Texas Southern knew it was slated for the First Four once again, and now it knows who it will face.
Texas Southern, the SWAC Tournament champion, will face Fairleigh Dickinson in Columbus Ohio. The winner of that game will take on Purdue on Friday in Columbus, Ohio.
Texas Southern comes into the NCAA Tournament with a record of 14-20. It was the eighth seed in the SWAC Tournament, the last team in the field in the 12-team league. It took down no. 1 seed Alcorn State in the opening round of the SWAC Tournament in Birmingham. It sealed the SWAC Tournament title — its third in as many seasons — by taking down no. 2 seed and regular season co-champion Grambling State in the SWAC title game. The win continued a pattern for Texas Southern of winning the SWAC Tournament after failing to take home the regular season crowd.
Farleigh Dickinson, coincidently, did not win its conference title. FDU was beaten by Merrimack 67-66 in its Northeast Conference tournament championship game on March 4th. So how did it get in? Merrimack is currently ineligible for the NCAA Tournament as part of its process of moving up to Division I. FDU beat St. Francis in the semifinals, meaning it would earn the league’s automatic bid that its opponent could not. FDU enters the First Four with a record of 19-15.
Tuesday’s appearance will mark the 11th in the NCAA Tournament in Texas Southern’s history. It has won three consecutive First Four games, dating back to its 2018 victory over MEAC Champion North Carolina Central. It does have a Power Five win under its belt as it defeated Arizona State earlier this season in the SWAC/Pac-12 Legacy Series.