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Monday, October 26, 2009

SWAC Preview


The Southwestern Athletic Conference was the worst conference in the country last season, finishing behind even the Independents in the RPI. Furthermore, it didn’t even feature that much of a conference race, despite the fact that Alabama State finished just one game ahead of Jackson State in the standings. ASU fell to JSU in the final week, but just had to beat last-place Grambling to clinch a title. Only one team, ASU, finished more than two games over .500, with Jackson State and Prairie View A&M finishing two games and one game, respectively, above that mark. This year, the SWAC won't be that much better and the winner is likely heading to the play-in game yet again.

1. Jackson State: The Tigers bring back the best player in the conference in Grant Maxey, and should win the automatic bid.
2. Prarie View A&M: The Panthers have one of the top inside-outside combos in the SWAC in Chris Jones and Darnell Hugee.
3. Arkansas Pine-Bluff: The fourth-place Golden Lions return all five starters, led by all-conference guard Terrance Calvin.
4. Mississippi Valley State: The Delta Devils play a tough non-league schedule, but have wings Julius Cheeks and Shannon Behling.
5. Texas Southern: The Tigers finished the season very strong last year, and guard DeAndre Hall is one of the best in the league.
6. Alabama A&M: The premature loss of Trant Simpson hurts the Bulldogs, and Cornelius Hester will have to step up.
7. Alcorn State: 20.0 ppg scorer Troy Jackson left the team suddenly in the summer, leaving Jonathan Boyd to lead the backcourt.
8. Alabama State: The personnel questions of Roland Fitch and Wesley Jones and the loss of Andrew Hayles and Chief Kickingstallions will cripple the defending champs.
9. Grambling State: Coming off of a last-place finish, the Tigers will need better production from guards Ariece Perkins and Donald Qualls.
10. Southern: The Jaguars bring in double-digit newcomers, and how quickly they mesh with the returnees will be a key this season.

Player of the Year:
 Grant Maxey, F, Jackson State

All-Conference Team:
G- DeAndre Hall, Texas Southern
G- Terrance Calvin, Arkansas Pine-Bluff
G/F- Shannon Behling, Mississippi Valley State
F- Grant Maxey, Jackson State
F- Darnell Hugee, Prarie View A&M

Second Team:
G- Ariece Perkins, Grambling State
G- Cornelius Hester, Alabama A&M
G- Jonathan Boyd, Alcorn State
G- Rod Melvin, Jackson State
F- Garrison Johnson, Jackson State 


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