I think if you took a look at every team in the NCAA Tournament and asked Syracuse fans which one they knew least about going in, there's a very good chance it would have been Stephen F. Austin. So, let's get to it, shall we?
STATE Your Name
It's Stephen F. Austin State, folks. Don't you forget it. It's a public university in Naco...Nacaog...Na...not gonna work here anymore (Zing!). Nacogdoches, Texas, I mean. It's a small town (30K population) on the East side of Texas that's most notable having received much of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster debris in 2003. So there's that.
Oh, That Stephen F. Austin...
The school was founded in 1923 and named after, uh, Stephen F. Austin, widely regarded as the "Father of Texas." I guess he just really loved fatty foods, the death penalty and guns. He was part of the creation of Texas' first state government and ran for President of Texas but was soundly defeated by Sam Houston. He instead became Secretary of State, in a move that oddly mirrors Hilary Clinton's recent career trajectory (make comparisons between the two at your own will). He only held the post for two months before dying from a severe cold. Must've been a helluva sniffle.
You Jackin' It?
The mascot is the Lumberjacks, named in tribute to the forest industry which is a major component of the area's economy. The women's teams are not the Lady Lumberjacks, however, they are the LadyJacks. That's all.
Cause Stone Cold Stephen F. Austin Says So
Good thing Stephen kept the F. cause there's been quite a few other famous Steve Austins since his time. Some have been fictional, like Steve "The Six Million Dollar Man" Austin. Others are living people, like Steve Austin the Australian broadcaster. But the kids today probably most think of Stone Cold Steve Austin when they hear the name. The defiant, beer-swilling grappler was arguably the most famous wrestler since Hulk Hogan and continues to represent toughness and all general forms of bad-assery. So it's probably a good thing that most people don't see this photo. He wasn't always Stone Cold, folks.
Look Around, Get To Know The Place
This is Stephen F. Austin's first trip to the Big Dance. They got here by beating Texas-San Antonio 68-57 in the Southland Conference championship game. The game was played on Sunday so immediately afterwards the team ran to a local restaurant to watch the selection show.
That's the name given to the SFAS student section. So if you're looking for them on Friday, they're the smattering of purple in the corner over there.If you see them giving you some kind of two-fingered salute, don't panic or assume you're about to get a proctology exam. It's just their version of the Hook'm Horns.
And Yet, No One Named Stephen or Austin
User kaisrertown did all the heavy lifting so here's the SFAS lineup:
Matt Kingsley – 6’9’’ – SR
Nick Shaw – 6’6’’ – SR
Josh Alexander – 6’4’’ – SR
Girod Adams – 5’10’’ – JR
Eric Bell – 5’3’’ (not a typo) – JR
5'3"??? Jonny Flynn's gonna tower over this guy. Then again, my sister towers over this guy.
I defer to kaisertown for the analysis:
Center Matt Kinglsey is their leading scorer at 16 points per game and he rebounds well at almost 8 per game and that is all in 30 minutes a contest. The big question for him will be whether he can grab some offensive rebounds against the zone, whether his team can penetrate the zone and get him the ball and whether he can match up defensively and stay out of foul trouble against Cuse’s big men (that last one is under the assumption that Syracuse actually tries to get Onuaku and Jackson the ball which they should against such a weak opponent).
Small forward Josh Alexander will be the most interesting player to keep an eye on. He is a solid rebounder despite being only 6’4’’ and averages over 5 per game and over 2 offensive boards per game. He can shoot the outside shot and actually attempts about 7 three pointers per game (hits 35% of them), but he also can get to the free throw line where he earns 4 shots per game and hits 78% of those. He averages 14.5 ppg and could be the kind of guy who can shine and keep his team in it, or get beat up by bigger, faster players and dissapear as his team gets crushed. He is probably the key to SFA not getting run off the floor.
I defy you write more than 50 words at a time in March and not use the word 'penetrate' at least once. It's impossible. Good work, Kais.
We'll See Your 3 OTs And Raise You 3 More
SU isn't the only school in this match-up with some overtime experience. One of the best games this season you never heard of was played on December 12th, 2008. Austin defeated North Dakota State 112-111 in tripe overtime. Three players scored 23 or more for the 'Jacks.