SFA — Where Does The Story End?

The Lumberjacks earned their first tournament bid in history.

It is customary for the lower seeded, minor conference teams to be forgotten when it comes to the Big Dance every March. There are just too many teams and too little time to get to all their stories, usually.
Stephen F. Austin is no different.
The Lumberjacks (seeded 14th in the south region) are headed to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the history of the program. Of course, this will only be mentioned in passing; we’re trying to get the “big picture” here and so the obvious storyline going into Friday is how Syracuse (ranked 3rd in the south) will fare once they beat that little team from Texas.
This may be fair. After all, analysts have a job to do, namely leaning toward the probable in just about any case; it helps the game really, as the experts are just as shocked as anyone else when a “Cinderella” team jumps up and bites a large, wealthy and revered program.
So if you are lucky enough to hear “SFA” on your television sets, don’t be surprised when it’s followed by “don’t stand a chance on Friday.”
But Stephen F. Austin’s journey to this point is a story in itself. In 2003 and 2004, the Jacks lost the Southland Conference’s championship game. In 2007-2008, they entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed before losing in the semifinals.
But this season, behind two conference MVPs (Josh Alexander-2008 and Matt Kingsley-2009) the Jacks fulfilled the potential seen earlier in the decade, entering the top seed and exiting conference champions. They are talented, and they are hungry, coming into the NCAA tournament.
Granted, the Jacks didn’t exactly have a staggering schedule. Granted, the Carrier Dome, Syracuse’s home gym, could seat the entire town of Nacogdoches with room to spare. And I doubt Jonny Flynn had even heard of Stephen F. Austin University before selection night.
Stephen F. Austin will, in all likelihood, be beaten by the Orange on Friday in Miami.
But, then again, I always like a good surprise.

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