Well, it’s that time again. The time where basketball fans everywhere feel like they have died and gone to basketball heaven. The NCAA Tournament is underway, and a Houston program is in the Big Dance for the first time in more than a decade. Nope, not the University of Houston (sadly). Nope, not Rice. It is the SWAC’s own Texas Southern University. They play tonight in the “First Four” against the Big West Champs, Cal Poly in Dayton, Ohio. The winner of this game will play the undefeated Wichita State Shockers in the second round as a 16 seed.
Texas Southern (or TSU) was 19-14 on the season, and won the SWAC Championship, beating another Houston-area school and arch-rival, Prairie View A&M. One of their players who shined in that game was Aaric Murray, a transfer from La Salle, notching 27 points and 10 rebounds along with 4 blocked shots. He has proved that he is one of the best big men in the SWAC and that he belongs on a bigger stage. Madarious Gibbs, a sophomore guard from Newman, Georgia had 15 points and 5 assists in the SWAC Title game.
As for Cal Poly, they have never been dancing. They defeated Cal State Northridge in a comeback effort in the Big West Championship game with a losing record: 13-19. The Mustangs trailed 29-25, but they made a comeback in the second half. Chris Eversley (senior) and Dave Nwaba (sophomore), the consistent go-to-guys for the Mustangs scored 18 and 17 respectively. Eversley averages 13.6 points and 7.1 rebounds and Nwaba averages nearly 12 points and 5 boards.
This will be one heck of a game. This is the first time these two teams have met on the basketball court. Also, neither TSU nor Cal Poly have gotten past the first round of the tournament. Whoever is going to win this game will have a mighty task ahead of them. However, I’ll tell you a little secret. I bleed Cougar Red through and through, but TSU is across the street from Cougarland. There’s nothing wrong with a little Third Ward pride, huh? Go Tigers.
And if you don’t know, now you know.