1. Is this league bad again/destined to get another 16 seed?
I'm afraid so. It's a vicious cycle with the SWAC, which is annually one of the worst conferences in college hoops. However, credit to Southern University for being the first SWAC team since Mississippi Valley State in 2004 to finish its regular season with single-digit losses (nine to Southern this year; MSVU had seven). The silver lining is: With the First Four, the SWAC will be placed against another 16 seed, and so winning actual NCAA tournament games gives a chance for these teams to have a nice moment that extends beyond the conference tournament title tilt.
2. Any familiar faces?
Mike Davis -- previously of Indiana and UAB -- took the job at Texas Southern. He's the co-Coach of the Year in the conference, along with Roman Banks at Southern. I find Davis to be a fascinating character study. And I sort of get the idea he'll turn TSU into a perenneial power in this league if he chooses to stay and build a mini-empire over the course of the next five seasons. Unfortunately, due to APR sanctions, he and Texas Southern are ineligible to reach the tourney this year.
3. It's easy to see how bad the league is, but what does the conference do well?
In general? Run. The SWAC's 67.2 possessions per game were the second-fastest in the nation and the offensive rebounding is fairly solid, too. When it comes to offense, Texas Southern is far and away the best. The same can be said for Southern on the defensive end. That is certainly the most desired final. Arkansas Pine Bluff is the only other team in the conference that finished above .500, and they're ineligible for the tournament, too.
By the way, the no-shot-whatsoever story line that is tantalizing nonetheless: Grambling, which is 0-27, technically has a chance to make the NCAA tournament. It needs four wins to do so. Could you imagine??
Schedule: March 12-16 at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas.
Title game: Saturday, March 16 at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
THREE BEST PLAYERS
Conference RPI: 31
KenPom.com rating: 33
Sagarin rating: 33
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