Texas Southern vs Grambling State Odds, Prediction: Value on Tigers
Juan OCampo/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: The Grambling State men’s basketball team.
Texas Southern vs Grambling Odds
|Texas Southern Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The No. 2 seed Grambling State Tigers will face the No. 8 seed Texas Southern Tigers in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Tournament Championship in Birmingham, AL on Saturday evening.
Grambling State was victorious in both regular season meetings, winning 85-72 on the road in Houston, TX, then winning 65-46 at home in Grambling, LA.
Grambling, the 2023 co-champion of the SWAC, will look to punch its ticket to the Big Dance. In its way is a Texas Southern team that has defied all odds to make a push for the automatic bid.
KenPom Rank: 294
Texas Southern aspires to pull off the improbable in Saturday’s SWAC title game: The conference’s lowest seed will contend for an automatic bid into the Big Dance for the second straight year.
In the opening round, The Tigers eliminated the No. 1 seed and co-SWAC champion, Alcorn State. Then in the quarterfinals on Friday, Texas Southern navigated past No. 5 seed Alabama A&M after a strong second half, winning 74-61.
The vast majority of Texas Southern’s success down the stretch may be attributed to head coach Johnny Jones. The fifth-year head coach has his team clicking at the right time.
Jones and the Tigers hope to harness last year’s success, when the Tigers won their NCAA Tournament First Four play-in game before losing to eventual-champion Kansas in the Round of 64.
Texas Southern will turn to All-SWAC Second Team Graduate Student forward Joirdon Karl Nicholas to control the glass after leading the team in rebounds at 9.2 per game.
KenPom Rank: 172
Grambling State is riding an 11-game winning streak entering Saturday’s SWAC Championship game.
During quarterfinal play, Grambling got past No. 7 seed Bethune-Cookman thanks to strong shooting from beyond the arc. The Tigers shot 7-of-11 (63.6%) from downtown en route to a 15-point win.
Then in the semifinals, Grambling relied on its defense to hold off Jackson State down the stretch in a 78-69 victory.
The Tigers defense has been the key to their success throughout the season. Graduate guard Cameron Christon, an All-SWAC First Team selection, leads the team in scoring with 13.1 points per game.
Senior guard Shawndarius Cowart complements Christon in the backcourt as an All-SWAC Second Team selection. Cowart leads the team in assists and steals while averaging 11.3 points per game.
Texas Southern vs Grambling Betting Pick
Texas Southern has gotten hot at the right time, but that is insufficient cause to overthink this matchup: Grambling is the far better team.
Texas Southern has surprised during the SWAC Tournament, but Grambling State is actually hotter, having won 11 straight.
Grambling has the best defense in the SWAC and one of the better defensive units in the country, ranking 92nd in the nation in AdjD per Ken Pomeroy. The team relies on a zone defense instilled by head coach Donte Jackson, and it has significantly improved year over year.
Leading scorer Christon was in foul trouble for most of the semifinal matchup, but do not expect him to be hamstrung again in Saturday’s game.
I like for Grambling State to emerge as the better of two Tigers behind their excellent defense. Grambling should have little issue slowing the Texas Southern offense, which ranks 328th in the nation in AdjO.
I project Grambling State as 8.5-point favorites and recommend laying the chalk at 7.5 or better.
Pick: Grambling State -7.5 or Better
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