Checking in on the… SWACPosted by rtmsf on January 30th, 2009
JC of HBCU Sports Blog is the RTC correspondent for the MEAC and SWAC Conferences.
If we ever needed insight on SWAC basketball before, we sure do need it now. A new contender in the conference has emerged, and there’s some explanation as to why the SWAC champion deserves better than the play in game this season.
So before you scoff, at least check out the evidence from the week that was in the SWAC.
THIS WEEK – Alabama State and Prairie View A&M have had winning streaks of seven and six games, respectively. The next longest winning streak? That belongs to the University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff Golden Lions, who shocked Prairie View last Monday at home to pull ahead of Jackson State for third place in the conference standings.
Despite what you see from the SWAC in relation to their conference RPI, remember that these teams play a full-slate of out-of-conference games on the road to open the season. When you stack their records against those of other mid-major conferences, (Big South, A-10, etc.) you see that there is a real way to look at their numbers and a skewed way.
Unfortunately, the tournament selection committee often takes the skewed route.
WHAT’S HELPING –
- Since the beginning of conference play, the Golden Lions’ team scoring average has jumped 11 points per game. Is it confidence? Inferior defenses? Who knows, but its working for them.
- Six teams are shooting at or above 50 percent on two-point field goal attempts, which shows that most of these schools find no problems getting to the basket.
WHATS HURTING –
- When they do get to the basket, free throws are a killer. Only Jackson State shoots better than 70 percent from the line.
- And since they don’t hit free throws, you’d be correct in assuming that they don’t hit long jump shots. Only five teams shoot better than 30 percent from long distance, which will definitely be a killer in the NCAA tournament.
- UAPB @ Alabama St. – Saturday, Feb. 7 – Heading into the final month of conference competition, the upstart Lions visit the conference-leading Alabama State Hornets for a match-up of high-scoring offenses.
- Mississippi Valley St. @ Alabama A&M – Saturday, Feb. 7 – With both schools current locked at 3-4 in conference play, this game could have a big impact on seeding for the SWAC tournament.