NCAA tournament team previews: Texas Southern Tigers
As part of its preview of the 2014 NCAA men's basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. For more teams, click here.
Record: 19-14, 12-6 in SWAC
Adjusted offense/Adjusted defense: 106.2 (135th) / 112.1 (316th)
Seed: No. 16 in Midwest (First Four)
Key player: Aaric Murray, senior center, 21.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.6 bpg
The Case For:
For a team that came in third in its own conference, the Tigers actually boast a fairly efficient offense. Their effective field goal percentage of 51.6 percent ranked 82nd in the country, and they shot 50.6 percent on their two-point attempts. A lot of that has to do with Aaric Murray, their starting center and the SWAC Player of the Year. Remember, Murray started his college career under Bob Huggins at West Virginia before transferring. He is every bit the power conference center he was when Huggins recruited him, and if the Tigers have any hope of beating Cal-Poly in the First Four, much less being the first No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed by shocking Wichita State, they will need Murray to lead the way.
The Case Against:
Texas Southern is in Dayton game for a reason. Coming in third place in many conferences across the country is an impressive feat, but the SWAC is not one of those conferences. It ranked as the worst in the country on KenPom, comfortably behind the MEAC. The Tigers lost six games in the conference, falling to Jackson State, Prairie View A&M, Alabama State and Alabama A&M, all teams that had RPIs of 275 or worse. They also lost eight times in the non-conference, including to such luminaries as Florida International, Lehigh and Cal State Fullerton. Their offense was 246th in the country in turnover rate, and they managed to take the ball away from their opponents on just 15.8 percent of possessions, which ranked 318th. There is essentially zero reason for optimism here.
SI prediction: Beat Cal-Poly in First Four, lose to Wichita State in second round View complete bracket predictions from SI.com's panel of experts