Location: Houston, TX
Coach: Mike Davis
Record: 22-12 (16-2 SWAC)
Kenpom ranking: 207
Good wins (Kenpom ranking): @ Michigan State (17) @ Kansas State (81)
Bad losses (Kenpom ranking): @ Arkansas-Pine Bluff (324) Prairie View A&M (303) Norfolk State (197)
Tournament appearances: 6 (current streak: 2)
Best result: No tournament wins
NBA alumni: Ron Cavenall (played in 80's) Woody Sauldsberry (played in 50's/60's)
Best name: Madarious Gibbs
Famous alumni: Michael Strahan
The Tigers play in the worst conference in college basketball, the lowly SWAC, but they aren't like most SWAC teams: In fact, their rotation heavily banks on transfers from more prestigious conferences, as former Indiana coach Mike Davis decided players, too, deserve second chances. Michigan State and Kansas State made the mistake of underestimating the Tigers; they were both met with losses.
Style of play: How the Tiger gets to the stripe:
TSU is mediocre-to-bad in more categories than your average NCAA Tournament team, but there's actually one where they're elite: drawing fouls. The Tigers' FTA/FGA of 46.6 is 12th-best in college hoops, meaning Texas Southern takes a lot of free throws in comparison how many field goals they attempt. That said, they're below average at actually shooting FT's.
Key player: Mad about Madarious
6'1 senior point guard Madarious Gibbs leads the Tigers, and was named SWAC player of the year. He scores 14.1 per game, and also dishes out 4.2 assists per game. The team needs Gibbs to function -- he played all 45 minutes against MSU and 39 against KSU. He's one of the few players on the roster who was on the team that went to last year's tournament.
Weeeee are the champions (even if we don't win the championship)
The Tigers were put in the incredibly rare situation of knowing they had won their conference's automatic tournament bid before wining their tournament: The team they faced in the conference finals, Southern, was ruled ineligible for the NCAA Tournament due to "unusable data" provided to the NCAA. But with only four teams in the conference who *weren't* ineligible, the SWAC just let everybody compete. But the Tigers got the W.