Despite a 13-5 mark and second-place finish in the Southwestern Athletic Conference a season ago, the Southern Jaguars were ineligible for their postseason tournament due to low academic progress rate (APR). Along with Grambling, the Jags received a one-year ban for the 2012 SWAC Tourney.
Fast-forward to 2012-13.
Southern has raced out to a perfect 7-0 conference mark and puts it on the line tonight in a road test with 5th-place Alabama A&M at the Elmore Gym in Huntsville. A win would give them some breathing room over the 2nd-place Arkansas Pine-Bluff Golden Lions, who are 5-1 and have had quite a resurgence following a 9-9 campaign a year ago.
Southern is the lone team in the SWAC with an overall record over .500 thanks in part to the season freshman guard Malcolm Miller is putting together. Miller, a 6’6″ guard from Midland, Texas is leading the Jags in points (16.9 ppg) and is 4th in the country in three-point field goal percentage, connecting on 51.4% from range. All this despite playing just over 26 minutes per game. He’s scored in double-digits in every game this season except one–the second game of the year against Nebraska. He’s at the top of nearly every offensive statistic in the SWAC and is even 8th in rebounds per game (5.8 rpg).
Alabama A&M comes in losers in three of their last four, including a 10-point loss Saturday to Alcorn State at home. The Bulldogs get after it on the offensive glass (12.6 orpg) and it’s a good thing–they only shoot 39.3% from the floor. It’ll take all the offensive putbacks they can get to keep them close in this one. The other thing AAMU will have to do is control the basketball–they average nearly 16 turnovers per game.
Southern should have their way with the Bulldogs en route to their 10th straight win and an 8-0 record in the SWAC. Alabama A&M is clearly reeling and lacks the scorers to keep up with the Jags.