|Malcolm Miller and Southern nearly upset top-seeded Gonzaga last March. (The Advocate)|
Much like its standing in football, the SWAC has been the butt of Division I basketball over the last few years. But the conference almost had the last laugh last year as Southern nearly became the first 16 seed to upset a top-seeded team against Gonzaga in March. The Jaguars fell short of the historic feat, but opened up some eyes around the nation.
College Basketball Talk’s Eric Avagine says SWAC teams don’t win much because SWAC teams don’t have money. He pointed to the fact that Southern had the fourth lowest budget of any of the 344 Division I teams.
“The Jaguars weren’t even the best team in the SWAC last year. Texas Southern, under former Indiana and UAB head coach Mike Davis, was 16-2 in the SWAC but ineligible for postseason play. This year, Davis and company add two-time transfer Aaric Murray to a team that loves to run and gun. A skilled big man who can run the court may be all the Tigers need to eke out a program-defining win in March. If they miss out, Southern is the counterpuncher, using defensive intensity to disrupt bigger, faster opponents.
The SWAC showed us that it’s possible for a 16 seed to beat a 1 last season. There’s no reason the cash-poor league can’t pull a true Cinderella routine in the near future. Possibly as soon as this year.”
The website also listed its SWAC hoops predictions.
1. Texas Southern
3. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
4. Jackson State
5. Alabama A&M
6. Alcorn State
7. Prairie View A&M
8. Alabama State
9. Mississippi Valley State