3. Texas Southern (Last Week: 7) (Last Weekend’s Record: 2-0) SWAC: 5-3 (upcoming game: 2/03 @PVU)
If you know anything about SWAC basketball then you know that you never count out Texas Southern. This Tigers team may not be your typical TSU team, but they still can cause havoc and chaos. A one point win over first-place Alabama State was the early statement they needed to make. DJ Stroud scored 21 points off the bench on Saturday and on Monday he hit two late free throws to help the Tigers get the win. The scary thing about Texas Southern is that they are 5-3 and haven't shot well in most games. If they can escape Prairie View on Saturday they will find themselves sitting pretty.
2. Grambling State (Last Week: 1) (Last Weekend’s Record: 1-1) SWAC: 5-2 (upcoming games: 2/03 @JSU 2/05 @Alcorn)
This wasn't the most impressive weekend for the Tigers. After a closer than expected win over MVSU, GSU got throttled by UAPB. As opposed to most teams, I'm not concerned with GSU because I trust the coaches and players to respond properly. My power rankings are heavily influenced by recent performance so that UAPB upset is the only reason the Tigers are number 2. Tra'Michael Moton led the way with 38 points this weekend. Trips to Jackson and Alcorn are not what you want when you need to keep positive momentum. I still think the Tigers will be a huge factor in the race.
1. Southern University (Last Week: 5) (Last Weekend’s Record: 2-0) SWAC: 5-2 (upcoming games: 2/03 @Alcorn 2/05 @JSU)
The Jaguars are the biggest climbers in my rankings and are the prime example of how my rankings work. Do I think Southern is the best team in the SWAC? Not yet, but they won their two games by 40 points and are tied for first in the league. After losing 2 out of 3 on the road, the Jags enjoyed being at home going 2-0. A more balanced attack (7 double-digit scorers this weekend) proved to be effective for the Jags. I feel this style suits the team better than 4 guys watching Joseph hit shots. Derrick Tezeno had a big weekend as a glue guy. This upcoming weekend is make or break for Southern, they must prove they can win on the road.
With the SWAC being as wild and inconsistent as ever, I expect there to be constant movement in these power rankings. The gap between number 1 and number 8 remains slim and that means every game is important. Winning on the road is never easy in the SWAC, so I will always reward teams for getting it done away from home. SWAC games are scheduled on Saturdays and Mondays so expect to see these rankings by midweek. Being a one-bid league with no auto-bid for the NIT, only increases the importance of making and winning the SWAC Tournament. I hope you enjoy these rankings and I look forward to bringing you the next set of rankings. I'm your tour guide around the SWAC signing out and make sure to exit the SWAC bus carefully.