Last Tournament appearance: 2018 (Lost to Xavier in the First Round)
Points scored per game: 72.7 (228 of 353)
Points allowed per game: 86.6 (347 of 353)
Strength of schedule: 14.84 (1 of 353)
Coming into this year, the Texas Southern Tigers had made the tournament four of the last five years. However, head coach Mike Davis decided to jump ship for Detroit Mercy. Johnny Jones now inherits a senior heavy squad trying to win the SWAC again.
Heading into Saturday, the Tigers’ have top scores are all seniors. Guard Jalyn Paterson, center Trayvon Reed, forward Jeremey Combs, guard Derrick Bruce and forward Devocio Butler, all are top scorers for the Tigers. Reed also nearly averages a double-double with 9.9 rebounds per game.
Texas Southern’s record may not look impressive, but they’ve played every game besides one, away from home. Their losses include No. 1 Gonzaga, Iowa State and San Diego State, that have helped push their strength of schedule. They also have wins over No. 18 Oregon and Baylor in Eugene and Waco.
In those two wins over Oregon and Baylor, Texas Southern had very excellent second halves after entering halftime losing each time. The second half was fueled each time by the Tigers shooting over 54% from the three-point line and out-rebounding their foes in the wins.
The key for the Sun Devils is to keep rebounding well, as they are the second best team at crashing the board in the nations heading into Saturday. They do need to try to improve is their three-point defense, as they’ve allowed opponents to shoot 31.8 % this season, which ranks 123rd in the nation.
If ASU keeps doing their thing on the boards and limit the Tigers’ success behind the arc they’ll head to Los Angeles undefeated for their matchup with No. 5 Nevada.