SWAC Basketball: A look back at Southern’s historic upset of Georgia Tech

SWAC Basketball’s post-season conference portfolio may not be as big or as diverse as other mid-major conferences, but they have had some memorable moments when it comes to the NCAA tourney. One of those moments happened in the 1993 tournament, with Southern University’s Jaguars facing off against the ACC tournament Champion Georgia Tech Yellow-Jackets.

As we close in on the 2020 SWAC Men’s basketball tournament, it’s a good time to take a look at one past SWAC team that had one of the more memorable upsets in the history of the NCAA tournament. The 1993 edition of the Southern University Jaguars basketball team was probably one of the better squads in the history of SWAC basketball.

Under legendary head coach Ben Jobe, the Running Jags were the highest-scoring team in the NCAA that year (97.1 points per game), employing a pressure-based style of play that made for an extremely exciting brand of basketball. Senior forward Leonard White averaged a double-double (20.6 points, 10.1 rebounds) a game, and led a quartet of double-figure scorers in the team’s starting line-up.

The Jaguars finished 2nd in the regular season SWAC race that year but had a dominating run through the SWAC conference tournament en route to an automatic bid, a Number 13 seed, and a first-round match-up with ACC tourney champion and Number 4 Seed Georgia Tech.

The Yellow Jackets, having been a surprise winner of the ACC tournament in a season where the league was historically tough, was heavily favored to advance to the Round of 32 in their match-up, despite their 19-11 overall record. The opposite turned out to be the case, as the Jaguars pressured and turned over the Yellow Jackets repeatedly, en route to a dominating 93-78 victory.

Ben Jobe beat one of his coaching mentors (and one of his best friends) in Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins, a legendary coach in his own right. Though Southern would go on to lose to No. 12 seed George Washington by 10 points in the next round, the victory over an ACC program was one of the more memorable notches in the history of Southwestern Athletic Conference, and one of the biggest upsets in the history of the NCAA tournament.

The 2020 SWAC conference tourney is upon us so we’re bound to see more special moments and special performances like the aforementioned. March is special for college basketball fans and the match-up between Southern and Georgia Tech is indicative of just how special this time of year is.