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SWAC Tournament Odds, Predictions and Preview

Blair Johnson

by Blair Johnson in College Basketball

Updated Mar 8, 2022 · 7:29 PM PST

Texas Southern forward Joirdon Karl Nicholas celebrating after a win
Texas Southern forward Joirdon Karl Nicholas (5) celebrates after an NCAA college basketball game against Florida, Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey)
  • Aiming for its fourth conference title in the last six seasons, Texas Southern is a +190 favorite to win the SWAC Tournament
  • The championship game is set for Saturday at 6:00 pm ET and will be televised by ESPNU
  • Below, see the Big South Tournament odds and best bets

Texas Southern has been the SWAC’s automatic qualifier in the NCAA Tournament five of the last seven times the Big Dance has been held. Now, the Tigers are favored to win the conference tournament — which runs Wednesday-Saturday (Mar. 9-12) at Bartow Arena in Birmingham — yet again.

SWAC Tournament Odds

Team Odds
#2 Texas Southern +190
#3 Southern +250
#1 Alcorn State +450
#7 Jackson State +1000
#8 Prairie View A&M +1000
#4 Florida A&M +12000
#5 Alabama A&M +12000
#6 Grambling State +2000

Odds as of March 7th at DraftKings Sportsbook. See SBD’s college basketball odds page for individual game odds.

As a +190 pick, Johnny Jones’ team has an implied win probability of 34.48%. #3 seed Southern is the second choice +250, giving the Jaguars a 28.57% implied probability.

The tournament begins Wednesday with a pair of first-round games: #2 Texas Southern (15-12) takes on #7 Jackson State (11-18) at 3:00 pm ET,. Then, #1 Alcorn State (15-15) faces #8 Prairie View (8-18) at 9:30 pm ET. The other two quarterfinal games — #3 Southern (17-13) facing #6 Grambling State (11-19) at 3:00 pm ET and #4 Florida A&M (13-16) taking on #5 Alabama A&M (11-17) — will be on Thursday. All games will be available on ESPN+.

The quarterfinals take place on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by the semifinals on Friday. The championship game is on Saturday, which will be televised by ESPNU.

Last Five SWAC Tournament Champions

SWAC Champion Year
Texas Southern 2021
Not Held 2020
Prairie View A&M 2019
Texas Southern 2018
Texas Southern 2017
Southern 2016

Texas Southern, Perennial Favorites

The Tigers enter the postseason as favorites to win the tourney (again) despite losing both regular season matchups to top-seeded Alcorn State. The combined margin of victory for the Braves in those games was just four, however. The most recent contest between the schools was a 75-72 decision on Feb. 28.

Senior guard Bryson Etienne — who averages 8.3 points per outing — had a game-high 15 points in defeat. He’s part of a roster that is a true statistical oddity: TSU averages 69 points per game, but does not have one player who averages over 10 points per game. Alas, eight players average six or more points per game as the rotation goes 10 deep.

Joirdon Karl Nicholas comes closest, putting up 9.6 points a game. The Tigers have won six straight and eight of their last nine and have historically been the program to beat in this tourney.

The squad is projected to represent the conference as a No. 16 seed in the West in SBD’s March Madness bracket.

Southern Biggest Threat to Tigers

The Jaguars are the second-biggest favorites after losing four of their last seven games to end up as the No. 3 seed. One of the three victories earned over the last three weeks, though, was a 70-58 road win over the Tigers on Feb. 14.

Sean Woods’ club swept Texas Southern and lost by only four to Alcorn State. Junior forward Tyrone Lyons leads the team with 13.8 points per game, while shooting over 50% from the field and nearly 43% from distance. Two other players — Brion Whitley (11.6 ppg) and Jayden Saddler (11.3 ppg) — also score in double-digits for the deep Jags, who have11 players averaging at least 11 minutes per game.

This is also a highly-efficient defensive unit, ranking third in defensive turnover percentage and fourth in defensive steal percentage by KenPom.

Others to Watch

It’s challenging to name a sleeper from this conference since it ranks dead-last in KenPom among all 32 leagues in Division I.  One candidate could be Florida A&M at +1200 solely because the Rattlers have the top scoring (and possibly best) player on their roster in MJ Randolph. His 18.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game could help the No. 4 seed win three games in three days.

Another longshot at +1200 is Prairie View A&M. The Panthers qualified for the SWAC tourney as the last team in via tiebreaker over Alabama State and did not get their first win of the season until beating Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Jan. 10. But Byron Smith’s group went 7-7 after that.

Eye of the Tiger(s)

Texas Southern is the chalk for good reason: the Tigers own this tourney.

There’s no reason to think they can’t win it again. And at a +190 price, that’s a good deal.

All Conference Tournament Previews: 

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