The Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament champion Southern University Jaguars will face Gonzaga in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Jags will be the No. 16 seed in the West Region, while the Zags, who finished the regular season as the nation’s top-ranked team, are the No. 1 seed. The two teams will meet Thursday at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Game time and television broadcast information is pending.
This will be the second meeting ever for the Zags and Jags will be the second in school history. Gonzaga hosted Southern in 2010-1. Gonzaga won that game 117-72 on Nov. 12, 2010.
Southern earned the SWAC automatic bid after a dramatic 45-44 win over Prairie View in the Conference tournament championship game. The Jaguars, who finished the league’s conference regular-season at 14-3, earned the top spot in the SWAC tournament. Southern has won seven of its last eight games.
The Jaguars (23-9) are making their eighth NCAA Tournament and first since 2006. In 1993, SU was the No. 13 seed and they pulled off an upset of No. 4 seed Georgia Tech 93-78. The Jags played No. 12 seed George Washington in the second round and came up short 90-80.
Southern is led by both Derick Beltran and Malcolm Miller who are averaging 15.9 and 15.8 points per game, respectively. Beltran was named the SWAC Tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Gonzaga has faced six SWAC opponents in its history and have gone undefeated against against the league.
This season marks Gonzaga’s 15th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its 16th overall. The Zags hold a 31-2 overall mark – the 31 wins being the most in school history – and closed out the West Coast Conference season with a perfect 16-0 record, which clinched their 16th regular season title. The Bulldogs won the WCC Tournament with a 65-51 victory over No. 2 seed Saint Mary’s College.
The winner of the Gonzaga/Southern game will play the winner of the University of Pittsburgh/Wichita State University Saturday. Pittsburgh (24-8) is seeded No. 8 and Wichita State (26-8) is seeded No. 9.