Texas Southern gathered in the player's lounge at H&PE Arena Sunday afternoon to learn their NCAA Tournament destination. About halfway through the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, loud chants of "TSU! TSU! TSU!" began to echo from players and support staff to celebrate the school's first NCAA appearance in 11 years. "It was a proud moment for Texas Southern," senior guard Ray Penn said. The Tigers (19-14), winners of the Southwestern Athletic Conference's automatic bid, will face Big West champion Cal Poly (13-19) in a First Four play-in game at 5:40 p.m. CT Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio. The winner of the game, matching No. 16 seeds, will face No. 1 seed Wichita State (34-0), the nation's only unbeaten team, in the second round of the Midwest Region Friday in St. Louis. TSU clinched the fifth NCAA appearance in school history by beating rival Prairie View A&M 78-73 in the SWAC championship game. "Once you go into the NCAA Tournament your record goes out the door," said second-year TSU coach Mike Davis, who also led Indiana and UAB to the NCAA Tournament. "We have to make sure we stay focus and realize what got us to this point." The Tigers won the SWAC regular-season title in Davis' first year last season but were ineligible because of NCAA sanctions. This time, Davis said, the Tigers took a little longer to "get our chemistry together," standing 6-6 in SWAC play on Feb. 17. "Then we understood what we needed to do to win basketball games," Davis said. Led by 6-10 center Aaric Murray, the SWAC Player of the Year, the Tigers have not lost since and bring a nine-game winning streak into the Tournament. "I think we can go and win some basketball games if we continue to play hard and play together," Davis said. "This is a lifetime memory for them."
SWAC champ TSU to face Cal Poly in first round of NCAA Tournament
Houston Chronicle | Mar 18