Southern nearly pulled off a 16 vs. 1 upset, may get chance to try again

The SWAC is back. Back again.

Southern U. took the league’s automatic bid on Saturday night with a 54-53 win over Jackson State. The Jaguars won despite shooting 32 percent from the field and 29 percent from 3-point range.

Trelun Banks led SU with 19 points, while Adrian Rodgers had 11 rebounds.

Unfamiliar with Southern? Hey, don’t feel bad. That’s part of why we do Tiny Dancers! If you’re wondering what this team is about, here’s what you need to be aware of.

Player to know: Adrian Rodgers. Averages a team-high 16.9 points. Might just go off for 25 if Southern gets put against a 16 seed in Dayton on Tuesday or Wednesday. We’ll see. He’s one heck of a player, though. Tough to check one-on-one.

Bonus: Trelun Banks. Infamous for this foul during the 2015 SWAC tournament. Has become an important important player for the Jags. Him and Rodgers stand down for no one.

The Vitals:

  • Record: 22-12 overall, 11-7 in the SWAC
  • Most recent tournament appearance: 2013 (Lost 64-58 to No. 1 Gonzaga as a 16 seed in the Round of 64)
  • Jerry Palm predicts: 16 seed
  • RPI: 196
  • KenPom Ranking: 227
  • Sagarin Ranking: 243
  • Best wins: at Mississippi State, at Wyoming
  • Worst losses: vs. Prairie View A&M (2x), at Alabama A&M
  • Notable stat: 19.6. That’s the average number of wins Roman Banks has wound up with through five seasons at Southern. It’s an impressive achievement. Winning consistently in the SWAC is not easy. Most coaches have a hard time cracking .500. Banks is out here creating a dynasty for himself in terms of what’s been brewing in that league for years.

Closing quip: Remember 2013? Remember when Southern really, really almost beat Gonzaga in that 1/16 game? I was there, in Salt Lake City, when that happened. That team was composed, athletic, defensively sound and completely unafraid of Gonzaga.

It was coached by Banks.

We’ll see what kind of opponent Southern gets, but you best believe this group will enter the NCAAs with confidence. It’s played well, won at solid multi-bid-conference teams this season. Southern will not go down without a fight. Expect fun and some run with this team.

Southern nearly shocked Gonzaga and the world in the 2013 tournament. (USATSI)

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