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Tiny Dancers: Southern Jaguars

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

The SWAC's rep this year brings it on defense in a big way. (USATSI)

A last-place SWAC team just two years ago, Southern is back and bringing a whole lot of defense with it to the First Four.

Yes, Southern will be playing in Dayton on Tuesday or Wednesday. Roman Banks' team beat Prairie View 45-44 to earn a bid to the NCAAs. The team held on despite a 6-0 run from Prairie View in the final 90 seconds.

Inside the SWAC, the Jaguars were far and away the best team without the ball. Borderline dominant. But this isn't a VCU-like swarm-and-run team. It's lockdown. And when it has the ball, it takes its time. It is fine playing a game in the mid-60s.

They finished 15-3 in the league, second to Texas Southern. But since Texas Southern was unable to qualify for the postseason due to APR penalties, this is absolutely the next-best option.

Players to know: Derick Beltran and Malcolm Miller. The Jags get a backcourt duo that averages 15.9 and 15.8 points, respectively, and are largely responsible for keeping this team in games. When you factor in assists, these two guys accounts for more than half of Southern's points on average.

The Vitals:

  • Record: 23-9 overall, 15-3 in the SWAC
  • Most recent tournament appearance: 2006
  • Jerry Palm predicts: 16 seed
  • KenPom ranking: 170
  • Sagarin ranking: 214
  • RPI: 180
  • Best win: Texas Southern
  • Worst losses: Alcorn State, Arkansas Pine Bluff
  • Notable stat: Southern's 2-point defense has proved terrific this year. The Jags keep opponents to 40.4 percent shooting from inside the 3-point line. Only Kansas plays better defense from inside 21 feet.

For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, like us on Facebook and subscribe to the thrice-a-week podcast on iTunes. You can follow Matt Norlander on Twitter here: @MattNorlander.

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