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Red River Athletic Conference

The Red River Athletic Conference had two of the four teams in last years “Fab Four” and one played for the national title. So what should we expect this season? Don’t be surprised if you see two member in the “Fab Four” again this, and a couple of members have a legitimate chance of winning the national championship. Without a doubt the RRAC will the most entertaining men's basketball in the NAIA this season. Here is a look at each team as the 2013-2014 nears.  

Bacone Warriors
Muskogee, Oklahoma
Coach: Alan Foster
Last Season: 8-21 (6-16)

It was a rough seasons for Bacone last year losing 21 games with only one senior on the squad. There were signs of hope for this season as Bacone won three of its final four games of the season. The Warriors are still a way from winning the RRAC but a RRAC tournament appearance isn’t out of the question.

Projected RRAC Record: 7-11


Huston-Tillotson Rams
Austin, Texas
Coach: Thomas Henderson
Last Season: 7-23 (6-16)

Elwood Plummer’s return to Huston-Tillotson was not a sweet one and now the team has handed over to Thomas Henderson. The Rams were 6-7 in RRAC play at the end of January and then the bottom fell out. HTU lost its final 10 games of the season and finished tied with Bacone near the bottom of the RRAC standings.  The lone bright spot for the Rams was Demetrius Smith who led the nation in rebounding with over 11 a game. HTU will struggle again this season and take a step back.

Projected RRAC Record:  2-16


Jarvis Christian Bulldogs
Hawkins, Texas
Last Season: 16-16 (12-10)
Head Coach: Chevis Thompson

Jarvis Started the season off slow a year ago but turned it on late winning 10 of its final 14 games, and three of those losses were by a total of five points. The Bulldogs lost two starters from a last season and one was the team’s leading scorer Marcus O'Key, but they do return EJ Freeman (14.2 ppg) and Roman Walker (13.1 ppg). Jarvis could be the team that shakes things up this year in the RRAC.

Projected RRAC Record:  12-6


Langston Lions
Langston, Oklahoma
Coach: Nigel Thomas
Last Season: 12-17 (8-13)

Watching Langston a year ago was a lot like riding a roller-coaster. You would reach the top with a win over Texas Wesleyan and the speed down with a gut wrenching loss to Huston-Tillotson. That was how the season was for the Lions. Coach Thomas feels the Lions will be better on the defensive end of the floor, and has branded the program, “TNT”, toughness, no excuses and togetherness. I was big on Langston last year and they didn’t live up to it, but I will give them some love again, just not as much.

Projected RRAC Record:  9-9


LSU Shreveport Pilots
Shreveport, Louisiana
Coach: Kyle Blankenship
Last Season: 27-7 (18-4)

Blankenship came to LSU-Shreveport last year and expectations were for a drop off for the Pilots under the first year head coach. Well it wasn’t. The Pilots made it to the “Fab Four” in Kansas City losing in a thriller to eventual national champion Georgetown. Most teams would worry about losing a player like Rodney Milum (22.9 ppg) to graduation, but not LSUS who still has arguably the best player in the NAIA returning in Brandon Davis. Davis. In my opinion Davis was a better choice as player of the year than was the trendy choice of that guy from Waxahachie. This could easily be the best team to ever play at the “Dock”.

Projected RRAC Record:  17-1


Our Lady of the Lake University Saints
San Antonio, Texas
Coach: Russell Vanlandingham
Last Season: 18-13 (14-8)

Last season was a nightmare at times for the Saints, filled with embarrassing losses to Lubbock Christian, Texas College, Texas Wesleyan, St. Thomas and Bacone. What a difference a summer can make. The Saints hit the recruiting trail hard and landed some good talent. One of those guys the Saints picked up is Xavier Roberson, a transfer from South Alabama where he averaged 13.8 points per game for the Jaguars. Like LSU-Shreveport, this looks to be the best team to ever play at the Lake, so mark your calendars for January 25, and March 1. LSUS and OLLU have played some classics but this season should be epic. Don’t look for OLLU to be ranked in the preseason coaches’ poll, but trust me they should.

Projected RRAC Record:  17-1


Southwest Mustangs
Hobbs, New Mexico
Coach: Charles Goar
Last Season: 5-24 (2-20)

Southwest last season reminded me of the movie The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly if you took the good out of the title. The Mustangs have only won 15 games the last two years and one of those came because of a Texas College forfeit. It’s going to be a long season again in Hobbs, with the only bright spots being that they play Sul Ross State, and Northern New Mexico (three times).

Projected RRAC Record:  1-17


St. Thomas Celts
Houston, Texas
Coach: Todd Smith
Last Season: 28-6 (18-4)

The Celts made their way to Kansas City the old fashion way with good defense and strong point guard play from Travis Lampley. Lampley is gone but a lot of experience and the key addition of Craig Grigsby (SAGU) will help St. Thomas to make another run at the national tournament. The Celts will be better, but the problem is just about everyone else in the RRAC has gotten better too.

Projected RRAC Record:  13-5


Texas College Steers
Tyler, Texas
Coach: Marquet Norfleet
Last Season: 12-17 (6-15)

Last season for Texas College reminded me of the movie Caddyshack when the old man is playing the greatest round of golf in his life and then dies when he is struck by lightning. The Steers were 13-2 in early January and then they were struck by lightning for the second time in three years. The use of ineligible players led to Texas College forfeiting eight games and sinking any chance of winning the RRAC. This year it’s hard to tell how well the Steers will be. Coach Norfleet is a really good coach and his teams find ways to win; it’s just going to be harder this season.

Projected RRAC Record:  7-11


Wiley College Wildcats
Marshall, Texas
Coach: Andre Payne
Last Season: 15-15 (9-13)

Every season I look at Wiley and you think they are going to okay and then they hit a rough patch. Last season Wiley hit that rough patch twice at two crucial stages of conference play. Coach Payne will have his squad ready as the Wildcats will be much better this season, but as I said before, so will a lot of the teams in the RRAC.

Projected RRAC Record:  12-6


2013-2014 RRAC Standings

Team

W

L

LSU-Shreveport

17

1

OLLU

17

1

St. Thomas

13

5

Jarvis Christian

12

6

Wiley College

12

6

Langston

9

9

Texas College

7

11

Bacone College

7

11

Huston-Tillotson

2

16

Southwest

1

17

RRAC Tournament Champions

LSU-Shreveport

Preseason All-RRAC

First Team

Brandon Davis- LSU-Shreveport
Demetrius Smith- Huston-Tillotson
Xavier Roberson- OLLU
Anthony Jackson- Wiley College
Derrick Thomas- Bacone College

Second Team

Bryan Kaase- St. Thomas
Ernest Freeman- Jarvis Christian
Roman Walker- Jarvis Christian
Mark Politte- LSU-Shreveport
Marcus Thompson- OLLU