College basketball is the king of March. With conference tournaments galore, there are games going on essentially every day. This week will be packed with plenty of tournament games, with teams earning automatic bids from each and every conference. Four teams are already in the NCAA Tournament. Who will punch their ticket next?
Well, it may not be a team out of the SWAC, but that won’t take long. They will be getting their tourney underway shortly, with eight teams duking it out. The big favorites will be Texas Southern, who earned the one seed with relative ease. They won 16 of their 18 conference games, and it would be a real surprise to see anyone else representing the SWAC come March Madness.
To starts things off, the quarterfinals will be held on Tuesday, March 7th. Then there will be a few days off, with the semifinals getting underway on March 10th. To wrap things up, the SWAC title game will be held on Saturday, March 11th at 5:30 pm EST on ESPNU. You can check out the seedings and a link to the bracket below.
(1) Texas Southern
(2) Alcorn State
(4) Prairie View A&M
(6) Jackson State
(7) Mississippi Valley State
(8) Alabama State
The first of four quarterfinals will be held between Texas Southern and Alabama State. Now I will be honest. Even though Texas Southern is the big favorite within the conference, they are not that great overall. They project as a 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But in comparison to their competition here, they come out on top 76-74.
Next up we have Prairie View A&M and Grambling. Both teams certainly have their flaws. As two middle-level clubs in a weak conference, that would be expected. But there is one team here whose weaknesses are not as prominent. That team is Grambling, who I see taking this game with relative ease. I will go with Grambling by the score of 75-64.
Continuing along, we reach the three-six game. This will pit Southern against Jackson State. With Jacksonville State already in the NCAA Tournament, can the team that shares most of their name do the same? Well, they cannot really shoot the ball, but they do have one key advantage. They can create possessions, thanks to a positive rebounding and turnover margins. They squeak past by the score of 69-68.
Wrapping things up, we have a game between Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State. This lines up to be one of the more lopsided games in this tournament. MVS simply is a bad team. So while Alcorn State is not great, they at least have a few things working in their favor. So give me Alcorn State by the score of 76-65.
Welcome to the semifinals Texas Southern and Grambling. The one seed takes on the five seed. Will the favorites simply walk on through as they eye the ultimate goal of a NCAA Tournament bid? Well, I do not think it will be a complete cakewalk. But when all is said and done, they do have the edge, like you would expect. Their edge in terms of fouls and free throws will be the difference maker in this one, as they move on by the score of 69-65.
Their opponents in the title game will come from the Jackson State vs Alcorn State game. This one will be a lot closer than you would expect. A two seed should be able to take on a six with relative ease, but that will not be the case here. This one will go back and forth throughout the game, with both teams having the lead late into the game. But when the final buzzer sounds, Alcorn State comes out on top 67-66.
That sets up a title game between the conference’s top two seeds. Texas Southern is still considered the hands-down favorites. Alcorn State will look to burst their bubble. The game will be fairly competetive, but when all is said and done, Texas Southern will prove why they are the proverbial favorites. They will come out on top 70-66 to earn their spot.
So what do you think? Will Texas Southern win this tournament with ease? Will someone emerge to claim this automatic bid by taking down Texas Southern? If so, who? Tell us what you think in the comments!