HUNTSVILLE, Texas — The last time Sam Houston State men's basketball team made the big dance, Jason Hooten was as assistant on the staff. Now, coach Hooten is the head coach and his Bearkats are eyeing a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Sam earned the No. 1 seed in the Southland Conference Tournament after finishing the regular season with a 16-2 record in league play. It's the first time the Bearkats have earned the No. 1 seed since 2009-2010.

Coach Hooten believes the maturity of his team mixed with their senior leadership will be x-factor to keeping them focused on the task at hand.