The SWAC tournament is one of a few tournaments that start on-campus sites and then transitions to a neutral site. This year’s edition has a hot Prairie View A&M team looking to return to its second straight NCAA Tournament. Texas Southern, Southern and Jackson State are chasing the Panthers. As expected, everything is not promised, as this conference tends to play very close — no matter the seeding.
Here’s our SWAC preview:
A note on tie-breakers
Jackson State claimed the 4 seed based upon the application of the three-team tiebreaker procedure of records amongst tied teams (JSU 3-1, GSU 2-2, and ALCN 1-3).
After reducing the three-team tie to a two-team tie, the two-team tiebreaker procedure was applied (head-to-head) with Alcorn State claiming the 5 seed and Grambling State claiming the 6 seed based upon head-to-head point differential (ALCN +9) as the two teams split the season series.
2020 Cricket Wireless SWAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament Brackets #SWACHoops #BuildingChampionsForLife pic.twitter.com/vwcALpoXgD— Southwestern Athletic Conference (@theswac) March 8, 2020
Quarterfinals (Campus Sites) March 10th
#1 Prairie View A&M (14-4) hosting #8 Alabama A&M (5-13)- 5:30 pm
#2 Southern (13-5) hosting #7 Alabama State (7-11)- 7:30 pm
#3 Texas Southern (12-6) hosting #6 Grambling State (11-7)- 7:30 pm
#4 Jackson State (11-7) hosting #5 Alcorn State (11-7)- 8:00 pm
Semifinals (Bartow Arena, Birmingham) - Friday, March 13
Game 1: PVAMU or AAMU vs JSU or ASU
Game 2: SU or ASU vs TSU or GSU
Championship (Bartow Arena, Birmingham) - Saturday, March 14
PVAMU, AAMU, JSU or ASU vs SU, ASU, TSU or GSU
Teams To Watch Out For
Prairie View A&M
The 1 seed for this year’s tournament is Prairie View A&M. Although being on a two-game losing streak, the Panthers are hard to beat come March. With this current situation, the Panthers look to repeat winning the SWAC regular season title and conference tournament. This is historical because the Panthers went almost 20 years without a SWAC Tournament title.
Unlike other teams in March, the Panthers are very deep in terms of depth, especially when all games are win or go home. The Panthers have 11 players who have played 18 games or more this season.
This all starts with forward Devonte Patterson. The Senior from Bridgeport, Texas has been on a tear as this team’s leading scorer. He ranks 3rd in the SWAC in scoring and rebounding. Gerard Andrus ranks 6th in scoring and is the 2nd leading scorer on the team. Overall, PVAMU has a legitimate shot of winning it all.
PVAMU and TSU are the most known programs to common mid-major fans, but Southern has been a consistent force in the conference. Since 2011, the Jaguars have had only one losing record in conference play. And since that time, they’ve also seen two NCAA tourney bids in the process. In his second season, coach Sean Woods has the Jags back in a prime position to take it all.
The Jags haven’t lost since February 10th and it’s partially due to well, everyone who touches the court. No one on this team currently averages more than 10 points. The Combo of Ahsante Shivers, Micah Bradford, Damiree Burns, and Amel Kuljuhovic all average over eight points. And if you add in the other rotational players, this team averages 69.9 points per game. That lands them in the middle of the pack in the league in scoring, but they are the top defensive team in the SWAC, holding teams to 67.5 points per game.
It’s madness, but the Jags will give you multiple things to worry about on each side of the floor.
They’ve gone four out of six seasons with an NCAA tournament bid, but as a 3 seed, the Tigers can miss their second straight NCAA tournament. Now of course, TSU could see another postseason tournament, but if they want to return to the Big Dance, they will have to put in some extra work as a three seed.
Tyrik Armstrong and Yahuza Rasas are the leading scorers for this Tigers team. Armstrong had a rough pack in the middle of the conference play but he’s ended the slate on fire. Justin Hopkins and Eden Ewing both are important scorers as well.
It’ll be interesting to see how TSU performs if they face Southern or Prairie View. The Tigers beat both teams during their first matchups, but during the second set of matchups, the Tigers suffered losses.
No matter the seeding, TSU is still a team to beat just because of their toughness in March.
Who Can Shake The Table
Jackson State (and Snacks)
In case you missed Snacks on The Today Show earlier pic.twitter.com/48MdaNK0CB— Mid-Major Madness (@mid_madness) March 5, 2020
The world’s most interesting snack connoisseur took the nation by storm. Jackson State manager Thomas “Snacks” Lee has gained a bunch of positive press for this Jackson State team. They are the most talked-about team coming into this tournament, even as a 4 seed.
Tristan Jarrett averaged the most points in the SWAC, averaging 16.9 ppg for the Tigers. The real question for JSU is what Tigers team will come out. This team was streaky during conference play with on a three-game losing streak, five-game winning streak, three-game losing streak, then finishing the season winning their last four.
The Tigers have had a season of cycles. Let’s see which side of the cycle they land on next.
If there’s one thing to note about Alcorn State, this team will score. The Braves average around 75 points per game, leading the SWAC, which is mostly due to their lethal three-point attack. They’ve attempted 720 three-pointers all season and made almost 35 percent of them.
The downside to this is their defense, in which they allow nearly 74 points per game.
Their first-round matchup with Jackson State will be interesting because the Braves were swept in the regular season. Both of those losses were by double figures.