I’ve been to Baton Rouge, LA, home of Southern U, four times for LSU football games. I even flew in and out of the airport there for one of the trips. I feel sort of bad that I never knew near the airport is a historic African American land grant school named Southern University and A&M College. In my defense, I’ve always deferred to my friend, who is an LSU grad and hence my entire reason for ever visiting Baton Rouge, for planning the itinerary for my visits to LSU with him, but ignorance is never a true defense for lack of knowledge. So after writing this preview about the Jaguars basketball team I will be sure the next time I’m at a LSU Tigers football game I’ll make the trip up to the northern end of Baton Rouge to see their campus.
Southern University and A&M College
Date: Friday, November 22nd 8:00 PM ET BTN+
Location: The Vault, Lincoln, NE
2018-2019 Season Record: 7-25
2018-2019 Conference Record: 6-12
Conference: Southwestern Athletic Conference
Head Coach: Sean Woods
Entering 2nd season after serving as an assistant coach at Stetson University for one year. Before that he served as the Head Coach at Morehead State for five seasons, compiling a 77-70 record, including 23-14 (11-5 conference) in his last season before he resigned over allegations by two players that he assaulted them. Prior to that he was the head coach at Mississippi Valley State, and an assistant at TCU, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and High Point. He played at Kentucky from 1989-92 where his #11 jersey hangs in the rafters to this day, and he was inducted into the UK Hall of Fame.
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.
Returning, however, is forward Jayden Saddler who averaged 8.4 points, 3.6 assists, and 1.6 steals in 28.9 minutes a game and managed 49.4% from inside the arc. Also back is Bryan Assie who will need to step up his 4 points and 3.6 rebounds over 15.7 minutes a game.
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.
There’s honestly no reason why anyone should expect this to be competitive for even one possession. The takeaway from this game should be that Coach Hoiberg forces the team to focus on key offensive and defensive fundamentals he has determined need work and treat this game like the tune up scrimmage it should be before the Huskers finally face a P6 opponent in their next game. Expect it to be a minimum 15 point lead at the half. Let’s call the final score after the bench comes in with more than 5:00 left in the game 98-59. GBR!