecutive game on the road as they travel to Hammond, La.
The matchup with the Southeastern Louisiana Lions pits against each other two teams that desperately need wins and sport 3-9 records in SLC play.
The Bobcats notched their first road win Saturday in South Dakota after a 0-11 record away from Strahan Coliseum.
“Winning is a cure-all in athletics,” Coach Doug Davalos said. “Winning makes your food taste better, makes you sleep better, makes you want to get up the next day for practice even more. I give our guys a lot of credit.”
The Bobcats have won three out of their last four contests, only dropping a game to Texas-Arlington, the leader of the SLC.
Texas State’s starters picked up the offensive production and the defense Wednesday night, proving too much for A&M-Corpus Christi, sailing past the Islanders 79-61.
The Bobcats led by as much as 29 points and never trailed in the game.
“We played a tremendous first half,” Head Coach Doug Davalos said. “It was defense that had a lot to do with it. It was arguably one of our best defensive performances in terms of taking the guys that we wanted to take out of scoring opportunities and making the guys that were non-scorers try to make more plays.”
Commentary this week is presented by the sun and Sewell Park, where our offices have temporarilly moved, for the next hour. Gone forever: the dreary rain and the lack of brightness. Baseball and softball open their home schedules this weekend, which means spring sunshine is here.
It’s a shame that sunshine part is a lie. Rain is coming back to San Marcos this weekend, so just ignore the forecast and we can all move on with our sunshine and sports fantasy.
Daydreaming past this weekend, it will be great to sit out in the sun at a softball or baseball game to watch the Bobcats play, or any team for that matter. No more people walking with their heads down, not wanting to speak to anyone, or wishing hibernation was a human condition.
The sun is back (forget about this weekend’s forecast), and nothing helps a dreary mood or condition more than outdoor sports.
Texas State men’s basketball plays Texas A&M - Corpus Christi at home Wednesday in a game with potential postseason implications.
The Bobcats, who are in last place in the Southland Conference West Division, trail the Islanders for fifth place by one game and a loss would not only put the team two games back, but would mean Texas State loses a potential tiebreaker if the squads have even records at the end of the season.
“It’s definitely a must-win,” Reid Koenen, sophomore forward, said. “It can lead to us getting into the tournament and I feel like the rest of the guys on the team know we’ve definitely got to get this one in order to stay in contention.”
Koenen came in off the bench and scored 16 points (his highest total in two years at Texas State) in the 20-point loss last Saturday to the undefeated-in-conference Texas-Arlington Mavericks. Koenen hopes he contributes in a big way again Wednesday.
Texas State men’s basketball had 12 players put points on the board against Central Arkansas last night, including 21 from Brooks Ybarra, senior forward, snapping a six-game losing streak.
The 94-63 victory moves the Bobcats out of the Southland Conference cellar and improves their conference record to 2-8 and 9-14 overall.
“When both Ybarra and John Bowman took charge, that kind of set the tone for what we were going to do defensively,” Head Coach Doug Davalos said. “It was nice to put two halves together and live to play another game. Our pulse is faint, but we’re hanging in there.”
The feeling of winning has been lost for almost a month. For men’s basketball next up for the Bobcats is a big matchup with 2-7 Central Arkansas, which can better position the Bobcats for a late season run and the eighth and final seed in the Southland Conference tournament.
“We’re tired of losing and we need this win,” Brooks Ybarra, senior forward, said. “We have to have this win, losing is not an option.”
The Bobcats have been outscored in the paint 112-62 in the last three games and it will be key to stopping the bears points in the paint. Stopping UCA goes hand in hand with defending LaQuentin Miles, sophomore guard, who averages 17.1 PPG in the Southland Conference, second best in the league. Miles isn’t the typical guard. He is just 0-2 from the 3-point range and second on the team in rebounding (5.6 RPG). Miles also has 48 assists and 43 steals in 20 games for the Bears.
Texas State men’s basketball fell behind in the first half against Nicholls State and could not retake the lead, falling 96-75 for the Bobcats’ sixth-straight loss.
The men had a 22-21 lead with 10:11 to go in the first half when Nicholls State completed a 15-1 run with scoring from six different players. Texas State was never able to establish a lead after that point and the Colonels were able to control a double-digit advantage the entire second half.
Head Coach Doug Davalos said he does not get the sense his team is quitting on the season.
“I don’t get the sense of ‘poor me,’ ” he said. “The frustration is there but they are getting back up. It’s not that the kids don’t want to win. We don’t respond well to adversity. The best remedy for that is to win one of these close games.”
Texas State football signed 25 recruits Wednesday, sealing the foundation for the Bobcats’ first season in the Western Athletic Conference.
With their first full year to scout and sign prospects, Head Coach Dennis Franchione and his staff stretched as far as California and Kentucky to find prospects.
According to Rivals.com ratings, Texas State earned the best recruiting class in the WAC, hauling in 11 three-star recruits, two more than the next highest total in the conference.
Franchione said the process was less hectic this time around compared to his start last season when he had less than two weeks to seek his first recruiting class.
“It’s a little less eventful than having to go to four different locations due to rolling blackouts,” he said. “And it’s also nice to have 11 to 12 months to recruit instead of 12 days.”
Four Texas State turnovers and five-for-five shooting from Stephen F. Austin put the men’s basketball team in an early 11-3 hole, and the Lumberjacks never looked back.
The Bobcats ultimately lost 71-63, dropping them to last place in the Southland Conference standings after Nicholls State improved to 2-7 in conference with a win over A&M-Corpus Christi.
The Lumberjacks shot 60-percent from the floor, winning the game despite 23 turnovers. The Bobcats struggled from the floor all night, shooting 39-percent.
Just like in the first matchup this season, Texas State was unable to draw fouls on the Lumberjacks. The Bobcats went nine for 11 from the line Wednesday, similar to the four for six effort last time the teams played.
Texas State did not attempt its first free throw until one minute to go in the first half.