ISLANDERS OFF TO KATY FOR SLC TOURNAMENT

The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team will face a familiar opponent Thursday night when it takes on UT Arlington in the first round of the 2009 State Farm Southland Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at the Merrell Center in Katy at 8:30 p.m.

The game can be heard on ESPN 1230 KSIX beginning at 8:10 p.m.

It will be the second time in as many games and third time this season that the two sides have met. The Islanders won at home in early February 82-75 before closing out the regular season this past Saturday with a 79-66 win. It is the first time the Islanders have played a team three times in the same season.

The game will again be a battle of the league's top scorers in the Islanders' Kevin Palmer, who won the league scoring title with 17.8 points a game, and Anthony Vereen who had 17.7. The tandem was 1-2 in league play with Palmer leading the way at 19.2.

The return to the SLC Tournament is the first since the Islanders won the event in their first season in the league two years ago. A&M-Corpus Christi went 3-0 that year defeating Northwestern State in the title game 81-78 to advance to the NCAA Tournament.

This will be the first taste of the postseason for the Islander playing roster. No member of the team has been to a conference tournament prior to this year. Coming into the season, no player had more than a season of Division I experience. UT Arlington is the defending champion winning the tournament a year ago as the seventh seed.

The winner of the first round meeting will face either No. 1 Stephen F. Austin or No. 8 Southeastern Louisiana at 8:30 p.m. on Friday.