All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. Check back throughout the day, as we’ll be posting three or four preview items every day.
To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. To see the rest of the Conference Previews we’ve published, click here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.
Texas Southern was the best team in the SWAC last season, garnering a 16-2 league record and a regular season crown. Coached by former Indiana and UAB leader Mike Davis, and playing behind burly 6-foot-9 senior Kyrie Sutton, the team would have likely grabbed the SWAC’s auto-bid had they been eligible for the postseason, but NCAA issues had them sidelined, and Southern University made the Dance instead, scaring Gonzaga with a 64-58 near-miss.
This year, Davis and his guys are out from under the ban, and they’ve added troubled big man Aaric Murray as a graduate transfer. If off-court issues don’t interfere, the Tigers have the speed and size to run the table.
The Southern Jaguars can be expected to put up a fight to retain their crown. Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff were the only league teams to beat Davis’ squad last year, and they’ll be the ones likely to make a run at it again this season. We’ll have our eye on Grambling as well, watching to see if they can improve on last year’s 0-28 debacle.
PRESEASON SWAC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Aaric Murray, Texas Southern
Hey, you know this guy. He wore out his welcome at La Salle, then got into Bob Huggins’ (admittedly crowded) doghouse at West Virginia. His dismissal from the Mountaineers led him to jump at the life preserver offered by Mike Davis, and the big man will play his final season with the Tigers. Murray is a talented player, he’ll be bigger and better than anyone else in the SWAC, and he’ll make a huge difference in Houston if he can stay out of trouble.
FOUR MORE NAMES TO KNOW:
- Ray Penn, Texas Southern: A 5-foot-9 dynamo who will thrive throwing the ball to Murray on the block.
- Malcolm Miller, Southern: A rangy 6-foot-6 shooter, Miller is a matchup nightmare in the SWAC.
- Demarquelle Tabb, Alabama A&M: The league’s leading rebounder returns to lead his team as a senior.
- Vicktor Arnick, Texas Southern: Mike Davis’ best recruit has the speed and length to make a difference in his first season.
1. Texas Southern
3. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
4. Jackson State
5. Alabama A&M
6. Alcorn State
7. Prairie View A&M
8. Alabama State
9. Mississippi Valley State