As college basketball tips off, the SWAC is having one of its strongest starts in recent memory, with three teams emerging victorious in the Pac-12/SWAC Legacy Series.
It started with Grambling State earning a wire-to-wire victory against Colorado in Louisiana 83-74. Then the most surprising win of the challenge came when Texas Southern used a late tip to defeat Arizona State 67-66 in overtime.
The latest win came on Tuesday night when Prairie View beat Washington State by 11 points off Will Douglas’ 26 points and seven rebounds.
Two SWAC teams were trounced when USC beat Alabama State 96-58 and Arizona mauled Southern 95-78. But the SWAC winning a series 3-2 against a Power 5 conference in the early days of the season? That is impressive.
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Also, the SWAC earned wins against opponents who aren’t pushovers on the hardwood. Alcorn State used a second-half surge to defeat the Wichita State Shockers in Kansas, 66-57 and followed it up with a 69-60 victory over Stephen F. Austin.
These wins by the Braves and others increase the stock of SWAC basketball, which is happening convincingly. Grambling only won the game by nine points, but the Tigers led by at least 13 for most of the game, with the lead growing to a game-high 19 late in the first half. Prairie View shot 46.7% from the field and 47.4% from the 3-point line while holding Washington State under 35% in both areas.
Alcorn’s win at Wichita State wasn’t overwhelming by the numbers. However, remember that the Shockers are one of the most respected mid-major programs in the country. They made the NCAA Tournament seven of the last ten years, with some of those years receiving an at-large bid.
Such victories are signs of the SWAC taking a step forward. Even though college basketball has more parity, that doesn’t mean any of the above teams thought they would lose to SWAC opponents.
And it’s not only one team winning or a couple of teams squeaking by, but three teams won convincingly against Pac-12 and other genuinely good opponents. Arkansas-Pine Bluff almost made a list after only losing by one to TCU (keep an eye on Shaun Doss Jr.).
Does that mean the SWAC elite should be favored in games against top programs like Auburn, Michigan, and Indiana (all schools on SWAC schedules)? No. Here’s what it does mean: future games like Alcorn-UTEP, UAPB-Nebraska, Grambling-Arizona State, and Prairie View-Arkansas State? Or games like More of those will likely end in SWAC victories.
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