College Preview

2006 Southwestern Athletic Conference Preview




HOW THEY'LL FINISH



Conference Overall

EAST
W
L
W
L
1. Jackson State
14
9
29
20
2. Alcorn State
14
9
24
21
3. Mississippi Valley State
18
5
19
28
4. Alabama State
10
13
14
25
5. Alabama A&M
2
22
10
32

WEST
W
L
W
L
1. +Southern
17
7
29
18
2. Prairie View
13
11
31
27
3. Texas Southern
17
7
22
24
4. Grambling State
7
16
13
31
5. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
5
18
9
40
(2005 records listed; 2006 national ranking in parentheses)
+ 2005 conference tournament champion; NCAA regional participants in boldface

Projected NCAA Teams (1): Southern.
Conference Schedule: 24 games. Schedule begins Feb. 17.
Conference Tournament: Six teams, May 18-23 at Birmingham, Ala.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM (2005 records listed; 2006 national ranking in parentheses)
+ 2005 conference tournament champion; NCAA regional participants in boldface

C—Alfonso Renya, Jr., Texas Southern (.325-0-21). 1B—Herman Coachman, Sr., Texas Southern (.315-2-23). 2B—Gene Filyaw, Sr., Southern (.313-4-37). 3B—Greg White, Sr., Alcorn State (.361-0-31, 21 SB). SS—Zach Penprase, Jr., Mississippi Valley State (.359-1-33, 41 SB). OF—Caleb Betschart, Jr., Alcorn State (.382-1-42); Darren Clark, Sr., Southerrn (.339-11-38); Anton Shinholster, Sr., Jackson State (.382-3-56). DH—Joaquin Rodriguez, Jr., Jackson State (.406-3-49). P--Matt Chase, Jr., Prairie View (6-4, 3.51); Matt Chatwin, Sr., Alcorn State (5-3, 3.60); Wrandal Taylor, So., Prairie View (10-4, 4.56).

Player of the Year: Zach Penprase, ss, Mississippi Valley State.

Top Newcomer: Shawn Taylor, of, Alcorn State (.349-10-64 at Seward County, Kan., CC).

PROJECTED TOP PROSPECTS, 2006-07 DRAFTS

1. Gene Filyaw, 2b, Southern.

SHORT HOPS

• Southern’s days of domination in the SWAC have been tested as the Jaguars struggled to win the 2005 conference tournament, coming out of the loser’s bracket to beat Prairie View A&M 6-5 in the final. A year earlier, Texas Southern beat the Jaguars to represent the conference in NCAA play. Southern went 44-7 in 2003 and 45-10 in 2002 as it completed a run that saw them win 11 conference tournaments in 14 years. Over the last two years, the Jaguars have gone only a combined 55-32, and the program has had its scholarships reduced from the full NCAA allotment of 11.7 to 9.

• Alcorn State will miss the services of 2B Corey Wimberly, who led NCAA Division I in hitting a year ago with a .462 average and went on to lead the Rookie-level Pioneer League at .381 after being drafted in the sixth round by the Rockies. Wimberley’s NCAA batting title marked the third time in four years that a SWAC player had led the nation in hitting. Southern’s Rickie Weeks won batting crowns in 2002 (.495) and 2003 (.479) en route to setting the NCAA career batting record (.473).