Home softball and tennis this weekend is on the busy Northwestern State sports docket, which is highlighted by the basketball teams' games in the Southland Conference Tournament in Katy, Texas, and long jumper Emmanuel Williams competing at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.
The Northwestern basketball teams can earn NCAA Tournament berths with championship wins this weekend. The Demons are aiming for a repeat trip to March Madness after winning the Southland Tournament title last year.
NSU softball plays at the Lady Demon Diamond Saturday at 2 in a Southland doubleheader against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The series wraps up with a noon meeting Sunday.
Lady Demon tennis hosts 11 a.m. Southland matches Saturday and Sunday against Incarnate Word and A&M-Corpus Christi, respectively.
The Demon basketball team (16-13) plays a quarterfinal game Thursday at 5 at the Merrell Center in Katy, on the west side of Houston. A win advances the NSU men to a Friday 5 p.m. semifinal matchup with top-seeded Stephen F. Austin. The championship game is Saturday night at 7:30. The Demons have won four in a row and 11 of their last 13 games.
Like the NSU men, the Lady Demons are the No. 4 seed in an eight-team bracket and open with a quarterfinal matchup. Winners of four straight and eight of their last 11, the NSU women (18-12) play Friday morning at 11 a.m., and if they win, they play in a semifinal contest at noon Saturday against top-seeded Lamar. The championship game is Sunday at noon.
Broadcasts of all NSU basketball games are on 100.7 FM KZBL in Natchitoches, the flagship station of the Demon Sports Network, and on 92.1 FM KSYR in Shreveport and 99.9 KTEZ FM in Many, along with a free audio stream on the NSUDemons.com website.
The first two rounds of the tournament will be streamed live for free on the Southland Digital Network, including southland.org/watch and the league's iPhone and Android Apps available at southland.org/apps. The semifinals will be available solely on ESPN3.
The men's championship game will reach a national television audience on ESPN2 Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. The women's championship game coverage Sunday at noon is on the CBS Sports Network.
Williams will compete Friday at 7 CST as the ninth-seeded jumper in a 16-man field. He will earn All-America honors if he records a mark, and first-team honors if he finishes in the top eight. He's the first NSU qualifier for the NCAA Indoors since four-time All-American Stephanie Sowell in 2004. Live coverage is available through the live stats link on the NSUDemons.com website.
The rest of the NSU track and field teams will begin the outdoor season Friday at the Jim Mize Invitational in Ruston hosted by Louisiana Tech.
The Demon baseball team begins the long Southland Conference season on the road in Tulsa with a three-game series at Oral Roberts opening Friday night.
Spring football practice is on the horizon. The Demons kick off spring ball next Tuesday under second-year coach Jay Thomas, with the 25th Annual Joe Delaney Bowl Spring Game on Thursday, April 10 at 5:30 in Turpin Stadium.