Conference Tourney Primers: SWAC

Posted by Tommy Lemoine on March 10th, 2015

We’re in the midst of Championship Fortnight, so let’s gear up for the continuing action by breaking down each of the Other 26’s conference tournaments as they get under way.

SWAC Tournament

Dates: March 10-14

Site: Toyota Center (Houston, TX)



What to expect: Second-seeded Alabama State and third-seeded Southern are both ineligible for postseason play this year, so should one of those two win the event – a distinct possibility – the next-highest finisher will claim the automatic NCAA Tournament bid. Then again, it might not matter. Texas Southern, which beat Michigan State and Kansas State back in non-conference play, looks poised to reach the Big Dance for a second straight year after winning the league title with relative ease. The transfer-laden Tigers are experienced, talented and have the benefit of playing in their own backyard (the Toyota Center is located just three miles from the Texas Southern campus). It’s hard to see Mike Davis’ club losing prior to the championship game, where it would likely meet the Hornets or Jaguars.

Favorite: Texas Southern. You don’t beat NCAA Tournament-caliber opponents like the Spartans and Wildcats without having quality talent on your roster, and that certainly holds true for Texas Southern. Marshall transfer Chris Thomas (12.3 PPG) is a former five-star recruit, Deverell Biggs (11.8 PPG) nearly averaged double-figures in his time at Nebraska. And Madarious Gibbs (14.1 PPG) is the SWAC Player of the Year. The Tigers have a lot to work with.

Darkhorse: Prairie View A&M. Texas Southern and Prairie View A&M are big rivals and the Panthers have already beaten the Tigers in Houston this season. With the stakes elevated this week, can they do it again? Probably not, but it would be a semifinal matchup worth keeping an eye on.

Who wins: Texas Southern. Biggs missed eight games in the middle of conference play and there were questions as to whether he would even return. He did come back for the last four games of the regular season, promptly scoring 19.8 points per night. Texas Southern is fully stocked and ready to punch its ticket this weekend.

Player to watch: Jamel Waters – Alabama State. The diminutive point guard (5’9”) is quick, confident and capable of leading the Hornets to a conference tournament championship. Check out what he did against Southern two weeks ago. [0:35 mark… hint: ONIONS]

Tommy Lemoine (250 Posts)

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