3. Alabama State SWAC: 4-1 (upcoming games: 1/27 @ Prairie View A&M, 1/29 @ Texas Southern)
The Hornets are the early surprise of the SWAC season. They have found ways to survive late in games. That is a great quality in a team but it may not be sustainable all season. The Hornets are another team that doesn't turn the ball over (11 turnovers per game. Their backcourt (TJ Madlock 14.9 ppg and CJ Hines 10.1 ppg) is among the best in the league. Getting Isaiah Range back from a leg injury that ended his season last year is a huge boost. Time will tell if Bama State can remain a contender.
2. Jackson State SWAC: 4-1 (upcoming games: 1/27 @ Bethune-Cookman, 1/29 @ Florida A&M)
Honestly, the Tigers of Jackson State could be the top cat in the league. I don't think there is a big difference between number 1 and number 2. An upset loss to Prairie View is the only reason JSU isn't number 1. Ken Evann (19 ppg and 5.1 rpg) is one of the most dangerous all-around players in the league. Chase Adams and Jordan O’Neal are two other Tigers that have made an impact this season. The Tigers have a legitimate title-contending team. They have the size and the shooting to cause any team problems. Coach Williams has done a great job turning this team around.
1. Grambling State SWAC: 4-1 (upcoming games: 1/27 vs MVSU, 1/29 vs UAPB)
The Tigers of Grambling are continuing their run in the SWAC, the past two seasons have seen GSU be a contender for the SWAC title. After a 1-1 start in SWAC play the GMen take my top spot by virtue of winning 3 straight including victories over my number 4 and 5 teams. Grambling specializes in defense mixing man to man and zone. The Tigers are a tough opponent because of their style of play. Kintavious Dozier (14.8 ppg) has been their leader offensively scoring 27 points against Southern on Saturday. Antwan Burnett is one of the league’s top rebounders (6.1 rpg). Right now Grambling is my favorite to win the SWAC and that is why I have them at number one in my power rankings.
With the SWAC being as wild and inconsistent as ever, I expect there to be lots of movement in these power rankings. Especially in the middle portion of the rankings. The gap between number 1 and number 8 isn’t that big and that means lots of teams will rise and fall almost weekly. SWAC games are scheduled on Saturdays and Mondays so expect to see these rankings by midweek.
Being a one-bid league with no autobid 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. Your tour guide is signing out, please exit the SWAC bus carefully.