College Basketball Betting Preview for SWAC: Breaking Down 12-Team League

College Basketball Betting Preview for SWAC: Breaking Down 12-Team League article feature image

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

  • The SWAC added two teams this season to boost its membership total to 12 total programs.
  • Bethune-Cookman will be making its first appearance on the hardwood in 18 months.
  • Matt Cox offers his insight on the league from top-to-bottom.

After poaching two schools from the MEAC, the SWAC will boost its membership tally to 12 this year.

With new arrivals Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman, the field grows, and thus, our opportunities to cash in at the betting counter grow as well!

MEAC Defectors

The SWAC welcomes two new entrants to the arena, Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman.

Bethune-Cookman Wildcats

Bethune-Cookman, which sat out the 2021 season entirely, hasn’t taken the hardwood in 18 months.

For the Wildcats, everything has changed since. The conference. The players. The coach. It’s a lot of new, making it impossible to put a finger on what to expect in 2022.

The prevailing assumption, however, is that it will look ugly out of the gate. Reggie Theus, the former Cal State Northridge head honcho, hasn’t coached in nearly three years. Also, Theus got a late start on his new reclamation project.

The athletic department shot themselves in the foot by waiting until July 3rd to tag Theus with the job. This was after BCU screwed former interim coach Dominique Taylor, who recruited the entire roster, out of his rightful seat on the throne.

Florida A&M Rattlers

Florida A&M, on the other hand, may be a good horse to back in the non-conference this year.

The Rattlers are 20-11 against the spread over the last three seasons against non-league opponents, a testament to Robert McCullum’s coaching prowess.

FAMU brings back the entire band this season, including decorated point guard MJ Randolph.

Texas Two-Step

Up and down the league, the SWAC is dripping with high- and mid-major transfer talent. Few, however, are more aggressive than Texas Southern and Prairie View A&M in the transfer market.

Both are flushed with categorically more talent than their conference adversaries, but TXSO is on a different planet.

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Texas Southern Tigers

Head coach Johnny Jones' roster features one of most intimidating frontlines in the mid-major landscape.

Jones returns the bulk of last year’s forward nucleus and then added two more bells & whistles, Brison Gresham from Houston (productive AAC forward) and Shaqir O’Neal from the Shaquille O’Neal household (3-star recruit).

Against fickle frontcourts, TXSO will rule the glass with an iron fist.

Prairie View A&M Panthers

Prairie View A&M’s bedrock of talent is a notch below Texas Southern but the Panthers more than compensate with shrewd coaching.

Few things are more certain than death, taxes and PVAMU at the top of the SWAC leaderboard with head coach Byron Smith patrolling the sidelines.

The Panthers may lack star power but Smith roll waves of bodies at their opponents in unrelenting full-court pressure fashion.

If there’s a soft spot, however, it’s at point guard. PVAMU must replace Cam Mack, a former All-Conference Big Ten caliber maestro. The Panthers’ offense was in the palm of Mack’s hands last season.

Removing him from the equation could manifest in a turbulent offense, at least in the early going — do I hear Under whispers?

Delta Duds

Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils

On the other end of the spectrum lies Mississippi Valley State, the SWAC’s perennial doormat. The Delta Devils have become a punchline, and not even the oddsmakers can keep up with how porous they’ve been.

Under head coach Lindsey Hunter’s watch, the Delta Devils are 6-14 against the number in non-conference tilts, with an average cover margin of -6.8.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that MVSU returns four starters and brings in a few enticing newcomers. That "glass half full" outlook omits the gargantuan chasm between MVSU and the rest of the SWAC field last year.

In other words, there’s bad … then there’s really bad … and then there’s Mississippi Valley State.

Non-Conference World Tours

The SWAC proudly holds claim to the most insane non-conference schedules in college basketball. The combination of top-flight competition and non-stop travel takes a grueling toll.

As a result, many SWAC teams eventually snap during these long and windy non-conference journeys.

Also, the SWAC often treats these games as quasi exhibitions. Players nursing minor injuries are more likely to be scratched from the lineup, while coaches are less likely to deploy the full repertoire of their playbooks.

Last year, fading six of the nine SWAC teams in non-conference games would’ve netted you positive ROI and all nine teams finished with a combined 24-27-1 ATS record outside of conference.

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