Texas Southern comes into their NCAA Tournament West region matchup against Arizona with a resume that won’t allow them to fly under the radar.
The Tigers (22-12) beat Michigan State on the road before also knocking off Kansas State and nearly doing the same to Auburn in non-conference play.
SWAC play was not much of a challenge for Texas Southern, as they went 16-2 in the league led by SWAC Player of the Year Madarious Gibbs.
The No. 15 seed Texas Southern has is the highest for a SWAC team since Alcorn State achieved the same feat in 1999.
Texas Southern head coach Mike Davis has led the Tigers to two consecutive NCAA Tournaments. This is his seventh trip to the NCAA tournament in 15 years. Texas Southern played in the First Four last year but lost to Cal Poly.
“Going into the season we wanted to play a very challenging non-conference schedule in order to prepare us for this moment,” Davis told the Associated Press.
About the Wildcats
Arizona (31-3) are winners of 11 consecutive games, including three straight to easily take the Pac-12 Tournament championship.
The Wildcats are led by Brandon Ashley, who was voted the tournament’s most outstanding player after pouring 19.6 points and 6.3 rebounds in the Pac-12 Tournament. The 6-foot-9 junior averages 12.3 point per game, 5.4 rebounds.
“When I was at Xavier, we had a noon game on Thursday, we were down 13 at the half, and I walked in at halftime and said, ‘Fellas, we’re going to be out of the tournament before it even begins.’ You have to be ready. Everybody in the tournament is capable of beating you,” he said.
What they’re saying about the game
Tale of the tape
Record: 22-12 overall, 16-2 in the SWAC
KenPom ranking: 208
Sagarin ranking: 70.3
Record: 31-3 overall, 16-2 in the Pac-12
KenPom ranking: 2
Sagarin ranking: 94.5
Texas Southern vs. Arizona (23.5)
1:10 p.m. Central