Stephen F. Austin’s scheduling issues exacerbated by ... airports?
Stephen F. Austin is one of the best mid-major programs in the country.
Stephen F. Austin is having a nightmare of a time trying to put together a non-conference schedule.
We’ve heard stories like this before, haven’t we?
Good mid-major programs always have trouble convincing good, high-major programs to play them. It’s almost impossible to convince one of those big schools to play a road game somewhere like SFA because what high-major program wants to risk a loss like that in November?
So when we see stories like this come out this time of year, it’s business as usual.But there’s a unique twist to the issues that SFA is dealing with. From The Sawmill:
Nacogdoches lacks a nearby commercial airport, making travel to an already difficult home-court environment even more arduous for opponents.
During the brief window of time to play 10 to 12 games during the non-conference schedule, Underwood says travel becomes a huge factor. “That’s why the frustrating thing for me and our basketball program has been the lack of regional games,” he explains. “Other than Baylor, nobody in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, or Louisiana, has been able to play. So all the games become flights, and it literally becomes three days for one game.”
SFA has won three straight conference regular season titles. They’ve been to back-to-back NCAA tournaments. The scheduling may be frustrating, but they’re playing in March at a time when a lot of the teams that avoid them are NIT-bound.
That’s got to feel good.