Preseason SWAC basketball picks: Jackson State men, Southern women

The Jackson State men and Southern women have been named preseason picks to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference in 2010-11.

Jackson State was last year’s regular-season SWAC men’s basketball champion. The Southern women claimed both the regular-season and tournament crowns in 2009-10.

Here is the complete polling, with total votes and then first-place votes in parenthesis:

1. Jackson State, 183 (11)
2. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 163 (4)
3. Alabama State,133
4. Prairie View A&M, 128 (1)
5. Texas Southern, 126 (2)
6. Alabama A&M, 110 (2)
7. Mississippi Valley State, 98
8. Grambling State, 76
9. Southern, 47
10. Alcorn State, 38

1. Southern, 199 (19)
2. Prairie View A&M, 151 (1)
3. Alabama A&M, 142
4 Grambling, 134
5. Texas Southern, 117
6. Alabama State, 108
7. Alcorn State, 88
8. Mississippi Valley, 70
9 Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 64
10 Jackson State, 31

Results of preseason polling for Southwestern Athletic Conference basketball were announced this morning during a three-hour teleconference that began at 9 a.m. Voters included coaches and sports information directors from across the league.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff is the defending SWAC men’s tournament champion, having defeated Texas Southern 50-38 in the finals. That was the Golden Lions’ first title in more than four decades. UAPB then topped Winthrop in the opening round game of the NCAA tournament, snapping a 17-year conference losing streak, before falling to eventual national champion Duke. Jackson State also earned an NIT berth.

On the women’s side, Southern eventually fell to No. 1 UConn 95-39 in the first-round of the Norfolk region in the NCAA tournament. Meanwhile, Prairie View A&M is coming off a berth in the WNIT but has replaced Lady Panthers head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke with Toyelle Wilson. Cooper-Dyke, now at North Carolina-Wilmington, led Prairie View to four consecutive postseason appearances and three straight regular-season conference titles.

Exhibition play for the men begins Nov. 3, with the regular season starting on Nov. 12. The SWAC championship tournament will be held March 9-12.

Last year’s post-season event will be remembered for a pair of stunning upsets: Top-seed Jackson State was upended by the No. 8 Grambling men 65-57 in its opening game. No. 2-seeded defending SWAC women’s basketball champion Prairie View A&M also fell 50-48 to No. 7 Alabama State.

That tournament was held in Shreveport, La., but the event has since moved to the Dallas Metroplex area. The league’s Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted in June to approve a bid submitted by the Special Events Center in Garland, Texas, which will now play host to the SWAC’s tournament championships through 2013.



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