SWAC champs Alabama State are in the play-in game for the 2011 NCAA Tournament, and enter that game scorching hot down the stretch, winning eight in a row before losing a one-point road game to close the season. An early-season run of injury hardship to leading scorer and rebounder Tramayne Moorer limited what could've been an attention-getting season for the Hornets. With six-foot-five senior forward Moorer in the lineup, Bama State went 10-2.
Record: 17-17 (11-7 SWAC)
RPI: .441 (263)
Key wins: Beating Grambling State to take the SWAC, obviously. The Hornets also topped Texas Southern, the conference's regular-season champions and its only top-200 RPI team, twice in the past month, beating them 60-48 in Montgomery and 73-66 in the conference tourney.
Key losses: A 64-52 loss to Southern in Moorer's first game back is about as bad a loss as any team in the nation could muster -- the Jaguars' RPI is 344th in the nation, or second-worst of all Division I teams. Can their out-of-conference achievements be counted as one big loss as well? Their only non-SWAC Division I win came against recent Atlantic Sun callup Kennesaw State.
Players to watch: Moorer, obviously. When he's on the floor, this is an entirely different team.
See the full printable 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket.
-- Jason Kirk