Now that conference tournament play for most the Division I basketball world has gotten underway, it’s time to examine HBCU teams that are positioned to make a run deep into March.
In the SWAC, Grambling State won the regular season championship for the first time in 30 years. In any other season, the Tigers would be favors to make its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since moving from the Division II level.
But Grambling basketball is ineligible for postseason play.
That leaves the conference’s automatic bid up for grabs when the SWAC Tournament begins this week.
Here are the current favorites as it stands.
-Arkansas-Pine Bluff 12-20 (12-6 SWAC)
-Texas Southern 12-19 (12-6 SWAC)
-Prairie View 15-17 (12-6 SWAC)
-Southern 14-17 (10-8 SWAC)
With three teams essentially tied for first place, there clearly isn’t much separation between them.
What do the experts say?
CBS Sports has Arkansas-Pine Bluff taking the one-league bid crown in its current projected bracket Monday.
ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi also favors the Golden Lions to reach the field of 68 by Selection Sunday.
But college basketball stathead and blogger Ken Pomeroy sees the SWAC tournament playing out differently, according to the numbers.
That’s right, Texas Southern, which has dominated the SWAC in recent seasons, but has taken a step back, is the predicted to come out of the league again.