For the first time since 2006, the Southern Jaguars have clinched a spot in the NCAA tournament after edging out the Prairie View A&M Panthers by a score of 45-44 in the finals of the SWAC Conference Tournament. It is a huge accomplishment for a team that was last place in their conference just two years ago and facing a one-year postseason ban.
Now that the past is behind them, they can look forward to the big dance and enjoy the special moment in school history. It is the 8th time that the school has made the NCAA tournament.
“I’m full of emotions right now,” Southern head coach Roman Banks said. “All the adversity we had to come through, I wouldn’t have thought it in my wildest dreams. … I figured it would be a four- or five-year fix. I thought we’d establish Southern as one of the better basketball teams in our state.
“I thought maybe we’d win a game in first year and little more in our second year,” he said. “We’re not there yet. But we’ll definitely take this early ride.”
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Southern guard Derick Beltran was key inthe team’s victory and led the Jaguars in scoring with 13 points. He was on the court when the final buzzer rang and his emotion and happiness was obvious.
“It was more happiness because we worked so hard. This was a goal from day one,” he said. “A lot of good teams are in positions like this. It was really emotional because of things we’ve been through as a program.”
Southern now knows that they will be in the tournament field, they will just have to wait until Sunday night to see who they will face off against.
While the speculation is nice, the complete field of tournament participants will be announced on Selection Sunday less than twenty four hours from now.
Be sure to stay tuned to FanSided.com throughout championship week as we keep you up to date with the latest conference champions and teams that earn automatic bids into the 2013 NCAA tournament field.