JOPLIN, Mo. – For the fourth consecutive week, the Southern Arkansas Men’s Basketball team holds the No. 6 ranking in the Division II Sports Information Directors of America (D2SIDA) Central Region Media Poll. The newest rankings released on Monday have the Muleriders slotted in the final spot with five total points; a single point back of Arkansas-Monticello which entered the poll for the first time this season.
The Muleriders (6-2, 5-2 GAC) are currently in second place, a half game back of Arkansas-Monticello, in the Great American Conference’s Eastern Division standings.
SAU averages over 72 points per game and owns the league’s second-best scoring margin at +6.4 as a result of employing a defense that ranks third in scoring at 65.9 ppg (22nd nationally). The Muleriders are one of the GAC’s toughest teams to shoot against as SAU ranks second in field-goal percentage defense at 40.8% (22nd nationally) and third in three-point field goal percentage defense at 29.8%. Southern Arkansas leads the GAC in rebounding margin at +6.7 (22nd nationally) and in steals per game with 8.0.
Senior guard Aaron Lucas’ 25 total steals this season lead the GAC and rank eighth in Division II. His steals per game rate of 3.12 rates fourth in the country. Senior forward Devante Brooks owns the 13th-highest field-goal percentage in the nation at 66.2%.
Lucas leads the team in scoring with 16.3 ppg, Devante Brooks follows at 15.0 ppg and junior combo Jalen Brooks is scoring over 13.0 ppg.
Southern Arkansas hits the floor on Thursday against Ouachita inside the W.T. Watson Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. The Muleriders have earned a pair of wins over Ouachita this season: a 69-58 decision in the Muleriders’ home opener on January 9 and an 83-62 victory on January 28 in Magnolia. SAU is unbeaten at home this season at 4-0.
The poll’s format changed from ten to six in 2020-21 to reflect the reduction in the amount of teams that will qualify for the NCAA postseason tournament. The D2SIDA Central Region Media Poll is voted on by six sports information directors from six Central Region schools.
Week 4 Poll (2/1) Team Points Record Last Week
1 Northwest Missouri (6) 36 12-1 1
2 Northern State 30 10-0 2
3 Washburn 23 11-3 3
4 Sioux Falls 15 5-1 4
5 Ark.-Monticello 6 7-2 NR
6 Southern Arkansas 5 6-2 6
RV MSU Moorhead (5), Oklahoma Baptist (4), Minnesota State (2)