Southern University Jaguars Preview
Date: Friday, November 22nd
Time: 7:00 pm CST/8:00 pm EST
Location: Lincoln, NE
2018-19 Record: 7-25 (6-12 Southwest Athletic Conference)
2019-20 Record: 2-2 (0-0 Southwest Athletic Conference)
All-Time Series Record: 2-0 Nebraska
Coach: Sean Woods (2nd Season)
Odds: Nebraska -18.5
How To Watch: Spend your Delaney bucks spent on BTN+
There’s not really any way to sugarcoat it, Southern U was plain awful last season. Looking at their 7-25 record from last season, I can confidently say I’ve heard of 13 opponents (they won just one of those games). Roughly half of those games were 20+ point losses, including a loss by 50 points at Louisville, 104-54. Perhaps the team’s best loss was managing to keep the final score to only 9 points against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in Brookings.
The cupboard is quite bare in terms of returning production for the Jaguars. Leading minutes and points for the team, Sidney Umude (12.5 points in 27.3 minutes a game) has graduated, along with second in points and minutes Richard Lee (9.6 points in 25.4 minutes). Also gone is Aaron Ray who chipped in with 6.6 points in 23.9 minutes, and Eddie Reese, the second leading scorer from 2017-18 left the team over winter break after clashes with the new head coach.
SU’s record was not good last season, and their RPI was pretty much just as bad, coming at 343rd and a SOS that ranked 329th. About the only quality win they got over a team in the top half of RPI rankings was managing one 10 point win on the road over 193rd conference opponent Texas Southern in their three tries on the season.
Southern U is 2-2 right now, but against D1 programs, they are 0-2. They’re also 345th in RPI and 343rd in KenPom. The Jaguars wins are over NAIA Loyola New Orleans 87-70, and over NCCAA (I honestly didn’t know about this athletic association until now) Ecclesia College 121-55. If any of you remember my preseason preview, I mentioned the fact I have been to Baton Rouge a number of times and didn’t realize Southern U was there. Well, I spent a week in Springdale, AR for work in 2015, and I never realized Ecclesia was there. Oops. I should really get out of the office more clearly.
Their losses are to two teams who, if not exactly powerhouses, are both currently in the upper half of D1 basketball in terms of RPI. Murray State, 151st RPI, downed Southern U 69-49. New Mexico State, an NCAA tournament team last season and 129th in RPI right now, beat the Jaguars 79-63.
Given just the two games against quality opponents, the stats don’t give us a great picture overall of Southern U. Against Murray State, the Jags shot a paltry 13.6% from three, going 3 for 22. From field goal range, they weren’t much better at 31.1%. Flip the script against New Mexico State when they shot 7 of 12 from deep for 58.3%, and a respectable if not great 44% from the field. Not exactly an offensive juggernaut against D1 competition. Couple poor shooting with the ugly stats of an average of 15 turnovers between both games, and getting out-rebounded by 12.5 on average. Finally, five players fouled out against NM St. (in a game that did not go past regulation mind you) while six were in foul trouble against Murray St. The one positive stat they have going for them was 8 blocks against Murray State.
Freshman Damiree Burns is leading Southern with 11.3 points per game so far on the season while averaging 69.6% from field goal range (definitely padded by their non-D1 opponents). Their leading re-bounder is senior forward Darius Williams, whose 6’9”, 200 lbs. frame will likely cause problems for the Huskers.
I think the Huskers should get a needed confidence boost off their win over South Dakota State, and even if they shoot poorly and forget how to play defense tonight, they still get the win. Southern U is not a good team, and this will ideally be a great opportunity to get line-ups firmed up just a bit more and more comfort and confidence playing together before the Huskers head to the Caribbean.
Huskers win by at least twelve, call final score 72-60.
Also, if you’re in Omaha Monday night, head over to Baxter Arena to watch Southern U take on the Omaha Mavericks in their Cayman Islands Classic campus game.