By Kenny Van Doren
In the Southwestern Athletic Conference, high scoring players are hard to come by since scoring is usually spread out through the starters. Many of these players are on their last stand in college basketball as they transferred from Power 5 schools or even from smaller JUCO schools. The best player in the SWAC is one of those transfers. He is forward Devante Patterson of Prairie View A&M. He is leading the conference is scoring with 15.9 points per game. While he is the most explosive Panther on the roster, he is also averaging 6.4 rebounds per game. He has missed a few games this season which might show inflation in his stats, but Patterson’s stats mirror his performance from last season. Look for some big games from Devante Patterson as the PVAMU Panthers look to make a run to the NCAA Tournament.
Though the conference is not very strong, the best and most dominant team is the Prairie View A&M Panthers. The Panthers enter the tournament 18-13 with a conference record of 14-4. While on a two-game losing streak, the Panthers have experience with Power 5 schools, but have come up short each game against them. They have the highest scoring player in the conference with Devante Patterson. Even though they rank first in conference, they still have close losses to some of those higher seeded schools like Southern and Texas Southern. They come in as the best team in the tournament, but there are other teams out there that can compete with the panthers.
For every tournament, there is a sleeper. Yet, the SWAC is a very complicated conference with most teams being on the same level of skill and record. The team that would have a great shot of taking down the 1 seed PVAMU Panthers are the Southern Jaguars. The Jaguars had a 9-game mid-season losing streak that placed them in a bad spot in the conference. Since that losing streak, Southern has outperformed the rest of the conference by going 13-2. They are entering the tournament on some sort of groove by taking down PVAMU in the last game of the season in overtime. The Jaguars are on a roll recently, which will be hard to break for some teams.
The team with the best chance of taking home the trophy is going to be the Southern Jaguars. Their record does not bring them justice or even show what they are capable of. In their last 15 games, they have climbed to second in conference with big wins against PVAMU and Texas Southern who are also top seeds. Their two loses were lopsided to what they were showing on their first big winning streak of the season. They lost both games away in big and small fashion; this could be the test for the Jaguars as they will have mostly home games, but neutral or away games could impact them.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org