Busting Brackets

SWAC Basketball: 2024 Conference Tournament Recap and First Four matchup preview

Over 4 days, 7 games decided the top team in the SWAC. This tournament was just as wild and crazy as the regular season.

Texas Southern Tigers' guard Jonathan Cisse (11) drives the ball down the court as Jackson State
Texas Southern Tigers' guard Jonathan Cisse (11) drives the ball down the court as Jackson State / Lauren Witte/Clarion Ledger / USA TODAY
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Final 1 Grambling State (14-4 SWAC 20-14) defeats 3 Texas Southern (12-6 SWAC 16-16) 75-66

History has been made! The Grambling State Tigers have won their first SWAC tournament and are advancing to their first NCAA tournament. The G-Men used a scorching first half shooting 56% from the field and 63% from deep. In a championship game sometimes you get huge games from your role players, and for Grambling Jourdan Smith stepped up in a major way. He scored 16 points in the first half to help GSU take control of the game. He finished with 20 points. The North Louisiana Tigers finished with 4 players in double figures. Texas Southern was plagued by (say it with me) poor shooting. They could never get their 3's to fall finishing the night at 18%. A late second half push made the margin closer than it should have. Grambling was the best team all year in the SWAC and proved that in the tournament. Some nights just aren't your night, and that sealed TSU's fate. I expect both of these teams to be a factor next season.

NCAA Tournament Preview: First Four, Wednesday 5:40 pm vs Montana State (9-9 Big Sky, 17-17)

We now know who and where the Tigers are playing. Grambling will take on Big Sky Tournament Champions Montana State Bobcats. MSU won their tournament as a 5th seed, so this should be a good matchup for Grambling. MSU comes into this game on a 4 game-winning streak. Looking at the Bobcats, they aren't a deep team. They typically play 8 guys and they are a perimeter-oriented team. Their top 6 players play at least 20 minutes per game, including 3 at over 30 minutes per game. There are two things this team does really well, shoot the 3-ball and force turnovers. The Bobcats lead the Big Sky in 3pt % (36%), 3's made (306). 3's attempted (833), 3's made per game (9.0), and steals (280, 8.2 SPG)

The name you will hear most often is senior Guard Robert Ford III, he was this season's Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Big Sky. At 6’ 182 pounds, he leads the Bobcats in most categories including rebounds (7.2 rpg). He scores 15.9 points per game, shoots 43% from deep, dishes out 102 assists, and recorded 100 steals. Other names to look out for are Brian Goracke (13.5 ppg 4.3 rpg), Eddie Turner III (9.5 ppg), and Tyler Patterson (8.5 ppg). Grambling should have the size advantage and their backcourt should match up well with the Bobcats. If Grambling can avoid the Big Dance jitters, I think they can advance out of the First Four.

Next. Teams vulnerable to early upsets. Teams vulnerable to early upsets. dark

So there you have it after 216 regular season SWAC games and 7 tournament games, our journey through the SWAC has come to a close. But that is not the end of your journey with me. I still have lots of content to bring you. Including my thoughts on SWAC topics, recruiting, and more player showcases. So keep it locked in here for all the SWACtion ever after the games are played. I'm your tour guide around the SWAC signing out and please make sure to exit the SWAC bus carefully.