texas southern

NCAA Tournament Primer: Texas Southern Tigers

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Get to know all of the NCAA Tournament’s automatic bids here.

Conference: SWAC

Coach: Mike Davis

Record: 19-14 (12-6 SWAC)

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 234
– RPI: 251
– AP/USA Today: Not ranked

Seeding?: 16 seed, likely in the First Round in Dayton.

Names you need to know: Aaric Murray, 6-foot-10 senior center (21.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg), Jose Rodriguez, 6-foot-6 junior forward (11.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Madarius Gibbs, 6-foot-1 junior guard (9.1 ppg, 5.2 apg)

Stats you need to know: Texas Southern hasn’t played a tough schedule, but they’ve won nine consecutive games entering the NCAA Tournament. Senior center Aaric Murray ranks 13th in the country in scoring at 21 points per game and 33rd in the nation in blocks at 2.53 rejections per game.

Tendencies: Texas Southern likes to get up-and-down, but in the halfcourt, they’re working the ball inside to Aaric Murray — if the senior isn’t trying to do too much on the perimeter. The Tigers practice decent shot selection and shot 46 percent from the field as a team this season and Murray is the clear go-to scorer on Texas Southern. The senior center got to the free throw line twice as often as any other player on the roster while also averaging 21 points a game. Defensively, Texas Southern struggles to make impact plays on the defensive end but they have turned it around down the stretch, as they held eight straight opponents under 70 points — all wins — until Saturday’s SWAC Tournament title win over Prairie View A&M.

Big wins, bad losses: Texas Southern owns zero wins over the RPI’s top 150 but they did beat Temple on the road in December. The Tigers also have plenty of bad losses on the season with 10 defeats to teams with an RPI north of 150.

How’d they get here?: Texas Southern picked up double-digits wins over Grambling and Alcorn State before holding on to beat Prairie View A&M, 79-74, in the SWAC title game.

Outlook: Murray presents a unique mismatch for a 16 seed because he’s played — and succeeded — against the big boys of college basketball before. Still, Texas Southern hasn’t beaten a single team in the RPI top 150 and the Tigers shouldn’t be counted on to suddenly topple one of the juggernauts of college basketball.

How do I know you?: If you’re a college hoops fan, you’ve definitely heard of Texas Southern head coach Mike Davis from his previous stops at Indiana and UAB. Davis has quickly turned Texas Southern’s program around, as they won the regular season SWAC title last year in his first year and now he’s taking the Tigers dancing in year two. Texas Southern center Aaric Murray is also a familiar name to college hoops fans as the talented and well-traveled senior has played at LaSalle and West Virginia before his final season as a Tiger.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: