On Saturday, Texas Southern beat Prairie View in the SWAC title game 78-73 to clinch its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003. It hasn’t been business as usual for them since.
“We haven’t really slept a whole lot,” head coach Mike Davis told SportsRadio 610 on Monday. “We were just trying to stay focused on who we were going to play, and once we found that out, we were just excited about getting on the plane and going to play.”
Sunday night, the Tigers found out they’d play Cal Poly in a first four matchup in Dayton on Wednesday. The Mustangs are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance after winning the Big West Tournament despite finishing seventh during the regular season, but Davis doesn’t see them for their 13-19 record.
“They’re a very good team, playing really well of late like (Prairie View) was,” he said. “It is going to be a challenge for us to win.”
The winner of Wednesday’s game gets top seeded Wichita State, and while isn’t undefeated like the Shockers, they do enter the dance winners of its last nine games. In his second season at TSU they sit at 19-14 after winning the SWAC regular season title a year ago. They are led by West Virginia transfer Aaric Murray, the SWAC Player of the Year, who scored over 21 points a game while grabbing close to eight rebounds.
“We have a really good inside presence, and our guards can shoot the ball,” Davis said. “When we are clicking on both inside and out we’re a very good basketball team.”
While the NCAA Tournament might be foreign ground for his players it isn’t for Davis. This is his sixth trip, including a championship game appearance with Indiana in 2002, and he knows that a good showing this week can do wonders for the TSU program.
“You’re one of the 68 teams still playing with a chance to play for a national championship, and have a chance to play on national TV, and it also has the opportunity to give your program some exposure.”
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