HBCU basketball is looking pretty strong to start the 2022-23 college basketball campaign.
And questions are now surfacing about if HBCUs could finally get some respect in this season’s NCAA tournament.
On Sunday, Texas Southern University Tigers became just the second SWAC school to take down a Power Five opponent in as many days. Texas Southern won a thrilling game against the Arizona State Sun Devils on a last-second tip-in and put the world of college hoops on notice.
It’s no surprise that Texas Southern was able to be competitive against Arizona State since the school is the two-time defending SWAC champion and has earned a reputation as one of the best HBCU basketball programs alongside North Carolina Central University.
Texas Southern Guard PJ Henry scored 22 points, shot 50% from the field and made four three-point shots. Senior guard John Walker III also had 16 points and seven rebounds to contribute to the win.
While some of the offensive numbers were impressive, it was Texas Southern’s defense that stole the show. They held Arizona State of the mighty Pac-12 Conference to under 35% shooting from the field and under 25% from the three-point line.
The win ended Arizona State’s perfect 14-0 record against SWAC opponents.
In addition to the impressive performance by Texas Southern, Grambling State University had arguably a better outing against the University of Colorado only a few days earlier.
Grambling State got its first win against a Power 5 opponent since 2017 after they dominated Colorado from start to finish.
Shawndarius Cowart scored 19 points and Cameron Christon added 17 points to help Grambling cruise to an 83-74 victory.
Terrence Lewis also scored 15 points off the bench for Grambling State and Carte’are Gordon contributed 14 points. Overall, it was a nice balanced scoring effort from Grambling State that helped them record the first major HBCU upset of the young basketball season.
If these performances are any indication of how competitive HBCU basketball will be this season, then we should be in for a treat. Hopefully, these wins will help HBCUs gain some respect amongst the NCAA selection committee when it’s time to be seeded for the NCAA tournament.
Oftentimes, HBCUs get placed as one of the lowest seeds in the NCAA tournament and are forced to go up against the top-seeded teams in the NCAA tournament field, which often limits their chances of advancing and gaining more revenue for their respective conferences.
One of the key reasons why HBCUs are usually ranked low is that they aren’t able to beat quality opponents. These wins from Grambling State and Texas Southern can hopefully change that perception.
The 2022-23 basketball season is shaping up to be a good one for HBCUs, let’s see if these institutions can continue this momentum all the way to March Madness.
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